Towards sustainable urban development: city data and indicators

In an era of growing urban populations, cities present both challenges and opportunities for sustainable development. Data and indicator availability allows for a better understanding of how cites can improve the wellbeing of their citizens. As part of the latest Beyond GDP newsletter, IEEP interviewed three experts to explore new city data metrics and indices which are starting to be used around the world.

Dr Robert Ndugwa, chief statistician and Head of the Global Urban Observatory (GUO) Unit at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), discussed the United Nations’ city data work linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda. Carolien Gehrels, European Cities Director at Arcadis, described the development of their 2016 Sustainable Cities Index. Ramon Canal, Director of the Technical Programming Cabinet of Barcelona City Council, explained how municipal data applications are evolving, integrating big data and social media.

Whilst the Beyond GDP debate typically focuses on advancing alternative progress indicators at the national level, it is increasingly clear that there is a need for regional and city data. This recognises the socio-economic, political and demographic significance of cities, but also the inequalities which exist between and amongst cities globally.

Follow the link to subscribe to the Beyond GDP newsletter which also discusses progress indicators for cities and sustainable urban development, including European level initiatives, as well as recent news on Beyond GDP, and an agenda of forthcoming events.

For more information on IEEP’s work on indicators please contact Konar Mutafoglu, Susanna Gionfra or Jean-Pierre Schweitzer.