The Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group is developing the Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index – a research effort to provide the data that urban residents, city managers, and policymakers need to understand their cities’ performance on critical urban environmental issues. Incorporating novel geospatial datasets, including remotely-sensed data and open-source datasets (such as OpenStreetMap), the Index will spatially map environmental performance within approximately 30 pilot cities, and reveal how these issues interact with equity and social inclusion.

The framework focuses on quantifying progress on Sustainable Development Goal 11, which aims to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It will help address questions regarding the spatial and socio-economic distribution of air pollution, urban heat island effects, loss of urban tree cover and public transportation, amongst other environmental measures. This research aims to demonstrate the potential for innovative datasets to provide near real-time assessment of environmental performance in a replicable and scalable manner. Furthermore, the Index will highlight knowledge gaps and identify research priorities that could help cities build an evidence-based approach to enhance the equity of urban environmental performance.