Visualization of a City Sustainability Index (CSI): Towards Transdisciplinary Approaches Involving Multiple Stakeholders

Koichiro Mori*, Toyonobu Fujii, Tsuguta Yamashita, Yutaka Mimura, Yuta Uchiyama, Kengo Hayashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


We have developed a visualized 3-D model of a City Sustainability Index (CSI) based on our original concept of city sustainability in which a sustainable city is defined as one that maximizes socio-economic benefits while meeting constraint conditions of the environment and socio-economic equity on a permanent basis. The CSI is based on constraint and maximization indicators. Constraint indicators assess whether a city meets the necessary minimum conditions for city sustainability. Maximization indicators measure the benefits that a city generates in socio-economic aspects. When used in the policy-making process, the choice of constraint indicators should be implemented using a top-down approach. In contrast, a bottom-up approach is more suitable for defining maximization indicators because this technique involves multiple stakeholders (in a transdisciplinary approach). Using different materials of various colors, shapes, sizes, we designed and constructed the visualized physical model of the CSI to help people evaluate and compare the performance of different cities in terms of sustainability. The visualized model of the CSI can convey complicated information in a simple and straightforward manner to diverse stakeholders so that the sustainability analysis can be understood intuitively by ordinary citizens as well as experts. Thus, the CSI model helps stakeholders to develop critical thinking about city sustainability and enables policymakers to make informed decisions for sustainability through a transdisciplinary approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12402-12424
Number of pages23
Issue number9
Early online date10 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Shin Muramatsu (the leader of the project on Megacities and the Global Environment) and the other project members. This research has also been supported by the Future Earth program in the Future Earth program in the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).


  • indicator
  • stakeholder
  • megacity
  • co-design
  • co-production
  • bottom-up
  • anthropogenic impact
  • environmental threshold
  • rural appraisal PRA
  • Information visualization
  • environmental-management
  • urban sustainability
  • indicators
  • knowledge
  • globalization
  • regions
  • models
  • cities


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