IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

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

Listed author(s):
  • James Keirstead

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

  • Matt Leach

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

Registered author(s):

    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.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
    Download Restriction: no

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

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

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:16:y:2008:i:5:p:329-340
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.349
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Werner Hediger, 1997. "Ecological Economics Of Sustainable Development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(3), pages 101-109.
    2. Ali Bagheri & Peder Hjorth, 2007. "Planning for sustainable development: a paradigm shift towards a process-based approach," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 83-96.
    3. Bjørn Ludwig, 1997. "The concept of technology assessment - an entire process to sustainable development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(3), pages 111-117.
    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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Ornetzeder, Michael & Rohracher, Harald, 2006. "User-led innovations and participation processes: lessons from sustainable energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 138-150, January.
    9. Gyo-Eon Shim & Sung-Mo Rhee & Kun-Hyuck Ahn & Sung-Bong Chung, 2006. "The relationship between the characteristics of transportation energy consumption and urban form," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-367, June.
    10. Andrew D. Basiago, 1995. "Methods of defining 'sustainability'," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(3), pages 109-119.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:16:y:2008:i:5:p:329-340. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.