SDG Cities Leadership Platform

SDG Cities Diagnostic & Management System

Today we find different City Rankings and Studies with the aim to compare cities in various domains (green city, liveable cities, etc.). Talking to city decision maker on how these studies will help them to improve their city will show a different pictures. We all know the top performing cities in various ranking such as Vienna, Singapore, Copenhagen. The Problem is, that the others cannot replicate best practice models of the top performing cities. Every city is unique, every city has its own baseline, its own infrastructure in place and also unique behavior pattern of its citizens. Eg while London is providing a Cable Car mainly for tourists, the same system is one of the most frequented transport system in Medellin commuting from east to west.

If we really want to help a city to find the most suitable solutions we have to look to its DNA, what exists, how it is used, what are their plan, what is possible, what not. Only taking a deep dive in the uniqueness of city will allow us to provide a realistic approach and real implementation plan.  

Additionally, there is growing anecdotal evidence from cities across the world that comprehensive, publicly accountable and integrated efforts to improve environmental performance go hand-in-hand with enhanced economic dynamism.

What is missing is a comprehensive approach to quantify some of those causal relationships. There is currently no perfect approach for measuring the sustainable development of cities due to the inherent complexity of the task.

SDG CITIES DIAGNOSTIC & MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CDMS) will provide a way forward by going beyond a simple data collection process. The inclusion of further KPI’s and further sustainability dimensions (cost efficiency and job creation) will make the change in the future by its member cities.

The SDG CDMS is an ambitious and laudable initiative, which aims to help city leaders and officials better understand the future effects of investments on sustainable development and quality of live outcomes.

The SDG Diagnostic and Management System is a dynamic simulation system which studies a series of actions, technologies, measures and policies from various domains at different time periods and implementation rates. It is designed to reduce the environmental impact of everyday activities and to improve the quality of life of citizens.

It covers 17 SDGs, each with various KPIs in order to define and monitor the performance and it also looks to economic growth such as Jobs, CAPEX/OPEX and business and finance models.

The SDG CDMS calculates the impacts of individual action items at different implementation levels. Eg for SDG 13 – Climate Action CDMS assesses how a technology would reduce demand, shift the mode (public transport instead of cars) or improve efficiency in order to find solutions in how to reduce the Co2 and Air Quality impact.

The model is based on life cycle assessment methodology and global databases of deep vertical process knowledge. New jobs that would be created are based on reference projects or economic studies in different regions.

Where can it be used?

This versatile leading-edge simulation approach can be used in many different decision-making scenarios during the SDG Cities engagement. It can determine the implementation rate needed for a SDG city to meet its future SDG targets. It can also measure the impacts of a city’s strategic plan, and compare traditional methods with state-of-the-art solutions for their benefits and value for money. SDG CDMS takes city leaders beyond best practice solutions. It works from a city’s individual baseline to identify actions and policies to match specific needs.

No need to follow the rest of the market: the SDG CDMS approach empowers city leaders to focus on appropriate solutions that will provide win-win solutions for unique urban challenges.

The dynamic SDG CDMS can illustrate to city decision makers, from the mayor to the most junior city staffer in the planning, transport, economic development or environmental policy departments, the impacts that their collective decisions could have on their city’s development and ability to improve economic growth without harming the quality of life of its citizens. SDG CDMS provides results relative to the amount invested, and it can enable city managers to priorities projects based upon their likely impacts. It can offer city managers a roadmap towards meeting 17 SDG targets.

Why a management tool for cities?

The impact-driven approach delivers real numbers and works based on already existing baseline (infrastructure, behavior pattern, etc.) in each city. In workshops the impacts of various actions and policies are studied.

Levers (Technology, Policies) can be applied at different implementation rates for specific action items. Levers can be pre-selected based on results, and city specific plans and policy can also be considered to generate a valuable mix of solutions. A range of impacts can be studied based on a single lever and its implementation rates, comparing options, or combining several levers in one or more sectors. With these approach the impact of one domains can also be interlinked with other SDG activities in order to have a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach per city.

A specially developed IT System visualizes the effects of individual levers on a city and It also provides excellent support for the workshops by comparing scenarios created using different Action items and implementation rates.

Monitoring both long and short term benefits cities constantly need to balance long-term targets such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions with short term aims such as improving air quality and creating jobs. All too often, lack of public support means long-term objectives are sacrificed for more immediate needs. SDG CDMS takes on the challenges of this balancing act by helping decision makers to recognize and select solutions that offer win-win solutions. CDMS highlights the benefits from key performance indicators to enable city leaders to deliver long-term advantages strongly linked to short-term gains.

Cities can maximize results by identifying the most cost effective solutions for improving quality of life, economic, and environmental care. By studying capital and operational investments across the lifespan of each. Solution, CDMS can report improvements on various KPIs related to SDG targets for each dollar spent. SDG CDMS helps cities avoid investing in solution that work on paper but cannot deliver the same results in a city. By carrying out a SDG CDMS assessment, cities can find exactly the right approach for its city’s needs, both long and short term.

When data collection, baseline and impact calculation, scenario definition and modelling are complete, the SDG CDMS Manager drives the writing process for the SDG City Strategy report (see Action Plans). This comprehensive illustrated report explains in detail the benefits of different solution scenarios on a city’s baseline (economic, environment, quality of life). The report type is governed by findings and priorities set during the SDG CDMS process and refined in the workshop.


How will we do this? The SDG CDMS process

At the beginning of the process, data is collected from various domains of a city. This is at a very generic level using city data publicly available, existing data from various sources (eg UN data), studies, and surveys. Around 300-500 city-specific data points per SDG are used. The Data Collection process is strongly aligned with the city and in collaboration with local universities. The SDG Expert prefills data from public city’s sources, working closely with city officials. Once all the data is collected, the SDG CDMS Data Analytic Team calculates the baseline for a  city based on activities in various sectors and KPIs which are also projected into the future based on a business-as-usual scenario and the own city’s demand projection. This calculation delivers a basic understanding of the root causes. Comparing the results with city specific and SDG targets it identifies future needs and improvement areas. The CDMS Team also calculates the city-specific impacts of individual solutions and scenarios.

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