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The Shell Center for Sustainability's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities' living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life.


Functional Sustainability Indicators

In a recent article published by ScienceDirect, Dr. Lester O. King, Shell Center for Sustainability fellow leading the Houston Sustainability Indicators project at Rice University, highlights functional sustainability indicators.

Sustainability indicators (SIs) are not just traditional performance metrics but are value laden pathways to supporting urban development. This paper presents a functional classification for SIs. The following six classes are used to illustrate the various functions of SIs: (F1) Political and Operational; (F2) Problem Recognition and Awareness; (F3) Justificatory; (F4) Monitoring Control and Reporting; (F5) Normative Guidance; (F6) Communication and Opinion Forming. The Houston Sustainability Indicators (HSI) program was used as a heuristic case study of how the functional classification could be applied. F1 was illustrated by carefully choosing geographic boundaries for the study. F2 was highlighted by careful review of the socio-economics of persons in the Food Desert. F3 was demonstrated by a look at issues of calculating population growth totals and also setting standards for access to parks. F4 was illustrated by a look at Employment figures. F5 was highlighted by a look at affordability in Houston. Lastly F6 was explained by a look at income inequality. This paper is intended to strengthen the importance of sustainability in development planning, through the illustration of key functions for SIs.

 Flood Plain article fig 3

Read the full article at: ScienceDirect

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