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How do we encourage a quadruple-bottom-line approach toward more responsible and holistic urban planning?

Research Project Name

The Socio-Economic Ecological Performance Index

What We Did

We believe that urban planning projects need not place financial concerns above all others; social and environmental concerns can be taken up without sacrificing financial returns. To test that thesis, we set out to create a tool that both encourages more holistic development and quantifies a project’s socio-economic and ecological impact. As a starting point, we reviewed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as an outline for a more just and sustainable development model.

We then identified those SDGs that coincide with architecture and planning. Next, we conducted an extensive review of the metrics of existing rating and certification systems to guide how we measure progress toward an SDG target. Ultimately, we created a set of key performance indicators that became the basis of the Socio-Economic Ecological Performance Index (SEPI) — a tool for measuring a project’s performance across the quadruple bottom line of people, planet, policy, and profit.

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Sumita Arora, Jessica Galeazzi, Brenden Jackson, Carolina Montilla, Naomi Sakamoto, Sarah Szekeresh

Year Completed