Name of the initiative:

Asssessment Tool with a Life Cycle Perspective for Sustainable Cities

By: UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change Research and Academia
Scope: Global
Timeframe: 5 years
Project's value: 100k – 1M USD

There is no scientific methodology that states how to apply the current state of the art of Life
Cycle Assessment to cities. Current methods for impacts measurement of a city in a given
period, do not allow any comparison of results between cities. Moreover, there is not a common reference to base the results on and to extract conclusions from at a global level.

Cities include more facilities and conceptual differences, which should be tackled from a new perspective. This is, taking into account all the methods, criteria and concepts used in the lower levels of study but considering that cities are not just an addition of construction
products and buildings. Instead, cities may be a more complex concept which could
require a more holistic approach. A tool that takes into account the three dimensions of sustainability and assesses more than one environmental impact from a life cycle perspective is needed.

Implementation modalities:

The methodological results of this project, when applied, might affect the way public administration and governments manage local and regional entities. The information delivered by the method shall provide decision makers and policy takers a tool to let them achieve a more knowledge based decision-making.

When performing the assessment for each local government, a huge amount of data will be needed. City’s facilities operators will be interested in how data is being used and how synergies could be applied. In addition, industrial suppliers such as metering products manufacturers and mechanical or electrical accessories manufactures could be interested in giving their products improved or added functions more orientated to climate change fighting.
There are some common benefits that the supporting organization could achieve when establishing a relationship with the UNESCO Chair in life Cycle and Climate Change. Some of them are listed below:
 Enhancing the image of both your brand and your organisation.
 Getting the opportunity to connect with a mass and diverse community.
 Increasing Brand’s awareness and recognition.
 Communicating a organization’s sensible message.
 Associating the brand of your organization to a project that stands for citizens, environment, climate change fighting and sustainable development.
 Opening up to the market and new consumers
 Identifying the organization with the territory and its values.
 Getting the opportunity to impact web visitors of the UNESCO Chair and Construction21 (more than 500.000 annual visits).
 Publicity and media projection at a national and international level.
 Getting Strategical association with an international and reference research institution in the LCA and climate change sectors with a long experience in European and international projects.
 Linking the organization to a project with a great growth potential and associated with a UNESCO organization.

Expected accomplishments:

A background goal that shall guide all the development of this project is the capacity to compare results among cities. This would enhance benchmarking best available solutions and the realization of a ranking to publish different Cities’ environmental behaviour.


The execution of the activities involved in the development of this project can be divided in three phases. The first phase focuses on a state of the art review and, from here, a methodology will be proposed. In the second phase, a practical application of the methodology would be applied to a specific city. The success of this pilot scale application brings the project to the third phase, which is the application of the comparison of the results from different cities, which should lead into a ranking where cities are valued in environmental behaviour terms.
Throughout the project, several stakeholders’ consultations are going to take place and their feedback is going to be used in order to complement the scientific basis with the implementation of practical and useful characteristics to the method proposed. Moreover, the experience of a pilot case study shall contribute to refine the methodology incorporating the experience achieved in real action.