Deriving Low-Cost, Dwelling-Level Statistics for Exploring Urban Sustainability: Income, Land Surface Temperature, Environmental Attitudes and Swimming Pool Ownership
Improving urban sustainability requires an understanding of the determinants of resource consumption. The determinants of such consumption are poorly understood despite more than 40 years of investigation. Detailed exploration requires data at the dwelling scale. Such data are usually difficult or expensive to collect. This work derived dwelling-level statistics for each of ~200,000 dwellings in the city of Canberra, Australia. 1) swimming pool locations and size were derived from satellite imagery; 2) household wealth was estimated from unimproved land value; 3) summer daytime micro-climate temperature was estimated from thermal satellite imagery; and 4) environmental attitudes were estimated from the interpolated percentage of Greens party votes from polling station election results. All four variables were correlated with residential water consumption. This work demonstrates how these explanatory variables can be derived from publicly available datasets and at low cost. It also shows their value in understanding the determinants of household water consumption.