Current international scene on the definition of sustainability indicators for urban design of new cities and regeneration of existing urban areas

Urban analysis throughout indicators is a complex world in a continuous review. There is no law that could regulate it but some basic actuation frameworks from Kyoto Protocol or Rio Declaration, in an international level, to the different local and regional policies through UE Action Programs. The Spanish Strategy for Urban and Local Sustainability represents the non-binding strategic framework for towns and cities to develop sustainability policies.

This project arises from the collaboration between Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and Eduardo Torroja Institute for Construction Sciences (ICCET). Its objective is to develop a library of existing indicators in order to facilitate the analysis of Spanish cities and the evaluation of their main challenges. Fifteen key documents and 976 indicators have finally been assessed. In order to standardize its use, the analyzed indicators are grouped according to the six main actuation fields accepted by EU: Smart Governance, Smart Economy, Smart Mobility, Smart Environment, Smart Living and Smart People. These areas are subdivided again in 33 factors or key objectives for the future cities.

The essential idea for the development of a Smart City is to obtain an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable system that could be able to improve the life quality of its citizens while being efficient. According to this idea, the chosen documents to be analyzed include those indicators that could allow us to assess both the sustainability and the life quality and efficiency of the Spanish cities.

A city pretending to be efficient should be innovative and act as a linking platform among all the stakeholders. The accessibility to information plays a very important role in this challenge. However, a city should not be considered smart only for its ICTs implementation. For this reason, in this library, the indicators are studied and put together in two big groups: ‘base indicators’, able to measure the quality of the city without evaluating links among different items or sectors and ‘smart indicators’, able to make a measurement of the urbanized areas according to its connectivity.

The 976-indicators library obtained as a result of the project represents a fundamental tool for every agent involved in the development of Smart Cities both for its assessment and for the planning of strategies and policies in the future cities.


Authors: José María de la Puerta (UPM), Javier Dorao (UPM)

Collaborators: Juan Queipo (ICCET), Marta Sorribes (ICCET), Victoria Fernández (UPM), Guillermo Velázquez (UPM)

Client: General Secretariat of Infrastructures. Ministry of Development.

Date: 2014-2016

Country: Spain

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