on Measuring Progress
and Information Systems for Sustainable Development
A report compiled by the late Donella Meadows for The Balaton
Group is now offered in a downloadable PDF version from the
International Institute for Sustainable Development website.
The report focuses on the importance of indicators, and provides
guidance on generating and implementing indicators of sustainable
Sustainability Indicators Guidebook
A 68-page guide focused upon one specific challenge: How do
neighborhood residents ensure that their neighborhood becomes
more sustainable in the long term?
Progress Toward Sustainability
Scientists at the EPA's National Risk Management Research Labs
Sustainable Technology Division have proposed a system of metrics
to track progress toward sustainability by balancing the three
goals of economic value-added, pollution prevention, and social
Development and Sustainability Metrics presents a full
discussion of the NRMRL model.
for Sustainable Development: Measuring Progress in Plans
A working paper from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, copyright
1999. This study sets forth a set of six principles that define
and operationalize the concept of sustainable development. Using
these six principles, a sample of 30 comprehensive plans is
evaluated to determine how well the policies of plans support
Place on Earth 2002: Measuring What Matters
This report from Northwest Environment Watch looks at the region's
progress in sustainability by assessing trends in ten key areas,
from salmon health and spread of sprawl to income distribution
and energy efficiency.
Redefining Progress, an Oakland-based public policy organization,
in 1995 created a more accurate measure of progress than GDP,
called the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). It starts with
the same accounting framework as the GDP, but then makes some
crucial distinctions: It adds in the economic contributions
of household and volunteer work, but subtracts factors such
as crime, pollution, and family breakdown. They update the GPI
on a yearly basis, and the past and current Genuine Progress
Indicator reports are available online.
Sustainability Indicators Guidebook (PDF)
Produced for the Urban Ecology Coalition in Minneapolis, this
guidebook is designed to help local residents, officials and
other stakeholders develop sustainability indicators for their
Indicator Projects That Work: How Five Communities Gauge Progress
Provides an overview of five successful efforts to set goals
and measure progress by one of the nation's leading researchers
on community indicator projects.
Informing Our Nation: Improving How to Understand and Assess the USA's Position and Progress (PDF 3.6 MB)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) sets forth options for Congress to consider in establishing a system of key national indicators.
Economic Well-Being Double the National Average
The University of Vermont used the Genuine Progress Indicator
to measure economic and social welfare in the state.
Indicator Program Reaches for Sustainability
Provides three views on the success of the indicators program in Jacksonville, Florida, now in its second decade.
the GDP is Up, Why is America Down?
This article that originally appeared in The Atlantic argues
why we need new measures of progress, why we do not have them,
and how they would change the social and political landscape.
Why Sustainable Community
Indicators? People Need a Reality Check
Describes sustainable community indicators as a theoretical
and practical framework for defining the meaning of a sustainable
community and for measuring progress towards that goal.
Starts in Your Community: A Community Indicators Guide
This publication from Redefining Progress and Earth Day Network
draws on the experience of first-generation community indicators
projects to outline a process for successful inidicators initiatives,
including groundwork and steps for involving the larger community.
Progress also offers a 1999 Community
Indicators Case Study in PDF and The Community Indicators
Handbook, a 1997 publication is available for purchase,
that draws on the experience of dozens of projects around the
United States, and presents how-to's and resources for tailoring
an indicator project to the specific needs of a community.
Sustainable Development: Principles in Practice
Introduces the Bellagio principles as guidelines for the entire
assessment process including the choice and design of indicators,
their interpretation, and communication of the results. They
are intended for use in starting and improving assessment activities
of community groups, non-government organizations, corporations,
national governments, and international institutions.
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
IISD offers a special selection of several publications on measuring
sustainable development, including books, papers and brochures
regarding the design and application of indicators.
of Sustainability: Indicators in Various Scientific Disciplines
This paper posted by the Alliance for Global Sustainability
discusses the meaning of indicators, their functions, and guidelines
for their development.
Progress Board Benchmarks
Information on the indicators that Oregon uses to measure progress
by assessing the relationships between the state’s human resources,
quality of life, and economy.
Urban Sustainability Reporting -- Dr.Virginia Maclaren,
Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA),
Vol. 62, No. 2, Spring 1996.
A highly recommended article from the Journal of the American
Planning Association which presents "a structured process for
urban sustainability reporting that improves upon the ad hoc
reporting processes currently in use, and [explores] some of
the characteristics of urban sustainability indicators." The
article also includes a useful bibliography. Available through
libraries or through subscription to JAPA.
Green Is the City?: Sustainability Assessment and the Management
of Urban Environments
This book, published by Columbia University in 2001 and containing
the works of numerous contributors, introduces "sustainability
assessment," and deals with practical ways to reach a more
sustainable state in urban areas through such tools as strategic
environmental assessment, sustainability assessment, direction
analysis, baseline setting and progress measurement, sustainability
targets, and ecological footprint analysis.
the Town Green - The use of urban sustainability indicators
in the United States of America
A 2003 study published by the RICS Foundation that looks at
two initiatives, using these case studies to make recommendations
aimed at those attempting to monitor their own performance.
Measuring Community Progress -- Dr. Walter H. Corson
1200 G Street NW, Suite 800 Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 434-8783;
Fax (703) 532-2862
Indicators of Sustainability -- Dr. Walter H. Corson
Two reports from the former Global Tomorrow Coalition, now re-organized
as Applied Sustainability Enterprises. Measuring Community
Progress inventories community and state initiatives
in the use of sustainability indicators. Indicators
of Sustainability reviews a variety of programs and research
projects that use indicators to assess quality of life, performance,
and sustainability for communities, states, business firms,
nations, and the world as a whole. Available from:
Guide to Sustainable
Community Indicators, 2nd Edition
Author Maureen Hart provides a comprehensive examination of
indicators and their role in the development of sustainable
communities. Provides a list of sample indicators as well as
a discussion on the characteristics of effective indicators.
Last updated: February 10, 2005
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