Standard for measuring cities’ performance

August 1st, 2018, Published in Articles: PositionIT

ISO has just published new international standards for measuring and improving the performance of cities. ISO 37120 (Indicators for city services and quality of life in communities) was the first set of internationally standardised city indicators that provide a uniform approach to what is measured and how, when it was first published in 2014.

This enabled cities to communicate amongst themselves using globally standardised, comparable data, allowing them to get insights into other cities and learn from each other. Now, the standard has been updated, offering even more indicators to help cities effectively improve the quality of life of their citizens and plan for a more sustainable future.

The update follows city demand and a gap analysis that was performed, demonstrating the need for new indicators. For example, there are now more comprehensive indicators on housing, such as vacancy rates and living space sizes, all essential if future cities are to manage growing populations effectively.

City managers and planners, politicians, researchers and business leaders are among those who could benefit from the use of the standard, which covers various aspects, from education and energy to transport, health and water.

ISO 37120 will soon be joined by two complementary standards (ISO 37122 and ISO 37123) on indicators for smart and resilient cities, due to be released later this year. In addition, a third new standard (ISO 37106) has also been published to give city leaders guidance on how to develop an effective model for their city that can help them achieve their sustainability goals. The standards are part of the ISO 37100 series, which includes ISO 37101, the overarching management systems standard for sustainable development in communities.

Contact Clare Naden, ISO,