Sustainable Cities Index 2018

Citizen Centric Cities

The 2018 edition of Arcadis' Sustainable Cities Index (SCI) explores city sustainability from the perspective of the citizen. We seek to understand in more depth how different cities enable different citizen groups to meet their particular needs.

Asia Sustainable Cities Index 2018

We continue our exploration of the People, Profit and Planet dimensions of city sustainability, building a greater understanding of the underlying characteristics of cities that enable some to outperform their peers.

Our intention is that by initiating further debate on the nature of long-term success, cities will continue to challenge themselves to meet the needs of their people for both today and tomorrow.

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Explaining patterns of city sustainability

City Clusters

To provide greater insight into the factors that influence city development and performance, we have developed a deeper understanding of how citizens and cities relate. This insight is derived from city archetypes based on urban ethnographic research into how cities are evolving and the experience of the citizens living within them. The results of this research is a set of four city clusters.

Balanced Innovators

The key citizen experiences associated with this profile are convenience and security associated with Automation and Sensing and high quality of life associated with an absence of Disruption as well as the infrastructure necessary for a Connected city.

Post-industrial Opportunists

Citizen experiences supported by a growing role of technology are mostly positive but might potentially be undermined by the impact of automation on legacy employment. Cities that match this profile have a more balanced economy so are less likely to be faced with the economic dislocation that has been seen in some recession-hit cities such as Detroit.

Evolutionary Cities

Core citizen experiences in these cities are focused on aspects of informal entrepreneurialism - articulated possibly as micro-enterprise or alternatively as community self-help.

Fast-growing Megacities

Citizen experiences include high levels of informal economic activity as well as the powerful influence of enterprise – often directed by the state to deliver development and services.

City Spotlight

To provide greater insight into the factors that influence city development and performance, we have developed a deeper understanding of how citizens and cities relate. This insight is derived from city archetypes based on urban ethnographic research into how cities are evolving and the experience of the citizens living within them. The results of this research is a set of four city clusters.

Hong Kong

Balanced Innovators



Ranking #9, technology remains key to boosting Hong Kong’s economy, competitiveness and quality of life. To re-invent itself and progress as a sustainable city, Hong Kong needs to address further its affordability and environmental challenges and embrace smart city technologies to fulfill its city archetype of a Balanced Innovator.

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Singapore

Balanced Innovators



Singapore ranks #4 in this year’s Sustainability Index and remains the top ranked city in Asia, thanks to its collective approach in delivering on its Smart Nation vision. Singapore is a city strong in being a Balanced Innovator as evidenced by its strategic national projects such as the Smart Nation sensor platform and Smart Urban Mobility, further advancing the city state in achieving sustainability, smart mobility and liveability.

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Kuala Lumpur

Evolutionary City



Malaysia’s capital city benefits from consistent scores across all pillars and outranks all the cities in China except for Shenzhen as well as several U.S. and European cities. With a well-established business eco-system, the city benefits from a good talent pool and moderate cost of living. Technology will play a key role in enabling Malaysia to deliver on its initiative to be in the world’s top 20 economies by 2050 and accelerate its city profile from Evolutionary.

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Manila

Evolutionary City



Infrastructure development is accelerating in Manila, providing much needed expansion to support the future requirements of the rapidly urbanizing city. With so much development of innovative technology in the construction sector in recent years, Manila has a great opportunity to develop solutions resilient to future risks while remaining cost effective. City policy makers will play a key role by creating long-term sustainable policies and embrace international best practice and lessons learnt.

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Shanghai

Fast-growing Megacity



The megacity of Shanghai ranked #11 in Asia, and came #76 on the global list. Shanghai and Beijing have similar rankings across all three pillars of the Index, but Shanghai’s scores were slightly lower on the People and Profit sub-indices.

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Beijing

Fast-growing Megacity



The Chinese capital ranked #9 in Asia, and came #73 on the global list. Beijing’s highest score was under the Profit sub-index underpinned by strong economic growth, as China’s capital builds sustainability around attractiveness to domestic and foreign investors.

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Shenzhen

Fast-growing Megacity



Shenzhen ranked #7 in Asia and is a pivotal city in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. The city is key in connecting the 11 cities along the Pearl River Delta and is expected to become an integrated economic powerhouse, with innovation shaping its sustainable future.

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Guangzhou

Fast-growing Megacity



Guangzhou placed in the third quartile of the Index and is ranked #10 in Asia. As the capital of the Guangdong Province, it has one of the largest GDP, is the political and commercial center and a major transportation hub for Southern China. This sprawling port city is home to 14 million people and is ripe to enjoy the fruits of economic openness making it one of the most successful Tier 1 cities in China along with Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.

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John Batten

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