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Measuring Sustainable Cities: An approach for assessing municipal-level sustainability indicator systems in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

It is now common for managers, strategists, planners and citizens at municipality level to use sustainable development indicators (SDI) to help them work towards sustainable development. SDI constitute an information system for monitoring, reporting and decision-making which in theory should help us decide how to intervene in natural, economic, social and political systems for a better, more sustainable future. But not all indicator systems are created equal. Some are better tools than others when it comes to helping cities and municipalities in their work, and thousands of municipalities use SDI worldwide. How then should we assess the effectiveness of existing indicators for municipalities?

To answer this question I develop an approach for assessing the edesign, creation and communication of existing, in-use SDI, and then apply it in a case study in Falun Municipality in Dalarna County, Sweden. The approach assesses five aspects of SDI: ‘Vision’, ‘Framework’, ‘Indicator Selection’, ‘Stakeholder Participation’ and ‘Communication’. The findings in Falun suggest that SDI have been essential to the implementation of sustainable development in policy and action in general municipal operations, but the municipality has not moved beyond a ‘conventional’ sustainable development vision and monitoring strategy. The benefits and constraints of the current indicator system are then discussed using the above approach, and the thesis finishes by offering suggestions for the municipality going forward. I also point to the need to develop a standardised assessment method for thousands of municipalities using indicator systems used today, to help in ongoing review and improvement of SDI in practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 65 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 159
Keyword [en]
Green Cities, Modeling, Monitoring and Reporting, Sustainability, Indicators, Environmental Accounting, Evaluation, Urban And Regional Planning, Sustainable Development, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
Gröna städer, övervakning, rapportering, Hållbarhet, indikatorer, Miljö Redovisning, utvärdering, Städernas och regionernas planering, hållbar utveckling, Sverige
National Category
Natural Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209524OAI: diva2:658303
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2013-01-15, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 6, 752 36, Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-10-22 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2013-10-22Bibliographically approved

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