Gathering Global Intelligence for Assessing Performance of Smart, Sustainable, Resilient, and Inclusive Cities (S2RIC): An Integrated Indicator Framework

Gathering Global Intelligence for Assessing Performance of Smart, Sustainable, Resilient, and Inclusive Cities (S2RIC): An Integrated Indicator Framework

Maria Panagiotopoulou (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Anastasia Stratigea (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) and Akrivi Leka (National Technical University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4018-3.ch012

Abstract

This chapter sets up a comprehensive, multidimensional indicator framework for assessing performance of Smart, Sustainable, Resilient, and Inclusive Cities (S2RIC). A thorough review of contemporary, globally-initiated, indicator frameworks that address cities' smartness, sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness is conducted – top-down approach; coupled with an attempt to integrate the different perspectives explored into a more enriched and coherent indicator framework. This aims at providing assistance to urban planners and policy makers in assessing, monitoring, managing cities, and making more informed sustainability decisions; while keeping in track with new concerns in the urban planning realm (e.g. resilience, disaster reduction) and recently endorsed global sustainability goals and frameworks. An indicators' selection process is also illustrated – bottom-up approach – for navigating in the proposed framework and identifying appropriate city- and citizen-specific indicators for carrying out relevant assessments and guiding sound policies.
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1. Introduction

The currently witnessed urbanization wave and the pace it accelerates constitutes a defining trend of the 21st century (Suzuki et al., 2010), rendering it thus the “Urban Century or Age” or the “Metropolitan Century” (Alvarez et al. 2008; UN-Habitat 2009; UN, 2015a; OECD, 2015; Stratigea et al., 2017a). The rapidly escalating share of the world’s urban population (54,5 per cent in 2016) is a distinguished feature of this highly transformative trend, while its ominous future projections (60 per cent by 2030) (UN, 2016:ii) present overwhelming challenges to city governments (Harrison & Donnelly, 2011) in attaining 2030 UN Agenda Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 towards inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements.

Attractiveness of urban areas, perceived by some as the natural habitat of contemporary societies (Rogers, 1997) or the future of the human kind (Harrison & Donnelly, 2011), is nowadays mainly anchored in their role as motors of growth and prosperity, acting as a real magnet for highly qualified, talented young labor force and important agents for innovation, creativity and inclusion (Marava et al., 2018; De Filippi et al., 2019). Thinking of their contribution to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), urban areas are also conceived as the backbone of the global economy (Clos, 2016); while they constitute key drivers for steering revitalization of the European economy as well (European Union, 2011; Stratigea et al., 2015; European Commission & UN-Habitat, 2016; Marava et al., 2018). Moreover, overcrowded urban areas, as places of excessive use of resources (e.g. energy, water and land), informal development, pollution, congestion, overproduction of waste, unemployment, migration, segregation and poverty, and so on, are considered the main source of contemporary global challenges and risks (Stratigea et al., 2017b).

Dealing with strengths and weaknesses of urban areas is nowadays at the forefront of policy concern in order glocal (global/local) sustainability objectives to be reached, i.e. pursuit of prosperity and innovation; establishment of social cohesion, inclusion and health/safety conditions for their communities; adaptation to climate change impacts; and so on (Stratigea, 2012 & 2015; Tao, 2013; Marava et al., 2018), rendering cities the proponents of Sustainable Development (SD) efforts (Girardet, 1999). Accomplishment of these objectives is carried out within a continuously evolving, largely unpredictable and highly complex environment, marked by main transitions in (Marava et al., 2018):

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