"The increasing complexity of problems in towns and municipalities demands for a comprehensive assessment. Local politicians and administration staff therefore need integrated reporting systems which overcome the boundaries of departments and competences. Only the use of meaningful sets of indicators allows to assess the attainment of political objectives continuously, to recognise adverse effects in time, and to adjust measures to changing conditions. Existing communal information systems, as for example in the area of environmental and social reporting, rarely meet the criteria of integrating departments or themes. Rather, communal reporting normally is split with respect to both content and organisation. Administration spanning access as well as integrated data analysis is hampered by this. But even if an integration of data is feasible in a technical way, the absence of an integrative conceptual background works as a barrier to the derivation of consistent sets of measures. Despite often being criticised as too vague, too global and too arbitrary, the model of sustainable development offers such a background. Building on the idea of both intra- and inter-generational equity and covering - at least - ecological, economic and social aspects, the model provides an adequate framework for the proposed combination of communal reporting systems. Compared to linking information systems in a mere technical way, aligning with the model of sustainable development allows for an integrated perspective on communal problems. In addition, the normative content of the concept provides standards for evaluation. But for all of this, an adequate operationalization of the model with regard to the communal level is crucial. Currently, an integrated reporting system for sustainable development is designed, assembled and tried out in close collaboration with the municipalities of Halle (Saale) and Leipzig. The objective is to establish an intranet-based, geo-referenced information system that builds upon existing reporting systems and can be utilized in a department spanning and user-friendly way. The project is based on an integrative conceptualization of sustainable development that was developed by scientists of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres (Coenen & Grunwald, 2003; Kopfmüller et al., 2001). The Helmholtz concept starts from three constitutive elements of sustainable development: Equity (within and between generations), global orientation, and the central role of man (anthropocentricity). From these elements, three general goals are derived in a systematic way, followed by 25 so-called rules of sustainability. Representing minimum requirements of sustainable development, this set of rules forms the core of the concept. Beyond the relatively differentiated "spelling" of sustainable development, the Helmholtz concept is of interest for a second reason. Originally developed with respect to the national level, it aims, among others, at the identification of indicators. To do so, the rules are linked to core problems of sustainability that have been extracted in an inductive way, e.g. by analysing studies and strategies referring to sustainable development. The combination of the normative, rule-oriented approach with the inductive approach results in a system of indicators that addresses real problems, thus adapting the rules to the national context. In order to contextualize the model at the communal level the same procedure can also be executed here. Hence, in a first step department spanning working groups of both municipalities determined core problems which their cities are facing. As a result, among others, high unemployment, demographic change, vacancy of housing space and the dramatic financial situation were seen as especially serious problems. In a second step the reference to the Helmholtz concept was established by assigning the problems issued to corresponding rules of sustainability. Thus, links could be established between the abstract, global model of sustainable development and the real, concrete problems on the spot. Connecting rules of sustainability and communal problems resulted in a series of so-called rule-problem-sets, for which indicators were identified and filled with data systematically. To increase the explanatory power of the reporting system, spatial differentiation at the level of municipal districts was introduced whenever possible, resulting in a cartographic presentation of the data. To make the information system easily available to a broad circle of actors, it is realised as an intranet-based Geographical Information System (Web-GIS). Thus, department spanning access on essential data regarding communal sustainability should be afforded. If, however, the conclusions of the analyses enabled will find their way into communal politics, is part of another story."