SDG Data Tools Supporting Action in the California Bay Area

Written by TReNDS Staff

A screenshot of the Bay Area SDGs dashboard.

A screenshot of the Bay Area SDGs dashboard.


Data is integral to target-setting and tracking SDG achievement over time. While much attention has been given to national-level measurement and reporting systems, such as the U.S. National Reporting Platform (NRP), less has been done to determine how these types of activities might function at the city level. For the past year, Stanford University’s Sustainable Urban Systems Initiative (SUS) within the School of Engineering has been working with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a variety of local stakeholders in the California Bay Area, including the City of San José, and the City and County of San Francisco, to develop a local reporting platform, a data dashboard, and a marketplace of decision-making tools that could support and inform SDG achievement efforts. These solutions combine the best of top-down structure with bottom-up innovation to turn raw data into intelligence that is actionable for counties, cities, businesses, and communities.

The Stanford team has developed a brief entitled Data Tools for the California Bay Area: Actionable Intelligence for Cities to Support SDG Achievement as part of SDSN TReNDS’Subnational SDG Strategies briefing series and the SDG Local Data Action Solution Initiative. The brief outlines the team’s preliminary progress in developing indicators for the local reporting platform, temporal and spatial scale comparisons for the data dashboard, and Esri Story Maps for local community groups as part of the marketplace of decision-making tools. The brief also lists strengths, weaknesses, and lessons from Stanford’s process, as well as guidance for data managers, planners, and community stakeholders from other cities to replicate these tools.

SUS is looking forward to the following next steps:

The SUS brief can be reviewed here. More information about city-university collaboration through SDSN’s USA Sustainable Cities Initiative can be found here

Originally published at on September 20, 2017.