Assessing the sustainability dimension at local scale: Case study of Spanish cities


Rama, M., González-García, S., Andrade, E., Moreira, M. T. & Feijoo, G.


Nowadays, cities host most of the world population. As a result of human activities within their boundaries, most greenhouse gases emissions, natural resources consumption and waste generation are concentrated in urban areas. For these reasons, studies focusing on assessing the sustainability of cities have increased in recent decades. Bearing in mind the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic and environmental), this study aims to evaluate the level of sustainability of 31 representative Spanish cities through multiple sustainability indicators, which have been aggregated into a composite sustainability indicator that is reported by a three-letter code. Thus, each pillar of sustainability is represented by a letter A, B or C in the three-letter code, so that the letter A corresponds to the best rate and C to the worst.

Within the geographical and socio-demographic framework of Spain, the results show considerable differences between the cities in the south and the north of the country. Accordingly, most of the cities with the best sustainability scores according to the award of at least two A in the three-letters code are located in the north of the country. Examples of this category are Pamplona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (both ranked as AAA). Cities such as Murcia, Gijon, Badajoz and Huelva obtained the worst ranking with the CCC rating. For this group of cities, actions for the improvement of sustainability have been identified. Assessing sustainability dimension SpainAssessing the sustainability dimension at local scale: Case study of Spanish cities

Revista: Ecological Indicators. 117, 106687

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106687

Año: 2020

  • Sustainability of 31 Spanish cities was evaluated with a set of 38 indicators.
  • Weight of each indicator was calculated with analytical hierarchy process methodology.
  • Sustainability of the cities under study was classified with a three-letter code.
  • Policy makers can improve the sustainability of a city identifying the hotspots.

Figure 3. Composite indicators and first quartile values of the cities rated as CCC.