A Methodology for Urban Sustainability Indicator Design

Keywords: sustainability measurement, urban sustainability, indicator design, climate change


In recent times we have witnessed proliferation of indicators and models for measuring sustainability. This reveals the lack of common and shared scientific paradigm/common framework from which to confront the issue of quantitatively assessing the sustainability of our society.

With the aim of moving forward the definition of such common framework, in this article we explain an easy formal methodology for designing urban sustainability indicators based on Fuzzy Logic / Fuzzy Sets Theory. The interest of this methodology is threefold:

  • Firstly, formal procedures enable easier testing, a most fundamental issue forgotten in many current proposals of sustainability indicators.
  • Secondly, a formal procedure is easily understandable and can become a common language allowing shared use of the indicators and facilitating their continuous improvement.
  • And thirdly, fuzzy logic is widely used in computing and artificial intelligence, thus facilitating the progressive automation of our sustainability monitoring models.

To help understand the procedure, the design of two indicators is reviewed.


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Author Biography

Ricardo Alvira Baeza, Universidad de Murcia
He is an architect and Urban Designer. From 2000 to 2010 he has worked in several major architectural firms, focusing on medium-large projects including: design and construction of a residential neighborhood; skyscrapers and retail centers; a university campus [this last project was designed seeking compliance with BREEAM and LEED ND sustainability criteria]. After 2010, he has focused on research, achieving a DEA in Urban Design and Planning [Polytechnic University of Madrid], with a study comparing the two major sustainability certification systems at the moment: LEED ND and BREEAM for Communities. His PhD Thesis in Architecture and Urban Planning [Polytechnic University of Cartagena], is a complete mathematical model for measuring cities sustainability [Meta_S] including a procedure so it can be used in most urban transformations [both urban projects and legislation drafting, …].


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How to Cite
Alvira Baeza, R. (2018). A Methodology for Urban Sustainability Indicator Design. Tema - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 11(3), 285-303. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/5795