Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A simple model to evaluate relative urban conditions

Pareto, Vittorio Emmanuel (2009): A simple model to evaluate relative urban conditions.


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The urban development process intends to enhance urban equipment, infrastructure and services to improve urban conditions and reduce inequalities. While planning activities usually demand a sizeable amount of data to assess these conditions, it is hard to find a straightforward procedure to translate these data into a comprehensive and balanced set of projects and programs. Most urban projects have a strong sectorial character and it is difficult to compare parks with roads or sanitation with schools. Development projects are normally justified in their own terms, yet rarely are sectorial demands equably met by the proposed projects. The following model intends to facilitate this task, providing a simple yet efficient means to assess urban conditions, evaluate and compare the sectorial demands and assemble a balanced set of development goals that can be used to estimate the overall investment needed.

The proposed system assesses urban conditions through a set of selected indicators, derived from a compact data base. These indicators represent the performance of the basic urban sectors at each urban zone, thus providing the necessary spatial component to the system. The indicators are normalised to allow comparison of conditions between different sectors. The values of the normalised indicators are then used to evaluate the relative quality of services at each urban zone. By displaying the normalised indicators as bar charts, it is easier to visualise sectorial demands and spatial imbalances.

The model is built on a spreadsheet, making fairly easy to verify how much improvement in the sector is needed to attain the desired performance level in each zone. New values can be entered interactively until a preferred urban conditions pattern is attained.

The information produced by the model can be used as the basic guideline to dimension sectorial projects and compose a comprehensive development program. Besides describing and discussing all the procedures adopted, a simple yet complete example illustrates the use of the model.

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