SDG-based sustainability assessment methodology for innovations in the field of urban surfaces
The sustainability of urban surfaces can be enhanced by introducing innovations. An ex-ante assessment of the potential sustainability impacts of innovations in urban areas can provide decision-makers with valuable recommendations for their selection before implementation. This knowledge helps to make the innovation more future-proof. Although a first methodological approach for such an assessment is available, there is no readily applicable set of indicators. Hence, this article proposes a holistic sustainability impact assessment method tailored to the management of urban surfaces and their innovations. For the development of the method, a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-based, top-down approach is adopted. The proposed assessment method makes it possible to identify an innovation's potential contribution to the achievement of the SDGs before its introduction. In this article, the assessment method is tested by evaluating the sustainability impacts of weed-suppressing joint filling sand on a walkway in a municipal cemetery in Southern Germany. The case study shows that a mixed impact of the innovation in the three dimensions of sustainability could be expected within the system boundary. It highlights the need for innovation optimization, mainly in the economic dimension. As a result, the introduced method can support the innovation process of urban surfaces for sustainable municipal development.