Sustainable Development Model of EU Cities Compliant with UN Settings
- The selected sets of indicators are as follows:
- They are selected voluntarily in all proposals; it is not justified whether these choices are the best possible;
- They do not fully conform to the globally accepted UN SD paradigm and SDGs, and the obtained indices cannot be compliant with the UN SD vision; only indicator sets in the proposals [17,27] adequately reflect the UN concept; some confusion is caused by the fact that even in the last version of UN-Habitat (2019–2020) , SDGs are mentioned but not used;
- All indicator sets contain a huge number of indicators (tens and even hundreds), which corresponds to an even larger number of action lines to be performed; the municipalities also do not have sufficient capacity and resources for their simultaneous implementation;
- They contain indicators which do not relate to the functionality of municipalities, including national (e.g., e-government development index , level of censorship ), business (e.g., patent applications to the EPO , on-time flight departures ), and even geographical (e.g., natural catastrophe exposure, including drought, earthquake and extreme temperature ) indicators; the municipality cannot influence such indicators; in addition, some of them directly depend on the size of the city (e.g., length of the bicycle network );
- The calculated complex indices are as follows:
- Only methodologies containing the use of mathematical algorithms are taking mutual relationships into account, as well as the interplay of the parameters and developmental dimensions; this has not been done in the creation of other indices;
- The key performance indicators (KPIs) are not defined in any proposal; the municipalities have no recommendations for priority action lines.
- They are usable for any EU city, including small and medium-sized ones:
- They correspond to the functionality of the city municipality regulation and administration in sectors of local government autonomous functions and delegated public administration tasks, provision of services that are financed or co-financed by the budget and paid services, maintenance and development of public infrastructure, promotion of the civil society, and business development;
- The municipality of a small city can also manage and improve performance results.
- They reflect the level of the city’s inhabitants’ quality of life;
- They are consistent with the UN SD’s vision;
- They include a limited number of key performance indicators;
- They ensure the most objective selection and proportions of KPIs in the model.
2.1. Data Mining Algorithms as a Research Tool
2.2. Choice of Dependent Variable
2.3. Selection of Independent Variables
- SDG14 does not correspond to the city level;
- Poverty and hunger (SDG1, SDG2), as understood by the UN, are not relevant in the EU27;
- The key target of SDG10 (reducing inequality) is achievable only as a result of national political settings and decisions—minimum income level, minimum wage level, distribution of benefits through the tax system, and so forth.
2.4. Determination of Research Plan
3. Modelling Process
3.1. Linear Modelling
3.2. Non-Linear Modelling
4. Results and Discussion
- Is created as a mathematical model of SD; the causality between the indicators of various development aspects, selection and proportions of KPIs, and the general level of urban SD are mathematically calculated; and the quality (accuracy) of the model is quantified. Currently, in all proposals, indicators are selected voluntarily; it is not justified whether these choices are the best possible. Only a few methodologies use mathematical algorithms to determine indicator proportions [21,22,42,56,57]; however, this process has remained at a conceptual level, and no proposal has published the obtained values and mathematical expressions of the models, from which the SD level of the specific city can be calculated. In all other proposals, the proportions of the indicators (weighting) are chosen voluntarily, and the proportions are not justified. Model validations are not published.
- Is compliant with the UN vision on SD, created by high-level experts and accepted by the UN General Assembly as the global development strategy; we consider that the UN expertise and political authority are crucial in defining SD substance as the integrity and balance of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Existing proposals have more or less deviated from the UN concept. Currently, only indicator sets in the proposals [17,27] adequately reflect the UN concept. The last version of UN-Habitat  only mentions SDGs, without using them to select indicators. Sets of indicators in all other models do not fully conform to the globally accepted UN SD paradigm and SDGs, therefore the obtained indices cannot be compliant with the UN SD vision.
- Is applicable for any EU city, including small and medium-sized ones, because for all used independent variables, all six KPIs (1) are neutral relative to the scale of the issue covered (only share or percentage of population, households, area, enterprises, etc. is applied), in contrast to existing models, which also use indicators that are directly dependent on the size of the city (e.g., length of bicycle network ); and (2) at least in part, relate to the competence of the city municipality; it was not used at a national level (as, e.g., e-government development index , level of censorship ), business (as, e.g., patent applications to the EPO , on-time flight departures ) and even geographical (as, e.g., natural catastrophe exposure, including drought, earthquake and extreme temperature ) indicators; also indicators that can characterize only metropoles are not used (as, e.g., university appearances in rankings , world’s top 500 companies located ). The municipality cannot influence such indicators.
- Is based on the limited number of KPIs that were mathematically selected maintaining the quality of the model from a huge set of independent variables corresponding to the municipal functionality. The KPIs are not defined in any existing proposal; no recommendations are provided to municipalities on priority action lines. Actually, municipalities have a lack of capacity and resources to work simultaneously in a huge number of action lines, and prioritization of action lines (resp. related KPIs) is an advantage of the CSDI. It should be mentioned that KPIs, which are drivers of the model, are at the peak of the pyramid; in fact, they reflect the quality of life of urban communities in the broad sense of the term, integrating many aspects.
- Is also considering complicated crosslinks, and the integrity and interplay of separate actions; this had become possible due to the simultaneous mathematical processing of all predictors in the modelling process as opposed to the traditional mechanical summation of indicator values. Only a few existing methodologies, containing use of mathematical algorithms for the simultaneous processing of all indicator data, can take into account mutual relationships and the interplay of the parameters and development dimensions (as, [21,22,42,56,57]); this cannot been done in the creation of all other indices.
- Is computed by achieving an overall reasonable combination of universality (the applicability of the index to each EU city has been achieved), accuracy (confirmed by excellent numerical characteristics (R2, R2adj, p-value) and R diagnostic plots), stability (shown by the stability test), and simplicity (only six KPIs are used; using the published mathematical expressions of the model, any municipality can easily calculate the SD level of its city using only a calculator) that are strong contributing factors to the practical application of the model.
5. Conclusions and Recommendations
- The planning process shows the priority action lines for increasing the SD level, and justifies the distribution of the budget and the need and priorities for investments (local, national, EU);
- It supports SD management, monitors the implementation of the SD concept and plans, shows the achieved progress and the SD level, as well as the compliance of the medium-term development program with the goals and strategy of SD, and evaluates the achievements and weak points in statics and dynamics;
- For selecting new projects/initiatives for the current year’s budget, it gives an opportunity to compare projects in different sectors, calculating project’s efficiency, which is a target function in the project tendering;
- It provides an opportunity, which is based on objective data, for dialogue with public administration institutions in the scope of local government functionality and for contribution to national SD programs;
- It improves communication with the population/voters by clearly explaining the municipality’s plans, priorities, and activities, showing how the specific actions of the municipality affects the overall SD level, increasing confidence in the municipality.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|No||Key Performance Indicators|
|G3.1||Share of people with good or very good perceived health, % of population aged 16 or over|
|G6.2||Population not having indoor flushing toilet for the sole use, % of population|
|G7.2||Share of population unable to keep home adequately warm by poverty status, %|
|G9.2||Percentage of enterprises who have ERP software package to share information between different functional areas (10+ employees)|
|G12.1||Recycling rate of municipal waste, % of generated|
|G16.2||Perceived independence of the justice system, % of population perceived as very good or fairly good|
|Number of Residuals|
|AHDIm1 (3)||0.9421||0.9247||2.502 10−11||0.0258894||0.01472||2||8|
|AHDIm (8)||0.9638||0.9622||<2.2 10−16||0.0197030||0.01042||0||3|
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Karnitis, E.; Bicevskis, J.; Karnitis, G.; Pukis, M. Sustainable Development Model of EU Cities Compliant with UN Settings. Mathematics 2021, 9, 2888. https://doi.org/10.3390/math9222888
Karnitis E, Bicevskis J, Karnitis G, Pukis M. Sustainable Development Model of EU Cities Compliant with UN Settings. Mathematics. 2021; 9(22):2888. https://doi.org/10.3390/math9222888Chicago/Turabian Style
Karnitis, Edvins, Janis Bicevskis, Girts Karnitis, and Maris Pukis. 2021. "Sustainable Development Model of EU Cities Compliant with UN Settings" Mathematics 9, no. 22: 2888. https://doi.org/10.3390/math9222888