• Smart cities and communities are using standards to shape their management processes, services and response to risks in order to become sustainable and resilient. Internationally recognized standards support these changes and provide guidance, regardless of size and location. 

    • Management processes for a sustainable community 


      Developing a sustainable city requires a comprehensive management approach. It is important for communities to feel empowered to build on existing initiatives or implement new processes with guidance for best practice. Management and planning systems should target social, environmental and economic issues while supporting sustainable development.

      ISO 37101:2016 defines requirements for a management system for sustainable development in communities and cities. This International Standard does not set a benchmark for performance, rather sets out requirements in order to establish a framework to form a sustainable community through developing purpose and vision.  

      ISO 37101:2016 takes a holistic approach in establishing requirements aimed to improve the contribution of communities to sustainable development, promote resilience of these communities and assess performance to continually progress towards sustainability targets. 

      The first step towards a smarter, sustainable city requires the right foundation. As strategies and needs for individual cities and communities can differ greatly between regions, they need to reflect the priorities for their specific communities in this development framework. 

      Performance of city services and the quality of life 


      The ability to measure performance of city services and quality of life is essential. The need for internationally recognized measurements helps form a consistent approach in how measurements are taken, no matter the size of the community or the location.  

      ISO 37120:2018 is the International Standard that defines and establishes methodologies for a set of indicators to measure the performance of city services and quality of life. These measurements help guide city services and activities to achieve overarching goals. 

      ISO 37120:2018 specifies a set of 100 indicators that enable any city or community to measure, or even compare, their performance socially, economically and environmentally to others around the world. This standard helps cities learn from each other through a worldwide comparison of performance measures and help set targets to comparable cities. Based on results; processes and systems can be continually developed to manage risks, enhance resilience and improve quality of life. 

      Indicators are an important tool to many decision makers, including city managers, researchers, planners and designers in order to promote inclusive, sustainable, resilient and liveable cities.

      How resilient cities fight back 

      Cities and communities which prioritize resiliency can effectively prepare, recover and adapt to unanticipated circumstances  or major changes. Helping to safeguard against severe consequences of events such as natural disasters or economic and environmental issues. 

      ISO 37123:2019 establishes definitions and methodologies for a set of indicators on resilience in cities. This Standard focuses on resiliency in relation to economy, education, health and a wide variety of other factors.  

      This data can be used to compare cities and communities globally, establish their baseline and evaluate their performance. Being resilient in the face of major changes contributes to the overall sustainability of a city.  


      These three International Standards work together in guiding cities and communities around best practice to create a smart, resilient and sustainable place to live.  Processes and measurements have not always been standardized and recognized internationally, however ISO 37123, ISO 37120 and ISO 37101 provide a uniform approach to establish and assist in the creation of sustainable cities and communities globally. 

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