Cities are under pressure from all angles; some pressures are easily forecasted while others are more difficult to predict. Balancing the immediate needs of today without compromising the demands of tomorrow is at the heart of sustainability, and of this report. The 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index ranks 100 global cities on three dimensions, or pillars, of sustainability: People, Planet and Profit. These represent social, environmental and economic sustainability to offer an indicative picture of the health and wealth of cities for the present and the future.
Well-established European cities dominate the top of the overall ranking making up 16 of the top 20 positions. They are joined by the advanced Asian cities of Singapore (in second place), Seoul (7th) and Hong Kong (16th) as well as Australia’s capital, Canberra (18th). Cities around the world are living at extremes, not balancing these pillars of sustainability. While taking the lead in some areas, cities often sit lower in one area of sustainability. How can cities do more to ensure that as they develop and implement strategies and policies to address the considerable challenges they face - from environmental to socio-economic – they do so in a way that puts people first and at the forefront of their sustainability? Download the 2016 report or dive into the findings below.
The People sub-index rates health (life expectancy and obesity), education (literacy and universities), income inequality, work-life balance, the dependency ratio, crime and housing and living costs. These indicators can be broadly thought of as capturing “quality of life”.
The Planet sub-index ranks cities on energy consumption and renewable energy share, green space within cities, recycling and composting rates, greenhouse gas emissions, natural catastrophe risk, drinking water, sanitation and air pollution. These indicators can broadly be thought of as capturing “green factors”.
The Profit sub-index examines performance from a business perspective, combining measures of transport infrastructure (rail, air and traffic congestion), ease of doing business, tourism, GDP per capita, the city’s importance in global economic networks, connectivity in terms of mobile and broadband access and employment rates. These indicators can broadly be thought of as capturing “economic health”.
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