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Multi-criteria decision-making for sustainable metropolitan cities assessment

Carli, Raffaele, Dotoli, Mariagrazia, Pellegrino, Roberta
Journal of environmental management 2018 v.226 pp. 46-61
Mola, case studies, cities, energy, infrastructure, local government, metropolitan areas, multi-criteria decision making, sustainable development, Italy
The recent development of metropolitan cities, especially in Europe, requires an effective integrated management of city services, infrastructure, and communication networks at a metropolitan level. A preliminary step towards a proper organizational and management strategy of the metropolitan city is the analysis, benchmarking and optimization of the metropolitan areas through a set of indicators coherent with the overall sustainability objective of the metropolitan city. This paper proposes the use of the Analytic Hierarchy Process multi-criteria decision making technique for application in the smart metropolitan city context, with the aim of analysing the sustainable development of energy, water and environmental systems, through a set of objective performance indicators. Specifically, the 35 indicators defined for the Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems Index framework are used. The application of the approach to the real case study of four metropolitan areas (Bari, Bitonto, Mola, and Molfetta) in the city of Bari (Italy) shows its usefulness for the local government in benchmarking metropolitan areas and providing decision indications on how to formulate the sustainable development strategy of the metropolitan city. Based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process characteristics, the results highlight that although one specific area (Mola in the considered case) is globally ranked at the first place, it is only ranked first with respect to some dimensions. Such a result has strong implications for the metropolitan city's manager who has the possibility to identify and implement targeted actions, which may be designed ad hoc to improve specific dimensions based on the current state of the city, thus maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the actions undertaken for the sustainable development of energy, water and environmental systems of the whole metropolitan city.