The Ecocity Standards describe 18 conditions of an ecocity (www.ecocitystandards.org). Indicators are used to measure the condition being described within each standard and performance benchmarks help pinpoint whether a city is at an unhealthy, green, ecocity or Gaia level. This continuum is represented in a framework that facilitates assessment of a city’s performance with regard to all 18 standards. To be considered an ecocity, a city must achieve Ecocity Level 1 in all standard conditions.
There are many indicators that could be used to assess performance within each standard. Each indicator measures a slightly different aspect of the condition described by the standard. Headline indicators are used to represent the most important thing to measure. Work is currently underway to confirm which headline indicators should be used to measure the International Ecocity Standards. Multiple indicators can be used, but at a minimum the headline indicator should be incorporated into a city’s ecocity assessment.
At the upcoming Ecocity World Summit 2017 in Melbourne, we will be holding a workshop to discuss Ecocity tools, including the International Ecocity Standards. The standards and proposed headline indicators will be presented along with a draft list of performance benchmarks for each of the headline indicators at the Ecocity Level 1.
Performance benchmarks are derived from examining those cities that already achieve a high degree of sustainability as measured by a headline indicator. The performance benchmark sets the bar for what a city should be achieving in order to be considered an ecocity. Since indicators often work in synergistic fashion, meaning that a city that demonstrates achievement in one standard should also be achieving in others, there is much to learn from this exercise. To achieve ecocity status requires that a city demonstrates the benchmark performance for Ecocity Level 1 in each standard.