The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index

A project by Data-Driven Yale

A first-of-its-kind tool leverages high-resolution, large-scale data to reveal how cities perform on SDG-11 at the intersection of environment and social equity
Cities will shape the future of our planet. And, like never before, cities are where people confront environmental problems and tackle the challenges of sustainable development.

So, why don’t we know more about their performance? Does where you live affect the quality of the air you breathe? Does your income determine your environmental quality of life?

The Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index (UESI) empowers urban residents and policymakers by filling these data gaps. We have created a first-of-its-kind look at the ways cities perform on key environmental indicators, and mapped this at the neighborhood level.

The Index leverages high-resolution, large-scale and census data to reveal how more than 30 cities perform at the intersection of environment and social equity, at an unprecedented level of detail. It provides a novel way for cities to understand how residents living in the same city experience urban environments in vastly different ways, according to their location and income, helping decision-makers better target future policy interventions.

The UESI also represents a novel way to track progress towards several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in particular, SDG 11’s aim to foster “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” cities. By shedding light on the links between environmental performance and social inclusion, the Index enables stakeholders to foster inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities.

This report also provides a starting point and proof of concept for understanding how the application of large-scale and unconventional datasets – from satellite data to OpenStreetMap – can create a comprehensive, detailed, and timely metric of urban performance. Over time, the UESI aims to provide a flexible and adaptable framework and data source that cities can adapt to analyze and manage their environment.

About the Organization /Team

The UESI was developed by Data-Driven Yale, in partnership with the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness.

Data-Driven Yale addresses critical environmental challenges using cutting edge data analytics and other innovative methods. Launched in 2015, the research group is an interdisciplinary collaboration of policy experts, data scientists, visual designers, and interactive programmers at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale-NUS College, Singapore.

The Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness catalyzes innovative strategies to build connectedness within and between communities. Through interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral partnerships, the Centre conducts research, supports programming, convenes learning initiatives, and advocates for inclusive policy change.
Project CategoryVisualizer
Realated SDGs
3 Good Health & Well-Being 6 Clean Water & Sanitation 10 Reduced Inequalities 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities 13 Climate Action 15 Life on Land