Managed Municipal Sustainability - Toward the Development of a Performance Indicator System: Manager's Brief
Publication Year: 2010
Nahum Ben Elia
In Israel, as in most developed countries, public awareness of sustainable development challenges is on the rise. Guiding principles based on this approach are gradually making their way into both government systems and civil consciousness. “External” phenomena, such as global warming and climate change, dramatically demonstrate the public cost of unwise resource management and the inherent risk of potentially irreversible conditions. But similar awareness is also developing with regard to more “immediate” phenomena, such as accelerated urbanization and economic development. This is further augmented by the growing recognition of the impacts of these trends on the quality of life of the individual and on the well-being of society, today and in the future. The study has four main chapters: the first presents the conceptual system which guides the study, centered on the distinction between “local sustainability” and “municipal sustainability.” The second chapter presents a model of “managed municipal sustainability.” The third chapter presents the areas and subjects covered by the present scheme and the proposed indicators. The final chapter reviews the feasibility of implementing this system in light of operational considerations. The following presents a short summary of these main features of the different chapters.
Environmental Sustainability Indicators
There are eight main fields or areas and 32 correlated issues that social sustainability is defined by. Here are the following environmental proposed indicators: land use – planning & building, water, air quality, waste, sustainable building, sustainable transport, energy, and management of environmental sustainability.
Social and Economic Sustainability Indicators
The following are sustainability indicators: municipal strength, public conduct, access to services and quality of life, personal safety, public health, environmental health risks, housing, and local identity and heritage. The following are the economic indicators: local economic base and environmental sustainability of the local economy.
In recent years we have been witness to both a growing awareness towards sustainable development and to the coming of age of an informed and assertive public who considers accountability a civil right and an institutional obligation. Accordingly, there is a need for robust and efficient instruments. This preliminary study outlines a conceptual and methodological information system for the measurement of managed local sustainability based on municipal performance indicators.
There is a real chance to transform the methodological construct herein proposed into a tangible and practical tool for the management and control of municipal sustainability. Undoubtedly, it will be subject to further methodological clarification and to the complementary development of alternative or complementary indicators. International experience indicates that the incorporation of such systems is first and foremost dependent on the existence of a committed and mandatory government policy. In this spirit, it would only be right for the Ministry of Environmental Protection to adopt a consistent policy on the subject.