The Tools of the City Prosperity Initiative

The Tools of the City Prosperity Initiative

1. The Circle of Prosperity

Perception surveys are an increasingly integral component of a business- and citizen-centered approach to performance and regulatory reform, as a mean to assist governments to produce better results in an open, participatory system. The Circle of Prosperity approach offers an integrated method to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the urban area, built upon a perception survey.

The Circle of Prosperity aims to assess how people understand and feel about the different dimensions of prosperity, providing qualitative feedback on the perceived city’s prosperity and sustainability. By responding to a qualitative survey, the Circle of Prosperity generates an assessment based on the perception of the sustainable development of the city and/or the urban region. This perception surveys provide an opportunity for local authorities to connect and interact with citizens and urban experts. Governments can receive systematic feedback on the level of prosperity of the city, promoting a more inclusive participation in decision-making and urban management process, valuing the fundamental role of stakeholders in the decision-making process.

The Circle of Prosperity analysis produces a comprehensive City Profile Briefing, intended as an interpretative description of the city. The analysis highlights differences and gaps in the different dimensions of prosperity in order to improve urban management. The City Profile Briefing will interpret the state of the city through experts’ opinion and recognize the analytical connections and crucial local differences of the city.

The Circle of Prosperity aims to be a preliminary tool to integrate and orient the in-depth quantitative analysis of the City Prosperity Index. Acknowledging the need for innovative methods of assessing the level of prosperity in cities, FIABCI is collaborating with the UN-Habitat in the creation of the Circle of Prosperity methodology.


2. The City Prosperity Index

City Prosperity Index is a composite index used to measure the overall achievements of a city according to the six dimensions of prosperity. The CPI Index measures how cities create and distribute socio-economic benefits and prosperity. The index is computed using city level data and can be applied at different scales. The CPI index produces information at city level, and when data allows, at neighborhood level. At the metropolitan scale the index can detect which municipalities or districts are more advanced in the prosperity path, building linkages between municipal governments and articulating responses that contemplate city regional development. At the national scale the index provides in-depth knowledge on a national sample of cities, representative of the country territory, geography, governance and history.

The City Prosperity Index is a flexible monitoring framework built according to an incremental approach in order to better respond to cities’ contextual needs, and to adapt creatively to their challenges and opportunities. The CPI index is constructed incrementally:

  • The Global City Ranking serves as a platform for global comparison, in which each city can assess its situation, and compare its rate and present performance with other cities worldwide.
  • The Basic Index uses a set of commonly available indicators that exist among all cities, acting as a platform for regional/national benchmarking and for comparison purposes.
  • The Extended Index provides the possibility to integrate contextual aspects of the city, including the possibility to understand and measure city comparative advantages which allows a detailed political and technical dialogue.

UN-Habitat has included an important innovation in the CPI index by integrating spatial indicators and analysis in the different dimensions of prosperity. According to UN-Habitat, adequate provisioning of streets and public spaces are associated with urban prosperity and better street-connectivity. In order to measure this fundamental dimension of the urban form, UN-Habitat has created a composite indicator made of three variables – land allocated to streets, street density and intersection density. The CPI index recognizes the need of geospatial data, adequate technology and management systems to complement high-quality official statistics. Spatially disaggregated data provides relevant information on local-level allocation of resources and the monitoring of equitable outcomes across and within cities and human settlements.


3. The Policy Evaluation Model

The strong integration and connection between the different dimensions and indicators of the CPI allows an a priori policy evaluation. In fact, after the analysis of trends and patterns conducted through the Circle of Prosperity and the City Prosperity Index methodology, it is possible to anticipate the impact of a positive improvement on a wider range of indicators and corresponding dimensions of the CPI.

The Policy Evaluation Model shows in a clear and comprehensive way the impacts and outcomes of different urban policies affecting several dimensions of the city prosperity. In particular, the Policy Evaluation Model intends to analyze how different urban policies generate impact paths affecting the CPI prosperity dimensions, which can be measured through the CPI indicators. The objective of the CPI Policy Evaluation Model is to assist the decision-makers, when selecting policies and interventions for implementing sustainable urbanization, providing a priori evaluation of the policies’ impacts in order to formulate comprehensive and ad-hoc Action Plans on the basis of the CPI diagnosis.

The interdependence among the CPI dimensions is assessed using quantitative methodologies like statistic regressions and spatial analysis, following an Urban Metabolism approach. This approach, starting from models developed to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of materials, energy and economic resources within cities, provides a methodological framework suited to study the interactions of natural, human and economic systems in specific geographical areas. Building on this methodology, the Policy Evaluation Model analyzes the key correlations among different urban indicators affected by specific urban policies.