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Global Healthy and Sustainable City Indicators software

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posted on 2023-12-15, 03:54 authored by Carl HiggsCarl Higgs, Shiqin LiuShiqin Liu, Geoff BoeingGeoff Boeing, Jonathan ArundelJonathan Arundel, Melanie Lowe, Deepti AdlakhaDeepti Adlakha, Eugen ResendizEugen Resendiz, Vuokko HeikinheimoVuokko Heikinheimo, Billie Giles-Corti, Xavier Delclòs-Alió, Anna Puig-Ribera, Julio Celso Borello Vargas, Marianela Castillo-Riquelme, Afshin JafariAfshin Jafari, Javier Molina-García, Ana Queralt, Ester CerinEster Cerin, Esra Suel, Marc Domínguez-Mallafré, Yang Ye, Anne Vernez MoudonAnne Vernez Moudon, Erica HincksonErica Hinckson, Deborah Salvo, James F. Sallis, Ana Luiza Favarão Leão, Cesar Hernandez-Alcaraz

The Global Healthy and Sustainable City Indicators (GHSCI, or global-indicators) software has been developed through an international collaborative research network as an open-source tool for measuring, monitoring and reporting on policy and spatial urban indicators for healthy, sustainable cities worldwide using open or custom data. Designed to support participation in the Global Observatory of Healthy and Sustainable Cities’ 1000 city challenge, it can be run as code or as an app in your web browser.

Detailed guidance on installation and usage is provided at

The software can be configured to support comparisons within- and between-cities and across time, benchmarking, analysis and monitoring of local policies, tracking progress, and inform interventions towards achieving healthy, equitable and sustainable cities. It also supports generating resources including maps, figures and reports in multiple languages, so these can be made accessible for use by local communities and stakeholders as a source of evidence to advocate for change.

The software can be configured to calculate and report on policy and spatial indicators for healthy and sustainable cities in diverse contexts globally. The core set of spatial indicators are calculated for point locations, a small area grid (e.g. 100m), and overall city estimates. Optionally, indicators can also be calculated for custom areas, like administrative boundaries or specific neighbourhoods of interest. In addition CSV files containing indicators for area summaries and the overall city are also generated, omitting geometry. Metadata and data dictionaries are generated to accompany the data, along with reports in multiple languages.

The default core set of spatial urban indicators calculated includes:

  • Urban area in square kilometres
  • Population density (persons per square kilometre)
  • Street connectivity (intersections per square kilometre)
  • Access to destinations within 500 meters:
    • a supermarket
    • a convenience store
    • a public transport stop (any; or optionally, regularly serviced)
    • a public open space (e.g. park or square; any, or larger than 1.5 hectares)
  • A score for access to a range of daily living amenities
  • A walkability index

The tool can also be used to summarise and visualise policy indicators data collected using the 1000 Cities challenge policy checklist tool.

The resulting city-specific resources can be used to provide evidence to support policy makers and planners to strengthen urban policy, target interventions within cities, compare performance across cities, and when measured across time can be used to monitor progress towards achieving urban design goals for reducing inequities. Moreover, they provide a rich source of data for those advocating for disadvantaged and vulnerable community populations.

Generated outputs include:

  • Summary of configuration parameters used for analysis (.yml file)
  • Processing log detailing the analyses undertaken (.txt file)
  • Geopackage of indicator results and spatial features including points and areas of interest and pedestrian network (.gpkg)
  • CSV files for indicator results (.csv)
  • Data dictionaries (.csv and .xlsx files)
  • ISO19115 metadata (.xml and .yml files)
  • Analysis report (pdf)
  • Policy and spatial indicator report, optionally in multiple languages (.pdf)
  • Figures and maps, optionally in multiple languages (.jpg)

The software is designed to be used by local experts as part of multi-disciplinary teams participating in the 1000 Cities Challenge; but anyone (e.g. students, enthusiasts) can use the open source software.


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