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Deriving Low-Cost, Dwelling-Level Statistics for Exploring Urban Sustainability: Income, Land Surface Temperature, Environmental Attitudes and Swimming Pool Ownership

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2020, pp 56-70
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d6.0232
Mishka Talent
Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, 46 Sullivans Creek Road, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia


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. Swimming pool locations and size were derived from satellite imagery (a); household wealth was estimated from unimproved land value (b); summer daytime micro-climate temperature was estimated from thermal satellite imagery (c) and environmental attitudes were estimated from the interpolated percentage of Greens party votes from polling station election results (d). 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.

Keywords: Water consumption, Swimming pool, Voting, Behaviour, Temperature, Household wealth.

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