Since Urbal is a participatory impact pathway mapping approach, it does not include the development of indicators. But, if you want to go further by adding on or optimizing existing indicators for your innovation assessment, Urbal results can prove very useful.
Research institutes, cities, regions, national governments, international organisations, and global partnerships of experts have designed aspirational guidelines and toolkits for the transition toward sustainable food systems, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Monitoring Framework (MUFPP), the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems (SAFA) or the City Region Food System (CRFS) indicator framework.
These frameworks are not always easily transferable to the reality of urban-driven food system innovations. Reasons may be discrepancy of objectives and needs, inappropriate scale, and inaccessible and/or expensive data.
The Urbal method can be used as a preliminary step to choose, develop and use indicators. From the impact pathway map that highlights complex and multidimensional -elements that enable or impede sustainability and that account for the priorities of people connected to the innovation, Urbal can help frame the choice of indicators. Your impact pathway maps also contextualize innovation action with respect to local and/or global food system sustainability recommendations.Using Urbal results can help you prepare or improve your innovation indicators by:
- Developing a multidimensional and inclusive assessment.
- Identifying pertinent qualitative and quantitative indicators to report results of activities based on the innovation’s means, context and vision.
- Identifying missed parameters in the evaluation.
- Embedding indicators in the narrative process of the innovation, by matching them to a specific stage of the innovation changes and impacts pathway.
- Better targeting indicator contributions to one or more reference frameworks for sustainability assessment, whether on a local or international scale.
In addition, participation in Step 2 and 3 enhances participants’ knowledge about the innovation and its context, and can improve their ability to engage in a collective process to identify indicators. See Chapter 11 of the Evaluating Sustainable Food Systems Innovations: A Global Toolkit for Cities.