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Information System for Sustainable Development for EU and UN-Habitat

Final Report Summary - SUSTAINFO (Information System for Sustainable Development for EU and UN-Habitat)

The high-level objective of SUSTA-INFO was to enable local authorities and experts to attain sustainable development by establishing a web based database, of which the usefulness and continuity is ensured. SUSTA-INFO's ambition was to make available information better accessible to practitioners and more specifically, to achieve the following key objectives:
- To provide an integrated platform through which all City of Tomorrow (FP5), FP6 projects and UN-Habitat projects can be searched and accessed and presented in a standard and comparable way.
- Make use of the state-of-the-art Collexis technology for data storage, information disclosure and internet communication, that at the same time guarantees access for all types of computer users.
- To be known by at least 6 000 target users after five years of existence. Target number of hits at the end of the project: 10 000.
- Sustainability of the new database is guaranteed, by ensuring a well-organised project with effective involvement of users in the development phase and an appropriate exploitation plan in the exploitation phase.

Under the supervision of the coordinator and a reference group of knowledge providers and knowledge users, the work was organised in three teams:
- Production of content: selection, abstraction, categorisation and validation of project on sustainable urban development from EU and UN-Habitat sources. The development of a multilingual thesaurus.
- System development: building of a website and adapting the Collexis search technology to the specific needs of the field of sustainable urban development. Technical integration with the EUKN website.
- Dissemination, exploitation and user feedback: communication to the user group, look and feel of the website, organisation of midterm conference and final conferences, organisation and evaluation of user feedback, elaboration of the exploitation plan and contact with future partners of SUSTA-INFO.

During the first year of the project the methodologies for the selection, abstraction, categorisation and validation of documents were developed. A first version of the website, the search engine and the thesaurus were produced and a first set of documents was included to be able to test the system with a group of users. The beta-version of the system was presented before and during the 'Sustainable cities and towns' conference in Seville, March 2007. During the sessions user feedback was gathered. The user feedback was used to make changes to the system, to update the exploitation plan and to expand the number of terms in the thesaurus. During the second year the mayor part of the abstraction, categorisation and validation of the content was done. Final versions of the system, the thesaurus and the thesaurus were produced. During the last months of the project contacts with EUKN/NICIS and UN-Habitat have lead to the process of preparing a Memorandum of Understanding between these two organisations about the continuation and further expansion of SUSTA-INFO after January 2008. The final version of the SUSTA-INFO knowledge base for sustainable urban development was presented during the COP meeting in Bali in December 2007 and during the European energy week in Brussels, January 2008.

The key objectives of the project have been met:
- The integrated platform of UN-Habitat and EU content has been realised at http://www.susta-info.net
- The Collexis technology has been applied in the field of sustainable urban development
- During the last month of the project the number of hits on the website were 12 608
- The work on the exploitation plan have resulted in the commitment of NICIS/EUKN and UN-Habitat to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the continuation and expansion of SUSTA-INFO after the lifetime of the FP6 project.

The consortium has produced three publishable results that could be of use separately but come to their full right when integrated into one system. This system is called the SUSTA-INFO website which at the end of the SUSTA-INFO projects contains over 800 documents related to urban research and case studies. Via the URL: http://www.susta-info.net professionals in sustainable urban development can access a selection of relevant results from EU and UN-Habitat research programmes and a validated set of UN-Habitat best practices.

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