16 May 2012 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH, Seminar room SG2, Ground floor


Patrizia Lombardi (Politecnico di Torino, DIST – Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning)


The most difficult challenge facing policymakers is deciding the future directions of society and the economy in the face of conflicting demands of short-term political favour, economic development, social progress, and environmental sustainability. Wrong decisions can lead to critical consequences, increase human suffering, and precipitate current environmental and economic crises. Improving the basis for sound decision-making is, therefore, a high priority.

The question of long-term strategies for sustainable urban development is also highlighted in the recent “Smart cities” debate in order to facilitate social innovation and maximize the impact of the efforts undertaken.  The European Commission refers to the term as “systemic approaches and organisational innovation, encompassing energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and the smart management of supply and demand”, but how can a city or a region develop and measure these actions and how can they be transferred across the EU and beyond?

The requirement to evaluate whether a development is sustainable was already recognized in Agenda 21, which observed that “indicators of sustainable development need to be developed to provide solid bases for decision-making at all levels”. As a result, the last twenty years have seen an overabundance of measures, indicators and evaluations which attempt to make some assessment of what is happening to our planet and the actions of human beings upon it. However, the development of indicators has resulted in considerable complexity, which has made it difficult to derive suitable assessment criteria.

This talk provides an introduction to this important topic and suggests a way forward to a coherent structure, together with techniques which will enable progress to be assessed. The approach is introduced using illustrations and case studies, together with follow-up references.


Patrizia Lombardi (BA/MA, MSc, PhD at Salford Univ.) is Professor of Economic and Planning Evaluation and Head of the Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning of the Politecnico di Torino.

She is Scientific Director of the UNESCO Master “World Heritage at Work” at the International Training Center of the International Labor Organization and member of the Scientific Board of the CSI-Consortium for Information Systems of the Piemonte Region. She is member of the G8 University Council and of several International Scientific Committees on smart cities, e-governance and cultural heritage.

She is an established figure in the field of evaluating sustainable development for over 20 years. Her last publication in the field is the book “Evaluating Sustainable development in the Built Environment (Wiley, 2011, second edition, with P. Brandon).


Open to all.  No registration required.

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