Identifying the methodological characteristics of European green city rankings

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Abstract

City rankings that aim to measure the environmental sustainability of European cities may contribute to the evaluation and development of environmental policy of European cities. The objective of this study is to identify and evaluate the methodological characteristics of these city rankings. First, a methodology was developed to systematically identify methodological characteristics of city rankings within different steps of the ranking development process. Second, six city rankings European Energy Award, European Green Capital Award, European Green City Index, European Soot-free City Ranking, RES Champions League, Urban Ecosystem Europe were examined. Official websites and any methodological documents found on those websites were content analyzed using the developed methodology. Interviews with representatives of the city rankings were conducted to acquire any additional information. Results showed that the city rankings varied greatly with respect to their methodological characteristics and that all city rankings had methodological weaknesses. Developers of city rankings are advised to use the methodology developed in this study to find methodological weaknesses and improve their ranking. In addition, developers ought to be more transparent about the methodological characteristics of their city rankings. End-users of city rankings are advised to use the developed methodology to identify and evaluate the methodological characteristics of city rankings before deciding to act on ranking results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-142
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • quality-of-life
  • environmental sustainability
  • composite indicators
  • urban areas
  • construction
  • pitfalls
  • indexes

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