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Indicator frameworks are measures that allow assessing how well some system of interest is performing, usually with the intent of improving that performance towards a desired goal.
In terms of sustainability, indicators can help measure important aspects of environmental impact or contribution at the individual, household, organisational, or regional, national, or international level.
Levels of Indicators
At the national level, they are potentially an important adjunct alternative to the wikipedia:Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is criticised for only measuring the level of a countries' economic activity, good or bad, and thus not being useful to measure progress towards Sustainable well-being.
Computer information systems are often helpful for communicating and allowing interaction with a set of indicators. For example, a GIS system could be used to support understanding environmental and other indicators at the city or regional-level.
- Sustainable well-being
- Open data (so that citizens can initiate these types of projects independently of governments)
- Extended urban metabolism model
- http://www.wikiprogress.org is a "global platform for sharing information in order to evaluate social, environmental and economic progress.", whose mission is to "connect worldwide organisations and individuals wishing to develop new, smarter measures of progress."
- The Australian National Development Index is a "collaboration of 40 leading community organisations, church groups, businesses and universities who aim to introduce a holistic measure of progress – an index that reflects the views of Australians in an ongoing, participatory process."
Tools/Methods involving Indicators Frameworks for Urban and Regional Planning
Example urban & regional indicator projects
- Boston Indicators Project, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. It is linked to the Metro Boston Data Common project, an interesting Open data initiative.
- In Melbourne, Australia, the Australian Institute of Urban Studies (AIUS) has led 2 important indicator projects:
- Also in Melbourne, Community Indicators Victoria provides a variety of measures of community wellbeing, including environmental, aggregated at the local government level.