Top 10 most sustainable cities in the world
In a previous article, we have already reported which factors make a city sustainable. But this leaves the question open which cities can serve as role models. Hereby we present you the 10 most sustainable cities in the world and the criteria and projects that make them environmentally friendly.
Not every city can be described as sustainable. The metropolises must fulfill various conditions to obtain the title.
The "Sustainable Cities Index" from 2016 rates 100 cities around the globe for their sustainability. This is done through the three pillars of sustainability. These represent different areas of the economy in the social (human), ecological (planet) and economic (profit) area:
This evaluation criterion is about the quality of life and the health of the inhabitants. This refers especially to the expectancy of life and obesity. But also education, income inequalities, work-life balance, crime rate and the cost of living are important factors.
For example, this index evaluates cities by their energy consumption including the share of renewable energies, green areas within cities, recycling rates, greenhouse gas emissions, natural disaster risk, drinking water, sanitation, and air pollution. Therefore, this index generally includes all areas of the environment.
The interaction of all three criteria listed above forms the basis for evaluating the most sustainable cities. Alone eight of these are within Europe. The places are distributed as follows:
Zurich has by far the lowest population of all top 10 cities. Nevertheless, the city does a lot for the environment: The city can especially score points in the area of "Planet" through its efforts in climate and environmental protections. However, none of the listed cities is perfect. In particular, due to the high cost of living, Zurich lost points in the area of "people".
Singapore, also called "City of Gardens", deserves its nickname. Politicians have many plans to make the city even greener over the next few years. So it is no wonder that the city is also highly positioned in the ranking. By 2030, at least 80% of the buildings will be certified as energy and resource efficient.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, scores with its sustainable technologies, its high level of education, renewable energies and low CO2 emissions. Also in Stockholm are numerous of further plans that shall protect the environment.
Also, Vienna has a lot of environmental projects. The cities ‘Urban Development Plan 2025’ lists all the goals the city wants to achieve in the next seven years. But there are further projects: For years, Vienna works to ensure the sustainable development of the city for the future.
London, the host of the 2012 Olympics, had titled the games as "most sustainable Olympic Games ever". Urban planning for the major construction projects should be implemented as environmentally friendly as possible, structurally weak areas should be upgraded and new jobs should be created. Until now, this was also largely successful. Through that, London has more plans to steer the city into a greener future. The city also wants to develop its social area.
The first German city, ranked on the 6th place, is Frankfurt. Frankfurt integrates its population into the urban development and frequently implements new, innovative ideas in order to advance the urban planning.
Seoul is also very far ahead when it comes to innovation. Many creative minds have been working for years to find good ways to simplify the everyday life in Seoul for many people and at the same time to do something for the environment. An example of this is the ‘Sharing City Seoul project’ with the aim of voluntarily sharing e.g. free spaces or the car to limit consumption and to counteract emissions.
The second German city in the top 10 is Hamburg. The port city offers numerous workshops and initiatives on sustainability. Hamburg is also working hard to implement the SDGs and the Agenda 21.
Prague also has plans that have to be implemented by 2030. Sustainable mobility, which goes hand in hand with the sustainability of cities, should be especially mentioned here.
The third German city in this ranking is Munich. Munich also tries hard to cope with the rapid development of the city. Achieving the 17 goals of the SDGs and other social improvements are some of its main goals.