The Urban Profi le Process is intended as a way of developing an interpretative description of the sustainability of an urban region and its immediate hinterland. There are many such tools for measuring sustainability, but most of those tools either depend on developing hugely expensive banks of statistics or on turning to one-off, narrow and limited surveys. As cities become larger and more complex places, located in a world slipping into unsustainability, the complexity of measurement has redoubled. Measurement needs to be equally attuned to things as different as carbon emissions and the spirit of place. The lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘The Future’ point to this complexity with a particular poignancy: we have crossed a threshold; the order of the soul has been overturned.