The ISGlobal Ranking of Cities is an ongoing project aimed at estimating the health impacts of urban and transport planning in 1,000 European cities.
This research project evaluates various environmental exposures related to urban and transport planning (such as air pollution, noise from road traffic, exposure to green spaces and heat island effects) for cities in more than 30 European countries and establishes different rankings with the results.
The first phase of the project focuses on air pollution, one of the greatest risk factors for disease and death worldwide.
A study led by researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has for the first time estimated the impacts of air pollution on health in Europe at the city level. Since disease data is not available for all cities, the study focuses on mortality.
The research team estimated the annual mortality due to air pollution for each of the 1,000 cities included in the study and drew up two rankings on the basis of the results: one for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and one for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
After pooling together cities included within the same metropolitan area, the final ranking includes 858 European cities. The city ranked #1 is the one with the worst mortality data related to air pollution, while the city ranked #858 has the best mortality data.
The air pollution ranking is based on a mortality burden score assigned to each city. Scores were calculated using an algorithm that takes into account mortality rates, the percentage of preventable mortality and the years of life lost due to each air pollutant.
The study is based on the quantitative health impact assessment methodology. This methodology follows a comparative risk assessment approach by comparing current air pollution levels in cities to two theoretical air-pollution reduction scenarios (WHO recommendations and lowest -measured levels). The health impacts are estimated as a function of these reductions, using the most recent and robust scientific evidence on the relationship between air pollution levels and mortality.