Angel Hsu, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Presentation Title: Urban sustainability metrics: Smart-scaling for cities



This presentation was an introduction to the work of the Environmental Performance Measurement Program at the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, the Environmental Performance Index.  Which indicators should be measured, can and cannot be measured, and data availability were discussed and supplemented with the following questions:

  • How can the scope of urban sustainability be determined?
  • What types of data, measurement and indicators are needed?
  • What is the best way to design a framework that can link across sectors?
  • How can new data be sourced?

Key Lessons Learned

  • Cities are becoming increasingly critical for sustainability, but a question remains: Are they a solution or problem for sustainability?
  • Many urban sustainability indicators are not measurable, plus there is a lack of consensus on which indicators to measure. 
  • Comparability and bench-marking is key to choosing data types, measurements and indicators.
  • Data availability between cities is inconsistent.

Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • Typologies based on perception and quantitative variables.
  • A scientific/knowledge-based framework for urban sustainability indicators.
  • Urban data governance: How are decisionmakers using data?  What information is needed to make improved decisions, i.e., urban sustainability?