Indexing Sustainability: Defining, Measuring and Managing the Performance of Urban Development

Jun 01, 2011

This report investigates how sustainable development is defined; how its performance can be measured through indexing and indicators; and how comparative and spatial indexing methods have the potential to change the way cities are designed. The first section examines the complex and reciprocal relationship between sustainability and urban development through a historic overview of its definition. The second section analyzes and compares existing sustainability indexes and development indicators from multiple scales and sectors as a means of understanding how performance of development can be assessed and accounted for with objective quantifiable measures. The final section suggests and describes two new strategies for indexing the sustainability of urban development: comparative indexing and spatial indexing.

Joyce Hsiang (Yale University)
Bimal Mendis (Yale University)
Daniel Markiewicz (Yale University)
Ryan Welch (Yale University)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects

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