Urban prosperity index (20 pts)
Building upon the lectures and reading materials throughout the semester, students will be required to produce a 2-page paper (500 to 800 words). In this paper, students will develop an index to measure the prosperity or quality of life in urban centres. To achieve this, students will be required to
• Scan existing indices and databases to identify accessible sources of data;
• Choose main topics to be assessed in the urban prosperity index, argue why the topics are important to the urban quality of life, and whether and why different topics should be weighted differently;
• Identify indicators that attempt to measure the topics they want included in the index, argue how the indicators relate to the topic, and cite where data originate so to be comparable across cities and repopulated periodically;
• Build an index that will score and rank at least five cities from different regions of Canada or the world;
• Discuss the limitations of specific proxy variables, as well as indices generally, in understanding urban issues and their quality of life.
What are indices?
Indices are models built with weighted indicators, enabling the scoring and ranking of subjects (in our case cities) according to pre-determined priorities.
• Indicators: data that measure (or proxy) a variable
• Weights: a factor by which an indicator is multiplied to reflect relative importance
Key features of a good index
• Relevancy. Indicators measure meaningful and important features
• Accuracy. Indicators approximate/proxy what is intended to be measured
• Accessibility. Data are easy to find and inexpensive to acquire
• Periodicity. Data are updated regularly.
• Comparability. Data are comparable across jurisdictions
• Scalability. Data are available for neighborhood through national levels
In your paper, refer to the features above to help justify your choice of indicators, their (dis)advantages etc,
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