New data dashboard offers Houstonians tool to measure city progress
OCTOBER 29, 2019, HOUSTON—A new website allows residents of Houston to quickly visualize progress across the city and in their neighborhoods on factors such as income inequality, graduation rates, access to transit, proximity of waste sites and more.
Houston Sustainability Indicators gathers data from multiple statistical sources on a comprehensive range of issues to answer: “Is Houston becoming a more sustainable city?”
The data dashboard is a collaboration between Rice University, Houston Sustainability Indicators Program (Rice-HSi) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a global sustainability think tank. The site charts and maps key data points in 17 categories that together represent community well-being and align with the International Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.
A growing number of American cities—including New York City, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore—are using the SDGs as a framework to measure progress, says Stefan Jungcurt, IISD Lead for SDG Indicators and Data. That shift prompted his team to develop an easy-to-replicate platform that turns local data into powerful, interactive visualizations.
“North American cities are looking for more affordable, modern ways to monitor local development and engage citizens,” says Jungcurt. “In our head office city of Winnipeg, the civil service is redesigning their main municipal planning document to include SDG indicators after viewing a similar dashboard, while poverty reduction groups are using the data to refine their priorities. I’m excited to see how this tool helps Houston’s leaders advocate for data-driven policy.”
Dr. David Abraham, Research Director for the Rice-HSi team and Treasurer for the Community Indicators Consortium (CIC) coalition says, “The City of Houston will celebrate its 200-year birthday in 2036. That is just six years after the 2030 mark that countries all over the world have set for achieving the SDG targets. Through our work, Houston will join countries and cities across the world in tracking sustainability progress and improving quality of life for its people.”
“Every year until 2030, our team will report on Houston’s progress towards the 2030 SDG targets,” says Abraham. “We’ll also be reaching out nationally to support other cities in tracking their SDG Targets.”
Houston Sustainability Indicators: us-houston.tracking-progress.org
For interviews or a media walkthrough of Houston Sustainability Indicators, contact:
Matthew TenBruggencate, Communications Officer, IISD, [email protected] or 1-204-297-9779
David Abraham, Research Director, Rice-HSi, [email protected] or 713-348-1000
The Houston Sustainability Indicators (HSI) program is a long-range effort to assist with the measurement and characterization of community sustainability and urban sustainability in Houston. Metrics for the chosen indicators were defined and are measured based on literature review; expert and advisory consultation; and data availability. The Houston Sustainability Indicators Program was funded by the Shell Center for Sustainability from 2010 - 2017. The Rice University, Sustainability Solutions Lab (Rice-SSL) group, currently manages the program.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 120 people, plus over 150 associates and consultants, come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.
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