New International Standard for measuring the performance of cities going “smart”

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City living is on the rise, having gone from 751 million of the world’s population in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. What’s more, it’s expected to reach 6.7 billion in 20501. How can cities adapt and prepare to ensure they provide adequate resources and a sustainable future? They can’t improve what they can’t measure. The latest in the ISO series of standards for smart cities aims to help.

The ISO 37100 range of International Standards helps communities adopt strategies to become more sustainable and resilient. The newest in the series and just published, ISO 37122, Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for smart cities, gives cities a set of indicators for measuring their performance across a number of areas, allowing them to draw comparative lessons from other cities around the world and find innovative solutions to the challenges they face.

The standard will complement ISO 37120, Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for city services and quality of life, which outlines key measurements for evaluating a city’s service delivery and quality of life. Together, they form a set of standardized indicators that provide a uniform approach to what is measured, and how that measurement is to be undertaken, that can be compared across city and country. The standards also provide guidance to cities on how to assess their performance towards contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the global roadmap for a more sustainable world.

Bernard Gindroz, Chair of ISO/TC 268, Sustainable cities and communities, the ISO technical committee that developed the standard, said ISO 37122 defines indicators as well as methods and practices that can make a rapid and significant difference to their social, economic and environmental sustainability. 

“When used in conjunction with ISO 37101, which defines a management system for sustainable development in communities, and ISO 37120, this standard helps cities implement smart city projects and projects across a range of areas,” he said.

“These include those that respond to urbanization issues such as population growth, climate change and political and economic instability, through better engagement with their societies. It offers effective leadership methods, latest technologies and practices that help them improve the quality of life of their citizens and achieve their environmental goals, while facilitating innovation and growth.

ISO 37122 will be complemented by ISO 37123, Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for resilient cities, which is due to be published later this year.

ISO 37122 was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 268, Sustainable cities and communities, the secretariat of which is held by AFNOR, ISO’s member for France. It is available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

1) United Nations 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects

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