Photo Credit: Carlos Delgado
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The Houston Sustainability Indicators website provides interactive graphs and maps that help Houstonians quickly gauge progress through the lens of the SDGs.

Houston is one of several US cities – including New York City, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Jose and Los Angeles – that have adopted the SDGs as a framework to measure progress.

Every year until 2030, the Houston Sustainability Indicators team will report on Houston’s progress towards the SDG targets.

A new website allows residents of Houston, Texas, US, to quickly visualize local progress across the SDGs, using indicators such as neighborhood poverty rates, transit use, water consumption and proximity to green spaces. The initiative intends to report on Houston’s progress towards the SDGs each year until 2030.

The Houston Sustainability Indicators were launched by Rice University, the Houston Sustainability Indicators Program (Rice-HSi) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in late October 2019. The site provides interactive graphs and maps that draw data from multiple sources, including he US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Census Bureau, Rice University Institute for Urban Research, to help Houstonians quickly gauge progress on local well-being through the lens of the SDGs.

The SDGs become real when you start talking about how safe people feel on their street, if there are enough doctors in their town.

“The City of Houston will celebrate its 200-year birthday in 2036,” said David Abraham, Rice-HSi, just six years after the target date for the SDGs and the overall 2030 Agenda. Abraham notes that Houston is one of several cities across the world tracking sustainability progress, and Rice-HSi will work to support other cities as they track progress against the SDG targets.

In the US, cities including New York City, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Jose and Los Angeles have adopted the SDGs as a framework to measure progress. In 2018, New York City became the first municipality to deliver a Voluntary Local Review on the sidelines of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). A number of other cities worldwide also have prepared VLRs, including: Kitakyushu, Japan; Helsinki, Finland; and Bristol, UK.

“For most people, the SDGs become real when you start talking about their daily lives,” said Stefan Jungcurt, IISD Lead for SDG Indicators and Data. “That means bringing Goals to the local level of the average income in their neighborhood, how safe they feel on their street, if there are enough doctors in their town. Data dashboards not only help stakeholders promote transparency and accountability in local development, they make the 2030 Agenda something people can reach out and touch.” [Houston Sustainability Indicators] [IISD Webpage for Community Indicator Systems]

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