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Canadian climate change and urban planning consultancy Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) on Wednesday launched CityInSight: an open source energy, emissions and finances model for cities, at the COP21 in Paris.

Cities“Cities are demonstrating the will to take on energy and emissions challenges. CityInSight enables cities to rigorously explore the impact of policies and investments on the transition to a low or zero carbon future,” said Yuill Herbert, Director at SSG.

CityInSight is a sophisticated model with integrated spatially-explicit land-use and transportation components, and stocks-and-flows accounting. It analyses the impact of land-use and policy scenarios on energy, emissions and their associated financial and employment metrics.

It incorporates the Global GHG Protocol for Cities, a GHG accounting framework launched as the new global standard by the World Resources Institute, ICLEI, C40, UN Habitat and others at the UN Conference of the Parties in Lima in 2014. CityInSight has a web interface and many applications, helping cities to determine the best plans and actions to take on the path to sustainable, low carbon communities.

Along with their partner, whatif Technologies, an international urban and energy modeling company, SSG is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase their work at COP21.

“It finally gives cities a sophisticated and reliable way of making energy and emissions based land use decisions,” says Jeremy Murphy, SSG Director, “enabling cities to develop sustainably, manage their energy use and emissions outputs, and create defensible economic development plans”.

“The power it has to bring knowledge about what’s going on for a city in interactive, visually-rich ways is impressive,” added SSG Director Julia Meyer-MacLeod.

Marcus Williams, modelling analyst at whatif Technologies, is excited about the launch of the model too. “I’m very excited about the launch of CityInSight. It offers cities and regions a unique scenarios-based platform for designing their future with respect to urban form, mobility, water, waste, energy and GHGs. Developing the web dashboard has been especially rewarding because we’re now able to surface key learnings from the underlying data-rich model through accessible (and beautiful) visualisations.”

Cities around the world are increasingly embracing ambitious energy and emissions reduction strategies. The transition to a low carbon and renewable energy future requires ambitious new city policies and major infrastructure investment decisions. The holistic and rigorous approach this model provides is needed to justify these efforts.

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