November 11, 2013

Measuring Community Sustainability

In late September a team from the Penn Institute for Urban Research delivered a set of thirty indicators of sustainable and livable communities to the Federal Partnership of Sustainable Communities (PSC) (a collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)). 

The Sustainable Communities Indicator Catalog (SCIC) is intended to provide communities with a flexible set of measurement tools to help them identify how interventions in the built environment (housing, transportation, and land use) make communities more livable or sustainable. 

The project started in 2010 as a survey of indicator systems and initiatives across North America for UN-Habitat and HUD’s Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation. The results of the survey suggested that communities needed flexible ways to measure progress towards being more sustainable. The PSC was looking into how they could provide guidance on measuring and evaluating projects using indicators. With a grant from the Ford Foundation in 2012, Penn IUR’s research team was able to develop the indicator catalog with the PSC to provide a flexible set of measures and foundational information on community indicators.     

The SCIC is currently under internal review at HUD, DOT, and EPA. The final version of the SCIC will be available online at later this year. Penn IUR will also be piloting the SCIC with community stakeholders in the coming months. The indicator catalog will include information on how to collect data and calculate indicators and will include ways for communities to connect to other areas with similar initiatives.


Media Contact:

Deborah Lang
Communications Director

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