/* */

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the UESI?

The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index (UESI) leverages large-scale datasets with detailed resolution to provide an unprecedented view of how cities around the world are — or are not — meeting global goals for sustainable and inclusive urban growth.

It includes over 160 cities, with plans to expand to more, and assesses neighborhood-level access to environmental benefits – like public transit and green space – and environmental burdens, such as air pollution and urban heat island, along with a city-wide water stress indicator. In addition to these environmental indicators, the UESI includes neighborhood-level data on population and income. Combined, these indicators help provide a sense of the environmental quality of life urban residents experience, according to where they live, work, or play.

What is the difference between the UESI and the pilot UESI?

The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index was first piloted with 32 cities, featured in a 2018 report, which can be downloaded as a PDF. In addition to the air pollution, public transit, urban heat, tree cover, and water stress indicators, the pilot UESI also included two citywide indicators, tracking climate mitigation and adaptation policy and water resources management. These data are available online for cities that were included in the pilot analysis. We also provide an analysis of the UESI pilot cities (Results for Pilot Cities), which compares how these primarily global cities perform on the UESI indicators.

Categories of environmental issues and indicators assessed in the 2018 pilot version of the Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index (UESI).

What is the UESI portal and how can I use it?

The UESI map portal visualizes and compares the UESI results at the neighborhood level. To get started using the portal, click on the help button on its top left-hand corner.

The first step to using the portal is selecting a city to explore. Once you’ve chosen a city, you can explore its neighborhoods. Zoom in on and hover over a neighborhood to reveal its socioeconomic or environmental data.

You can also try out different base maps – for example, the satellite view can make large areas of tree cover or green space more visible. Viewing the raw data that informs city and neighborhood performance can also be helpful. For instance, viewing the raw data informing the access public transit indicator reveals which portions of neighborhoods may not be fully covered by or connected to transit systems.

How is the UESI different from other urban indices?

Many existing indices provide a detailed overview of a specific city, region, or indicator, or compare cities at a scale that aggregates the performance of the entire urban area. The UESI provides a novel, spatially-explicit tool that uses globally comparable datasets at a neighborhood scale, to make it possible to explore how city residents’ lived experiences may vary widely within the same city.

Why isn’t my city included in the UESI?

The UESI includes more than 160 global cities, across a range of development contexts and geographies. It spans cities from developed, emerging and developing economies, and from geographies all around the world.

 

The main limiting factor in including cities in the UESI is access to data – particularly to neighborhood-level socioeconomic and income data, and spatial data demarcating the administrative boundaries that define a city and its neighborhoods. We hope to expand the list of UESI cities, to continue building our representation of small and medium-sized urban areas, and to deepen the representation of cities from many different geographic contexts (see the “How can my city participate?” question on this FAQ page for more details on how to work with the UESI to add your city to its roster).

How can my city participate in the UESI?

We are constantly looking to add additional cities to the Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index. Do you work in city government, or have access to data for your city? Get in touch with our team through this online form.

Can I access the UESI’s data?

All of the data informing the UESI is available through the online website. You can download data by neighborhood and city in an Excel spreadsheet from our Downloads page. Please contact our team through this online form if you have specific questions about accessing a dataset. 

Can I use the UESI’s materials and graphics in my presentation, class, or paper?

The UESI’s materials are available under a Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Creative Commons License

The suggested citation for any use of the 2018 UESI report on pilot cities is: Hsu, A., N. Alexandre, J. Brandt, T. Chakraborty, S. Comess, A. Feierman, T. Huang, S. Janaskie, D. Manya, M. Moroney, N. Moyo, R. Rauber, G. Sherriff, R. Thomas, J. Tong, Y. Xie, A. Weinfurter, Z. Yeo (in alpha order), et al, (2018). The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index. New Haven, CT: Yale University. Available: datadrivenyale.edu/urban.

The suggested citation for any materials from the UESI website is: Data-Driven EnviroLab. (2020). The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index. Singapore: Yale-NUS College. Available: datadrivenlab.org/urban.

Why aren’t race, gender, and other types of demographic data used to understand how equitably environmental benefits and burdens are distributed within cities?

Socioeconomic status is not the only determinant of vulnerability. Many other variables, such as education levels, minority/ethnicity statuses, or age compositions, can highlight cumulative social vulnerabilities and intersectionalities. However, data on these variables at the desired neighborhood scale is only available and complete for a few cities. Additionally, systems of advantage, disadvantage and oppression often manifest differently depending on the context. Race, for instance, plays a powerful role in environmental equity in U.S. contexts, but may be less salient one in other countries. Balancing data quality, availability and coverage, the UESI focuses primarily on understanding how urban residents with varying income levels may be affected by environmental conditions. However, it is important to note that relying solely on income as a way of understanding equity may miss several aspects of people’s lived experiences and thus risk developing incomplete policy solutions.

The Equity and Social Inclusion Issue Profile, and particularly Box 2, Bringing an intersectional analysis to the UESI, include a more detailed discussion of the UESI’s approach to assessing equity.

Can you tell me more about the Data-Driven EnviroLab (Data-Driven Lab)?

The Data-Driven EnviroLab (Data-Driven Lab) is an interdisciplinary and international group of researchers, scientists, programmers, and visual designers based at Yale-NUS College, Singapore and beyond. The Data-Driven Lab uses innovative data analytics to distill signals from large-scale and unconventional datasets and develop policy solutions to contemporary environmental problems. Working with scholars and policymakers across the globe, the Data-Driven Lab strives to strengthen environmental policy at all levels.  We promote evidence-based approaches to problem solving while boosting information disclosure and transparency among public institutions, private companies, civic organizations and individual citizens.

How should I cite the UESI?

The suggested citation for any use of the 2018 UESI report is: Hsu, A., N. Alexandre, J. Brandt, T. Chakraborty, S. Comess, A. Feierman, T. Huang, S. Janaskie, D. Manya, M. Moroney, N. Moyo, R. Rauber, G. Sherriff, R. Thomas, J. Tong, Y. Xie, A. Weinfurter, Z. Yeo (in alpha order), et al. (2018). The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index. New Haven, CT: Yale University. Available: datadrivenlab.org/urban.

The suggested citation for any materials from the UESI website is: Data-Driven EnviroLab. (2020). The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index. Singapore: Yale-NUS College. Available: datadrivenlab.org/urban.

css.php