Skip to Content

Key indicators for sustainable urban development published – Join us in their testing and further development

Publication date 13.6.2022 14.28 | Published in English on 13.6.2022 at 14.38
Press release

How should the sustainability of cities be measured? The project carried out by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE ‘Indicators for sustainable urban development’ was a multi-stage participatory process to draw up a proposal for key indicators for sustainable urban development. The aim is to support cities, ministries and other stakeholders in monitoring sustainable urban development. The follow-up project to be started now will test the key indicators that have been identified in municipalities interested in this work.

“Cities and municipalities are in a key position in promoting sustainable development, and they also have ambitious sustainability targets. Besides ambitious target setting and actions, turning the development trends into sustainable ones obviously requires active monitoring of the work. The key indicators for sustainable urban development is a step towards more systematic monitoring of the development of sustainable cities,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.

Indicators for sustainable urban development have been developed at global, national and local levels, including in research organisations, cities, municipalities and municipal networks. UN’s New Urban Agenda (NUA). The objectives of the New Urban Agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the framework for indicator development. During the past few decades various sets of indicators have been introduced in Finland, but their utilisation as instruments that guide the implementation of sustainable urban development has been challenging and but the same matters have often been measured in different contexts using different indicators.

The report provides an extensive overview of the current state of indicator work. It also includes a description of the indicator and data collection work carried out in the project for reporting related to the New Urban Agenda. The set of 46 key indicators covering 13 aspects of sustainability comprises the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. The set of key indicators is based on an extensive review of the available indicators, process of joint workshops involving more than 60 organisations and scientific analyses of the key phenomena and the most important key indicators describing these.

Municipalities involved in testing and further development of indicators

The work done in the project that has now been completed will continue and the proposed key indicators for sustainable urban development will be tested in the planning and monitoring processes of cities and municipalities of different sizes. The aim is that the indicators will comprehensively support the monitoring of the ecological, social and economic sustainability of cities.


Virve Hokkanen
Programme Manager
Ministry of the Environment
[email protected]

Tapio Reinikainen
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
[email protected]​​
27.6-4.7 ja 15.8. >

Nufar Finel
​​​​​​​Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
​​​​​​​[email protected]
​​​​​​​13.6-26.6 ja 18.7. >

Back to top