Survey Instruments

ICMA Local Government Sustainability Policies and Programs 

Conducted in 2010 as a collaboration between the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) Center for Sustainable Communities, the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University (ASU), ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (ASU GIOS), and the Alliance for Innovation. The sample frame includes the 8,569 local governments in the United States with a population of 10,000 or more residents. A response rate of 25.4% was attained with 2,176 responses. The survey solicits information on 110 specific sustainability practices that governments might have adopted as well as the steps that may have been taken to plan and organize their sustainability effort.
 

NLC Sustainability Survey

The National League of Cities' (NLC) Sustainability Survey was conducted summer and fall of 2010.  It was sent via email to 1,708 mayors and achieved a response rate of 26.6%, with responses from 442 cities. The NLC survey contains 28 items with 171 sub-questions and features a list of fact-based questions to solicit information on cities’ sustainability efforts in land use, transportation, workforce development, climate change-related activities, water programs, energy efficiency and conservation, and recycling.
 

EECBG Grantee Implementation Survey (NSF)

The EECBG Grantee Implementation Survey was conducted by Local Governance Research Laboratory of the Askew School of Public Administration at Florida State University (PI: Richard C. Feiock) to collect information on local governments’ energy policies and experiences with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. The sample frame was the universe of 970 municipal governments receiving EECBG awards.  The survey was conducted during the winter of 2010 and spring 2011. A 77% response rate was obtained with 747 returned surveys. 

 

Implementation of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Programs (IBM) 

The IBM Endowment for the Business of Government supported survey was implemented by the FSU Local Governance Research Lab. Its sample frame of 1,180 municipalities included all cities with populations over 50,000 and a random sample of 500 cities with populations between 20 and 50 thousand residents. The survey was conducted in fall of 2010 and spring.  A 57.5% response rate was obtained with 679 returned surveys.

 

National Survey of Sustainability Management in U.S. Cities

The National Survey of Sustainability Management was conducted by the Department of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida (PIs: Christopher Hawkins, UCF; Xiaohu Wang, CUHK). Of the 601 cities in the sampling frame, 263 returned the survey for a 44% response rate. The survey consists of 14 questions with 145 sub-questions, which focus on local programs and policies oriented towards environmental, economic and social sustainability.
 

Municipal Climate Protection SurveY (EPA)

The Municipal Climate Protection Survey (EPA) was conducted by April and May 2009 through Indiana University (PI: Rachel Krause). The survey population was individuals identified as in charge of environmental or sustainability affairs in US cities with populations over 50,000. Usable responses from 329 officials were received for a response rate of 49.5%. The survey is broadly framed as about local sustainability and consists of 37, primarily factual, questions regarding the implementation status of programs or policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fall within the authority of U.S. cities, sustainability staffing, and inter-governmental collaboration.

 

Municipal Government Questionnaire

The Municipal Government Questionnaire Survey was administered through the University of Texas at El Paso in September and October, 2011. The sample frame includes 425 cities in the United States with populations over 50,000 that indicated involvement in climate protection, typically through their signing of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and/or their participation in ICLEI – Cities for Sustainability.  Completed surveys were received from 255 cities for a response rate of 60%.


The table below summarizes the key features of all seven surveys.

 Characteristics of the Surveys Comprising the Integrated City Sustainability Database
 

Survey Name Sampling Frame Respondents Response Rate

ICMA Local Government
Sustainability Policies
and Programs Survey

8,569 local governments with a population of 10,000 
or more residents

2,176 25.4%

NLC Sustainability
Survey

1,708 mayors in cities over 10,000 442 26.6%

EECBG Grantee
Implementation
Survey (FSU)

970 municipal governments receiving EECBG awards, including all cities over
30,000
747 77.0%

Implementation of
Energy Efficiency and
Sustainability
Programs (FSU)

1,180 cities: all with populations over 50,000 and
a random sample of 500
cities with populations between 20,000 and 50,000
679 57.5%

National Survey of
Sustainability
Management in U.S.
Cities (UCF)

601 cities with populations over 50,000 263 44.0%

Municipal Climate
Protection Survey (IU)

664 cities with populations over 50,000 329 49.5%

Municipal Government
Questionnaire (UTEP)

425 cities with populations over 50,000 that have
indicated explicit
involvement in climate protection

255 60.0%