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Bridging the gaps between theory and practice: a service niche approach to urban sustainability indicators

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  • James Keirstead

    (Energy Futures Lab, Imperial College London, London, UK)

  • Matt Leach

    (Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, London, UK)

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    Abstract

    Urban sustainability indicators play an important role in helping policy-makers ensure the continued success of their cities. However, a review of current practice suggests that priority is often given to the measurability and policy relevance of these metrics. Their analytical validity - i.e. their ability to act as meaningful representations of the urban system and thus inform appropriate policy responses - is less certain. An examination of London's USIs confirms this gap between theory and practice and identifies vague definitions of urban sustainability as part of the problem. A 'service niche' approach to indicator selection is therefore outlined, using pervasive goal-oriented urban services such as energy or water systems to guide the selection of policy-relevant interconnected metrics. Strategies for expanding such niches to wider assessments of urban sustainability are also discussed. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/sd.349
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Sustainable Development.

    Volume (Year): 16 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 329-340

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:16:y:2008:i:5:p:329-340

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    Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-1719

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    1. C J Webster, 1998. "Sustainability and public choice: a theoretical essay on urban performance indicators," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 25(5), pages 709-729, September.
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    4. Camagni, Roberto & Capello, Roberta & Nijkamp, Peter, 1998. "Towards sustainable city policy: an economy-environment technology nexus," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 103-118, January.
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    8. Hueting, Roefie & Reijnders, Lucas, 2004. "Broad sustainability contra sustainability: the proper construction of sustainability indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3-4), pages 249-260, October.
    9. Tomi J. Kallio & Piia Nordberg & Ari Ahonen, 2007. "'Rationalizing sustainable development' - a critical treatise," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 41-51.
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    Cited by:
    1. Pasimeni, Maria Rita & Petrosillo, Irene & Aretano, Roberta & Semeraro, Teodoro & De Marco, Antonella & Zaccarelli, Nicola & Zurlini, Giovanni, 2014. "Scales, strategies and actions for effective energy planning: A review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 165-174.

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