Friday, May 21, 2010

Townsville Scorecard

The Townsville Region of North Queensland, Australia has a set of sustainability indicators, the Townsville Scorecard, along similar lines to Sustainable Seattle's own b-Sustainable project. Like b-Sustainable, it uses indicators to try to objectively assess whether sustainability trends in their region are improving, it takes a comprehensive view of sustainability, and it makes explicit the interlinked nature of the indicators.
economy-environment-society venn diagram
It is a good deal simpler than our project, with 33 indicators as compared to our list of almost 200 (create a free account and log in to see the full list). This is both an advantage and drawback, in that a shorter list must necessarily leave things out, but is also much easier to maintain and describe. And on the description front, Townsville has done a good job of presenting quickly comprehensible summaries of the indicators (here's an example) along with concise commentary that adds a lot of value. b-Sustainable is a work in progress, and you can expect to see us take inspiration from some of these ideas as we improve its interface over the coming months.
We believe that every region should have a set of indicators broadly along these lines, because measuring what really matters is a crucial first step towards improving it and properly assessing the effectiveness of sustainability efforts. One of our long term goals for b-Sustainable is to package both the indicators themselves and the software to display and analyse them as an open source project that sustainability advocates and organisations elsewhere can use as a starting point for their own. Until we have that ready, projects like the Townsville Scorecard show how it can be done independently.

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