Important legal notice
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Environment - Understanding the environment and the impacts of green technologies
“To develop relevant sustainability targets for local authorities in the context of the Urban Thematic Strategy so as to help improve the quality of life of European citizens.”

The problem

European citizens are truly becoming, as the term suggests, city dwellers. Four-fifths of Europeans now live in towns and cities, and enjoy the proximity to commerce, business and culture that urban living allows. However, on the environmental level, urban dwelling raises certain important issues. To address this, the European Commission launched, in January 2006, its Urban Thematic Strategy as part of the Union’s Sixth Environmental Action Programme which takes a holistic approach to the urban environment focusing on sustainability. But to make the most of this strategy, local authorities need a versatile tool to assess their progress.

STATUS  Checking the STATUS of urban sustainability


The STATUS project aimed to develop relevant sustainability targets for local authorities in the context of the Urban Thematic Strategy. With it, local authorities will be able to consult a selection of possible indicative targets. The project’s main goals included:

  • Reviewing existing tools for assessing progress with urban sustainability
  • Assessing current urban sustainability targets and indicator sets
  • Developing, with the aid of local authorities, an on-line benchmarking tool to set relevant local targets
    for urban sustainability
  • Drawing up a ‘road map’ to help the Commission make the most of the on-line tool when monitoring urban sustainability

Contribution to policy development:

  • STATUS will help EU officials and policy-makers to monitor the progress of the Urban Thematic Strategy.
  • The on-line tool will help local authorities to set targets, gauge their performance and identify common standards.
  • The project will help draw together existing research, policy guidelines, indicators and targets as applied to urban environments with a view to constructing a European framework to assist national and local governments in their urban sustainability policy-making.

Project deliverables

  • Evaluating compatibility of tools and targets and production of draft targets – April 2005
  • Organise and run local authority workshops – May and December 2005
  • Develop an on-line tool – November 2005
  • Pilot tool in four local authorities – December 2005
  • Final report and road map for the application of the tool – January 2006


  • Publish project news on website – ongoing
  • Reports on workshops – June 2005 and January 2006
  • Strategies for the promotion of the tool at all levels of government (EU, national, regional, local government) – January 2006
  • Disseminate at relevant conferences and gatherings – as necessary

Technical information

Project acronym: STATUS
Project’s official full title: Sustainability Tools and Targets for the Urban Thematic Strategy
Research priority: 3.4. Forecasting and developing innovative policies for sustainability in the medium and long term
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 513689
Start date: January 2005
Kick off meeting: January 2005
Completion date: March 2006
European Commission scientific officer: Marialuisa Tamborra,

Name: Kate Theobald, Sustainable Cities Research Institute, University of Northumbria
Abbreviated name: Northumbria
Address: 6 North Street East, NE1 8ST, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Country: UK
Tel: +44 191 227 3500
Fax: +44 191 227 3066


Name: ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH
Abbreviated name: ICLEI-ES
Country: DE

Name: Aabo Akademi University
Abbreviated name: AAU
Country: FI

Name: Trinity College Dublin
Abbreviated name: TCD
Country: IE

Name: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Abbreviated name: VTT
Country: FI

Name: Ambiente Italia S.r.l
Abbreviated name: AMBIENTE ITALIA
Country: IT

Name: Union of the Baltic Cities Commission on Environment
Abbreviated name: UBC
Country: FI