Applying the SDGs to cities: Business as usual or a new dawn?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With growing urbanisation the sustainability of cities has become increasingly important. Although cities have been using indicators for a long time it is only in the last decades that attempts have been made to collate indicators into sets that reflect the many different aspects required to assess the sustainability of a city. The aimof this paper is to review the evolution of indicators for monitoring sustainable urban development in order to understand how 'new' the indicators suggested by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are for cities and the challenges they may face in using them. The review reveals that previous indicator sets emphasised environmental sustainability, health and economic growth. It is also shown that indicator sets that pre-date the SDGs lacked dimensions such as gender equality and reduced inequalities. In all, the SDG indicators provide the possibility of a more balanced and integrated approach to urban sustainability monitoring. At the same time, further research is needed to understand how to adapt the SDGs, targets and indicators to specific urban contexts. Challenges of local application include their large number, their generic characteristics and the need to complement them with specific indicators that are more relevant at the city level.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • City of Malmö
  • University of Manchester
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Administration Studies

Keywords

  • Evolution of sustainability assessment, Indicators, Sustainable development goals, Urban sustainable development
Original languageEnglish
Article number3201
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume10
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2018 Sep 7
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes