For example, in the previous edition (March 2016), we added greenspaces and used them to refine other indicators; the current edition introduces an air pollution and a bio-capacity indicator. For the next GreenScore City Index edition, we plan to gather and collate data that will start measuring the pressure cities exert upon their surrounding ecosystems.
Demographics from the Long Form Census servey by Statistics Canada is scheduled to be released in February 2017 and we will try to include this data in the spring edition.
Updates In This Edition
Three new indicators were added and one was revised
- Air Advisory Days changed to Air Pollution Emissions
- Biological Temperate Zone was added to kick start measuring bio-capacity
- Population Growth Pressure was added as a precursor to growth studies
- Data Completeness was added to measure city data releases
Large Size Cities
124.1 Québec City
Mid Size Cities
129.5 Richmond Hill
110.0 Greater Sudbury
Small Size Cities
119.0 Saint John
98.2 St. John's
91.3 St. Catharines
88.5 Thunder Bay
In this edition new indicators, indicator refinements and data updates were included. Where possible links to data sources are inside downloadable spreadsheets.
- 24 indicators published
- 1050 data points were scored
- 92.6% of all data was collected
- 326 data points were updated since the last release
- 680 source data web links were published
- 50 detailed spreadsheets with score details and data sources, one for each city
- 78 data points were floor scored and 7 ceiling scores were awarded max score
- Most indicators are statistically normalized. Normalized data produces values between zero and one which are ideal for indicator data points. Cities are split into "City Size Categories" which allows for scoring comparisons between cities of the same sizes.
- Floor Scores are used for missing data points. They default to the lowest score in the city size.
- Ceiling Scores are used when a city data point is extremely large and if it was used as the maximum the result would would dwarf all other city scores. Ceilings are caused by unusual circumstances that warrants further study. Ceiling scores are awarded the highest score of 1 for normalized indicators or the City Size Category max score.
- Missing data points are replaced with a provincial default where possible. If no provincial statistic exists then the data point is floor scored.
- No indicator weightings are used. This was done to help establish clear baselines for each city. In future editions indicator weighting will be applied to reflect the impact each indicator has on the cities surrounding ecosystems.
City Size Categories: Our research shows that smaller cities have smaller eco-footprints which is an inescapable fact due to scale! Larger cities have mass transit infrastructure which is not viable in smaller cities, so classifying cities by size makes comparative analysis possible and fair to all.
Population Impact: Smaller populations have smaller footprints. They demand less space for residential, commercial, industrial, recreation and other uses; all of which make footprints smaller.
Population Growth Pressure: New
The percentage of population growth. Smaller population growth requires less space to grow into which means smaller footprint growth.
Municipal Area: Measured in square km. Larger municipal boundaries create larger city footprints. Annexation and amalgamation are how cities grow in size and this is always done for economic reasons. The exceptions to this footprint rule are Halifax and Saguenay. They have extensive wilderness reserves within their boundaries and that skews both Municipal Area and Population Density indicators. For this reason we gave them ceiling scores of 1 for both indicators.
Greenspace areas are subtracted from city area for a more realistic density calculation. Higher population densities mean less space is used for more human activity. It is a measurement of footprint efficiency thus making higher density scores more desirable. It is also an indirect measure of urban sprawl which has become the largest cause of greenspace loss inside city limits. Higher is better.
Travel To Work By: Measurement of a population's uptake of public transit, cycling and walking as a form of commuting. It is a percentile measurement where higher percentile scores are better. For this edition there are no transportation footprint weighting factors used.
- Personal Automobile weighting factor is ZERO (excluded currently)
- Public Transit weighting factor is 1 (Buses, Trains, Infrastructure Footprints)
- Cycling weighting factor is 1 (Bike Paths, Parking, Manufacturing Infrastructure Footprints)
- Walking weighting factor is 1 (No infrastructure required)
Driving Distance: This indicator scores the median driving distance in kilometers for automobile commuters travelling. Lower is better.
Culture Activity: Measures proximity to Libraries and Museums etc.. This is only used to help establish community activity and cohesiveness. Closer is better.
Economic Activity: Under Review
Measures GDP and GDP Growth. Currently higher is better but this is indicator is far to simplistic and will likely be removed in a future edition.
Workforce Commuting Outside City: Measures the percentage of the workforce traveling outside the city for employment. This causes heavy traffic and poor air quality. Lower percentages are better.
Air Pollution Emissions: Revised
It is a measure of Total Particulate Matter (TPM) The substances measured are: Particulate Matter 10 Microns or less, Particulate Matter 2.5 Microns or less, Sulfur Oxides, Nitrogen Oxides, Volatile Organic Compounds and Carbon Monoxide. Lower is better.
Hot and cold weather extremes place peak demands on the city utilities for heating and air conditioning; these extremes are also cause environmental stress on ecosystems. Summer maximum temperature averages and winter minimum averages are used in this calculation. Milder is better.
Renewable Electrical Capacity: This is a pure percentage calculation. For the baseline we are using the Provincial capacity statistics. In this release we started using individual city data. Higher is better.
GHG Emissions: For most of the cities we used provincial per capita calculations. Cities are now expected to report Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to provincial and/or federal governments and we use that data as it becomes available. Lower is better.
Garbage Tonnage: Total tonnage before recycling redirect percentage. Lower is better
Redirect Percentage: Tonnage of recycling redirected away from landfills. Higher is better
Compost Tonnage: Not Released
Total tonnage collected from all sources. Higher is better
Domestic Water Usage: Lower is better.
Housing Demographics: This indicator scores residential housing footprints. Until cities start publishing their real housing statistics we are stuck using a Municipal Census data proxy. The footprint of a high rise apartment building is much lower per person than a single detached house. We use a weighting factor to approximate the footprints.
- Single Detached Percentile with footprint weighting factor 10
- Apartments 5 Story+ Percentile with footprint weighting factor 1
- All Other Structures Percentile with footprint weighting factor 4
Green Initiatives On Website: We do not score content, only the presence of basic ecological initiatives. We maintain links to every municipal website. Simply click on the city banner on any cities detail page to see what other cities are doing.
Parkland Area: Parkland connects us to nature and helps build ecological empathy. They are also habitats for nature so the more park space a city has the greener it is. Higher area is better.
Number of Parks: More parks mean greater residential accessibility. The closer the proximity to parks, the more likely we are to walk to it and experience nature. Also, they become wildlife corridors for insects, birds, etc.. Higher is better.
Wilderness Reserve Area: Not Released
This is what nature is all about! Ecological empathy is cultivated when we regularly visit nature reserves and observe the wildlife and fauna. Higher is better.
Biological Temperate Zone: New
It uses the Plant Hardiness Index of each city. The higher the number the more biologically friendly the year round climate is. Higher is better
Data Completeness: New
This is the number of indicators that we have data points for, minus the number of ceiling indicators we have populated for each
(New) Population Growth Pressure
Travel to Work by
Workforce Commuting Outside City
(Under Review) Economic Activity
(Revised) Air Pollution Emissions
Summer Temperature Extremes
Winter Temperature Extremes
(Not Released) ComposteTonnage
Domestic Water Usage
Renewable Electrical Capacity
Green Initiatives On Website
Number of Parks
(Not Released) Wilderness Reserve Area
(New) Biological Temperate Zone
(New) Data Completeness
Determines grouping for normalization max / min calculations
Score = 1 - Normalized Population
Score = 1 - Normalized Area
Score = Normalized (Population / (Municipal Area - Greenspace Area)
Score = Normalized percentage growth, if < 0 use 0
Score = Sum of Normalized(Percentages x Weighting Factor)
Score = 1 - Normalized Median Driving Distance
Score = Normalized(Population x (100 - Percentage) )
Score = Sum of Normalized( counts of (Library,Museum, etc..) )
Score = Sum of Normalized(GDP,GDP Growth, etc..)
Score = 1 - Normalized Advisory Days
Score = 1 - | Normalized (Summer Max Average) |
Score = | Normalized (Winter Min Average) |
Score = 1 - Normalized Garbage Tonnage
Score = Normalized Percentage of Garbage Recycled
Score = Normalized Curbside Composte Tonnage
Score = 1 - Normalized Water Usage
Score = Renewable Capacity / Total Capacity
Score = 1 - Normalized City GHG
Score = 1 - Normalized sum of (Structure Percentile x Weighting)
Score = 1 for a clear landing page, Otherwise score = 0
Score = Normalized Sum of Parkland Area
Score = Normalized Park Count
Score = Normalized Sum of Wilderness Area
Score = (Plant Hardiness Index) / 100
Score = Indicator Count - Missing Data Points