Houston Sustainable Development Indicators: A Comprehensive Development Review for Citizens, Analysts and Decision Makers | The 2nd Houston Sustainability Indicators Report | 2012
Abstract: In order for citizens, analysts and elected officials to successfully pursue the sustainable development of the City of Houston, a robust set of indicators are needed. Indicators are needed to identify those issues that are integral to sustainable development, and measure progress of those systems. Sustainable Development indicators, by definition, are distinct from traditional performance metrics in that they are value laden with sustainability principles and themes and a growing sustainability knowledge base.
Sustainability principles and themes include: ensuring balance among the pillars of sustainability (social, economic and environmental awareness); comprehensiveness; reliability and validity, timeliness and sensitivity. The interconnectedness of the various systems of city development is also an important principle of sustainability. Many city departments today enhanced their erstwhile reporting instruments by including reference to sustainability and focusing on such accomplishments as energy savings. While energy savings is indeed important, it is but one cog in the comprehensive sustainable development of a place where people live and work. In fact it can be stated that the pursuit of energy savings should be business as usual for efficient company, organization or city management and hence does not validate the need for sustainable development. Further, most companies that pursue energy savings, do so for the monetary savings and not the environmental or social impact of energy production and consumption.