ISO 37120 is human-oriented composite index that aims to carry forward sustainable development.
The index system built by ISO 371120 has great distinctive features.
Firstly, ISO 37120 is human-oriented composite index in evaluating urban sustainable development. This composite index is established in a holistic way in evaluating urban public service and life quality which relates closely with citizens’ production and life, as well as their feelings, living rights, development rights and liberty rights,
Secondly, there are sufficient indexes to comprehensively evaluate the city development in ISO 37120. For example, it includes economy, society, environment, infrastructure, culture, and governance.100 indicators in ISO 37120 are fixed indicators and could be divided into three categories of scale, structure and performance. Moreover, in ISO 37120, economy, society, environment, infrastructure, culture are equally important to carry forward urban sustainable development. All indicators in every level are valued equally.
Thirdly, ISO 37120 also measures greenhouse gas emission, election, anti-corruption and other issues.
Fourthly, ISO 37120 will keep improving based on the actual implementation. According to decision of the 7th group meeting of ISO/TC268/WG2, the amendment of ISO 37120 will take place. For the effectiveness of the amendment, the ISO/TC268/WG2 started experimental work in different countries since May 2014. For the first step, nine cities have been selected for experimental work. They are New York in America, Toronto in Canada, São Paulo in South Africa, London in Britain, Durban in South Africa, Shanghai in China, Bombay in India, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and Melbourne in Australia.
The ISO 37120 sustainable development index system is the first international criterion for sustainable development.
The ISO 37120 sustainable development index system - about city service and life quality, is the achievement of ISO/TC268, which will provide input into New Urban Agenda, to be issued in 2016 United Nation Conference on Housing and Urban Sustainable Development (The Third Meeting for UN-Habitat).
The Background Information of ISO 37120
The global urbanization is speeding up. When we refer to urbanization, it means a serial change of economy and society brought by people moving towards cities. According to the estimation of the United Nation Economic and Social Affairs Department, the population has increased from 700 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. In 2050, the world population will increase to 3.4 billion. The urbanization is growing exponentially. Cities are now the focal points to carry forward the global sustainable development.
According to the estimation of United Nations, by 2050, the countries with the greatest increase in population are India, China, Nigeria. They will respectively experience a growth of 400 million, 300 million and 200 million. The speed up of urbanization will result in great economic profit but also severe challenges, especially in Asia and the developing countries in Africa. As Brian Bailey pointed out，“in an urbanization country, people are suffering from lowest life expectation, lowest level of nutrition, lowest energy consumption and bad education quality. “The great challenges brought by urbanization for the developing countries lay on the pressure on housing, infrastructure, traffic, energy, employment, education and healthcare. For developed countries whose urbanization is in a mature stage, they also face the threat to economic development and competition, social polarization, increasing of natural resources consumption, population aging. If the proper action is not taken, it will affect the healthy development of global urbanization.
Methods to evaluate the threats in the process of urban sustainable development
When encounter different challenges of urbanization, the international organizations and countries from all over the world establish an index system to find out the weakest part in urbanization and solve the problems of population, environment, climate changes and society. America, Canada , Europe and other developed countries and area bring out an urban management index system based on the national conditions. As the urbanization is carrying forward, the UN-Habitat, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations educational scientific and cultural organization, World Health Organization, OECD, Asia Development Bank, European Union and other international organization are paying attention to urban management. They also raised their own index system for urban management in their own working range. These urban index systems are widely used in international organizations, governments from all over the world, academia. However, the setting of these index and application is different from various countries and there is very few to compare between these systems. The missing of standard index system limits the cities to learn more about the sustainable development trends as well as to learn about the best practice of sustainable development. Therefore, a set of standard index system is needed to evaluate and monitor the urban sustainable development process. Due to above reasons, ISO 37120 was created.
The ISO 37120 derives from an urban evaluation program by World Bank in 2006.
The World Bank launched an urban evaluation program in 2006. Conducting by World Bank City Bureau and investigating by GCIF of University of Toronto, the experimental work was carried out in Brazil, Canada, Columbia, America and other 9 cities by using a model “from up to down”. With the cooperation with UN-Habitat, ICLET, IDRC, OECD and UNEP, the report of global city index program was released in December, 2007.
The stage of setting up standard
Based on the program, the GCIF proposed to ISO TMB an international standard of index, methods and definitions to evaluate urban development. And it had been proved.
Members of the standard-setting studies include Canada SCC, France AFNOR, Germany DIN, Japan JISC and the Netherlands NEN, and Denmark DS, China SAC, and Russia COST R, South Africa SABS. The international organizations in partnership include Siemens, GCIF cooperative international organization, UNEP, the World Bank, ICLEI, FIDIC etc. In order to promote the elaboration of ISO37120, the World Bank and UN-Habitat officials wrote to the member states of ISO/TC268, urging them to support the project, adopting and publishing the standard as soon as possible.
In July 2012, the program of "Living Lab Procedure", proposed by GCIF, is successfully passed after voted by ISO/TC268. In October 2012, ISO/TC 268/WG2 completed the first draft of Working Paper and the second & third drafts were completed in November 2012 and January 2013.
In March 2013, ISO/TC 268/WG2 completed a Draft of International Standard (DIS), where 139 indicators were listed from 22 aspects in life quality and city services, including 17 aspects of quality of life and 100 indicators, 5 aspects of city services and 39 indicators. September 2013, the final version of draft international standard (FDIS) was completed, and it was published in May 2014 as an international standard.
In order to promote the development of ISO 37120, ISO/TC268/WG2 held 7 meetings. In addition, ISO/TC 268/WG2 launched a new research as ISO TR 37121 which is dedicated to sort out global urban evaluation indicator system of sustainable development, and the relationship with ISO 37120 ,ISO37101 and ISO37151
ISO 37120, by establishing a set of indicators system, helps to measure the urban services and urban construction in different types of city.
(A) The purpose of ISO 37120
ISO 37120 by establishing a set of indicators system help to measure the urban services and urban construction in different types of city. Its fundamental purpose is measured over a period of time the management performance of city services and quality of life of the city, through the horizontal comparison between similar cities, find out the inadequacies of the city in the process of promoting sustainable development, and sharing successful experiences with other cities.
(B) The core of ISO 37120
In 1987, the World Commission of Environment and Development proposed for the first time the concept of "sustainable development" i.e." meets the needs of the current generation without compromising future generations’ life". People choose to live in the cities for a better life. Clothing, food, housing, transportation, education, medical care, pensions and employment rights of existence and development are the basic needs of the people. On the premise of meeting the existence and development to pursuit the political freedom, peace, democracy and equality ideal for higher level of demand.
Therefore, the fundamental objective of sustainable development is to meet the needs of people and ensure human rights. ISO 37120 measures the status of the protection of urban development of the city in all aspects of life for urban residents.
Evaluation and classification of ISO 37120
Application scope of ISO 37120: Cities of any size and geographic location.
Chapter 2 is Normative of References. The first Edition of ISO 37120 refers to two ISO standards: ISO 37101-sustainable development of the city – management system - the basic principles and requirements, and ISO 1996:2 acoustics – description, measurement and assessment of environmental noise – Part 2: the determination of the noise level.
Chapter 3 is Terms and Definitions of the key terms in ISO 37120, including: city, index, whole-day schooling, natural disasters, secondary education and higher education, hazardous waste, solid waste, and so on. Chapter 4 is urban indicators, introducing the objectives and categories of ISO 37120.
There are two major categories of ISO 37120 indicators, which are summary indicators and evaluation indicators. Form Chapter 5 to Chapter 21 are the evaluation indicators. Each chapter states a different view for the sustainable urban development, in the order of the English alphabetic.
ISO 37120 has set up 100 items from 17 areas including economics, education, energy, environment, financial, governance, healthcare, fire and emergency response, leisure, security, asylum, solid wastes, communication and innovation, transport, urban planning, waste, water and sanitation, including 46 core indicators and 54 subsidiary indicators.
Subsidiary indicators mean ISO 37120 can be used as an indicator to evaluate the performance of city services and quality of life.
In addition, in Appendix B, on the 4 aspects of population, housing, economics, geography and climate, 39 summary indicators are listed. Summary indicators provide basic statistics and background information to help cities make a horizontal comparison with similar cities.