New ISO Standard for Sustainable Cities & Communities

New ISO Standard for Sustainable Cities & Communities

A smart city is a resilient city, able to handle all the challenges of a changing world while keeping essential functions running. But how can a city know its level of resilience? ISO 37123 has been published to help.

With a rapidly rising world population and growing urbanisation, cities that want to survive need to adapt and prepare to ensure they are sustainable. Resilience is an important element as it means they can react appropriately should unexpected events or stresses occur. But in order to build resilience, cities need to understand their risks, vulnerabilities and strengths so as to make informed decisions and measure the effects of actions taken.

Threats like climate change impacts, security risks and the effects of increasing populations means cities need to be as robust as possible. Cities are increasingly faced with unexpected shocks and stresses, ranging from adverse weather events to cyber-attacks and political conflicts.

ISO 37123: “Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for resilient cities“, is the first International Standard that provides a set of indicators on resilience by which cities can measure where they stand. It complements other standards in the series on smart cities indicators that includes ISO 37120: “Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for city services and quality of life“, and ISO 37122: “Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for smart cities“.

Cities and communities can prepare themselves by understanding the risks they face and take action to reduce their vulnerability to their risks. ISO 37123 will help them to do that with a set of internationally comparable criteria that can be used to identify areas of weakness in cities around the world.

Resilience in cities is often only discussed in highly general and qualitative terms, rather than with globally comparable data. Yet quantitative data is needed to understand all aspects of a resilient city, including its level of preparedness for an extreme event, as well as its ability to respond and rebuild should one occur. This standard, along with the indicators within ISO 37120 and ISO 37122, help cities with the measurements that are necessary to create innovative responses to such challenges.