The New School Measured New York City’s Levels of Sustainability and Prosperity

The New School Measured New York City’s Levels of Sustainability and Prosperity

New York City, New York- The New School used UN-Habitat's City Prosperity Initiative to measure New York City’s levels of sustainability and prosperity. 

Contrary to popular belief, New York City’s CPI- Basic Index score is more comparable to cities in developing countries. Access to healthcare, environmental investment efforts and the use of renewable energy sources vary greatly between various boroughs of the city, subsequently skewing the overall result and calling for focus from policymakers’ future actions.

Each variable of the Basic CPI Index is awarded a score between 0-100 and students calculated a result of 62 for the city, placing it in the “Moderately Solid” category. New York scored 61 in terms of Productivity Dimension and 57 for Equity and Social Inclusion, well below the expectations for such a hub of international finance and business. Moreover, a score of 34 within the Environmental Sustainability dimension, due mainly to high emission levels and a low use of renewable energy sources, further lowered the overall result.

The city scored highest under the Infrastructure and Development, 83, where an extremely low traffic fatality rate, use of public transport as well as length of the subway network showed outstanding results. Quality of Life scored at a high 82, driven by high life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling and low homicide rate. A solid performance was found for Governance & Legislation,70, displaying New York City’s high prosperity in Own Revenue and Days to Start a Business but was offset by a low Voter Turnout rate.

Students correspondingly calculated the Basic CPI for 5 boroughs of New York City: Brooklyn 57, Bronx 52, Queens 56, Manhattan 63, and Staten Island 56. The significant variation of dimensions found between boroughs was driven primarily by the difference in per capita annual income and the unemployment rate.

The New School’s report and suggestions identified five main areas of opportunity, and encourage the City of New York to measure the Extended City Prosperity Index in order to provide an improved measure of the city and both analyze and illuminate data gaps where there is no data collected in alignment with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

The City Prosperity Initiative is the United Nation’s platform for urban data, developed to formulate evidence based decision making and monitoring for cities. The basis of the Initiative is an Index created by UN-Habitat in 2012, developed as a response to the demand of local authorities in need of a tool which measures the prosperity and sustainability of cities.

You may view the entire report developed by students John DiGiacomo, Nina Hedevang, Maya Rosenbaum, and Hamza Amor under the coordination of Lena Simet with the support of UN-Habitat at