Jul 5, 2011

Siemens Green City Index: Lessons for Philadelphia

US and Canada Index
Siemens put together a comprehensive report entitled Green City Index which studies different cities' environmental sustainability in different regions of the word. Philadelphia was included in the US and Canada Region.
The US and Canada Green City Index, a research project conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Sponsored by Siemens, seeks to measure and compare the environmental performance of 27 major U.S. and Canadian cities across nine categories. Cities play a fundamental role in national life: 82% of Americans and 81% of Canadians are urban dwellers - and the trend is increasing. The ongoing urbanization poses tough challenges for infrastructure and environment.  
Goal of the Index is to allow a comparison of cities against their peers and thus to provide insights for city stakeholder groups, such as authorities, policymakers, and citizens into their city's strengths and weaknesses.
From the Philadelphia City Portrait (PDF):
Philadelphia ranks 13th overall in the Index. Its best rankings are in the categories of environmental governance, where it places fifth, and air quality, at sixth. These results are driven by the city’s much lauded green action plan, strong public participation in environmental management, and low overall air pollution levels. Additionally, while it places seventh in land use, Philadelphia is first among middle-income cities in the land use category, a score driven by strong policies that are likely to positively influence the city’s overall environmental performance in the coming years. Philadelphia’s weakest ranking is in the water category, at 23rd, largely because it has one of the highest leakage rates in the Index.

Looking at the North American Report, Exemplary projects are identified for each of the nine category findings. Not surpisingly, San Fransisco has exemplary projects identified (Energy and CO2: A comprehensive approach to renewables; Waste: Recycling Laws). Philadlphia's strongest project, "Greenworks Philadelphia" only lands us near the top (5) for governance.

Looking globally, the European Report is also avalable and highlights even more aggressive strategies being implemented. Copenhagen takes top spot in the European analysis, where our MS Sustainable Design program offers a choice of two summer courses at DIS.

Please take some time to download and review these reports.

Siemens Green City Index
City Portrait Philadelphia (PDF)
North America Report (PDF)
European Report (PDF)

Update 07/06/11 - Grist published thier own take on the report here.

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