Perhaps nothing speaks more to the challenge of sustainably managing infrastructure systems than attempting to measure their performance. It's a daunting task, at best, to merely inventory a city's systems -- water, energy, transportation and water, for example -- much less to describe and catalogue their many functions and interdependencies. Adding verification that the systems are sustainably managed would seem to be virtually impossible.
Some cities, however, are paving new ground toward making the impossible possible. While many communities have set sustainability goals, plans and programs, a lesser number are actively communicating their progress. A few cities have significantly raised the bar by defining performance statistics, setting timelines and publishing their results through online performance dashboards. These cities include Kansas City, Salt Lake City and, most recently, Los Angeles, whose Sustainable City pLAn dashboard debuted last month.