There have been numerous manuals, handbooks and guides to indicators in recent times. So why produce another one?

We think that the role of this handbook is different. While it contains elements of how to’ do local indicators, its main focus is on taking stock and reflecting on the two years of indicators effort undertaken by the LITMUS project (local indicators to monitor urban sustainability). This reflection is timely as indicators are becoming an increasingly important and widely used tool in managing sustainability/​quality of life.

The danger is that indicators are collected because this is the done thing’. What nef and LITMUS have worked for are indicators for action’ – tools that help us to modify action to make communities more sustainable.