Three new indicators were added and "City Density" was refined. Seasonal biological activity has been moved to the next edition. Data from cities now takes precedence over other data sources. Economic and Cultural/Social indicators were separated. A roadmap blog detailing our indicator roll-out will be posted shortly. Due to the loss of the long form Census by Statistics Canada data sources are prioritized as follows: Municipal, Provincial, Federal.
Updates In This Edition
Five new indicators were added and one was revised.
- Population Density was revised to include greenspaces in the calculation
- Cultural Activity is now active
- Economic Activity is now active
- Parkland Area was added
- Park Count was added
- Wilderness Reserve Area withheld due to less than 50% of city data collected
Large Size Cities
89 Québec City
Mid Size Cities
101 Richmond Hill
73 Greater Sudbury
Small Size Cities
98 Saint John
87 St. John's
68 St. Catharines
62 Thunder Bay
In this edition new indicators, indicator refinements and data updates were included. Where possible links to data sources are in downloadable spreadsheets.
- 22 indicators were published
- 1050 data points were scored
- 95.3% of all data was collected
- 439 data points were updated since last release
- 513 source date web links were published
- 50 detailed spreadsheets with score data and sources, one for each city
- 42 missing data points were floor scored and 0 ceiling scores were given max score
Public Access to detailed city webpages with download links, graphs etc.. are now available.
Portal Access with a dashboard and R&D forums for each city have been added. Participating Municipalities, Universities, Government agencies, NGOs and our researchers have access to it.
- Most indicators are statistically normalized. This is done to produces values between zero and one which are ideal for indicator data points. All maximum and minimums are derived from data inside each cities "City Size Category". Scoring comparisons are done between cities of the same sizes.
- Floor Scores are used for missing data points. They are the lowest score in the city size.
- Ceiling Scores are used for cities whose indicator score results are extreme and unusual. They are always extremely large. They are not used to calculate the maximum because their results dwarf all others. There is always something unusual going on that warrants further study.
- Missing data points are replaced with a provincial default if they exists. If no provincial statistic exists then the data point is floor scored.
- No indicator weightings are used currently. This was done to help establish clear baselines for each city. In the next edition indicator weighting will likely be applied to reflect the impact on nature each indicator has.
City Size Categories: Our research shows that smaller cities have smaller eco-footprints. It is an inescapable fact! Larger cities have features like mass transit systems that are not viable in smaller cities so classifying cities by size makes sense and is fair to all cities
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.
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. There are a few exceptions to this footprint rule and Halifax is one. It has extensive wilderness reserves within its boundaries and that skews both Municipal Area and Population Density indicators. For this reason we gave Halifax a ceiling score of 1 for both indicators.
Population Density: Refined
Now Greenspace area is 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.
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 numbers score 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 for the next 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 score higher.
Air Advisory Days: Under Review
This is a normalized count of the number of air advisories in a given year. Lower is better. We are looking at replacing it with the Air Quality Health Index because it is more reflective of biological harm caused by air pollution.
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 the federal government and we will 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
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 flying insects and birds. 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
(Reviesed) Population Density
Travel to Work by
Workforce Commuting Outside City
(Now Active) Culture Activity
(Now Active) Economic Activity
Air Advisory Days
Summer Temperature Extremes
Winter Temperature Extremes
Domestic Water Usage
Renewable Electrical Capacity
Green Initiatives On Website
(New) Parkland Area
(New) Number of Parks
(Not Released) Wilderness Reserve Area
Determines normalization maximums and minimums
Score = 1 - Normalized Population
Score = 1 - Normalized Area
Score = Normalized (Population / (Municipal Area - Greenspace Area) )
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 = 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