This paper evaluates the use of indicators as a means of measuring the performance of regeneration against sustainability criteria. The merits of sustainability indicators are explored with a discussion of the indicator selection process and the derivation of a points scoring framework. The extent to which the sustainability performance of regeneration projects can be evaluated and subsequently benchmarked is examined. Conclusions are drawn on the robustness of the indicators selected, the versatility of the points scoring framework in capturing the sustainability performance of regeneration projects and the potential to identify `best' practice. The application of the model and associated indicators is the subject of the subsequent paper in this journal issue.