One of our first undertakings in Keystone Cities was to do some rapid comparative policy analysis.
The goal was to generate an accurate qualitative analysis of two different municipal climate change plans, while giving everyone a chance to get their hands dirty digging in some actual climate policy documents.
In this case we compared Portland's 1993 Carbon Reduction Strategy, and it's most recent Climate Change Action Plans. The results were really interesting.
Participants evaluated the plans based on how they engaged with different actors (various municipal departments, community groups, and businesses) as well as the relative strength of the targets they proposed, and the way in which climate objectives were linked to other synergies and co-benefits. Those variables were all graphed using radars graphs to create a concise visual rendering of the way in which the city is approaching climate policies and, in this case, how that approach has changed over time.
In all of the key sectors (renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation) we saw a move towards increasing engagement with communities and businesses, more integration of initiatives across municipal silos, and more awareness and emphasis on the synergies and co-benefits that can emerge from climate policies. The transition was uneven, but the movement overall was clear. You can get a sense of it in the two radar graphs above that summarize the general approach to climate policy pursued in the 1993 and 2009 plans.
To get a clearer sense of what is being graphed, here is the key that we used to guide evaluations along the different axis.