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.

Latin America Sustainable Cities Index 2018

Cities in Latin America are tightly clustered at the at the top of the bottom quartile, typically scoring better in People and Planet than in the Profit pillar. The citizen experience in Latin American cities most closely fits the Evolutionary Cities cluster.

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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

São Paulo

City Cluster: Evolutionary City

São Paulo, the largest city in Latin America, is 78th overall in the Index. It’s strongest pillar is the Planet pillar and the natural attributes of the city help the city appear in the top half of the pillar. Its profit score is negatively impact by its low ease of doing business score. Citizens in this city experience affordability challenges.

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City Spotlight


City Cluster: Evolutionary City

Santiago’s strongest pillar is the People pillar, but shows room to improve in the Profit pillar. Its score in the People pillar is attributed to reasonably strong scores in health and education, making it a peer city to many U.S. cities. Overall, it ranks 77th. Santiago shows room to improve on some of the digital indicators, such as University Technology Research.

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City Spotlight

Buenos Aires

City Cluster: Evolutionary City

Like Santiago, Buenos Aires’ strongest pillar is the People pillar, boosted by health and education. Waste management tends to be challenging here, which lowers the score of the city and its Planet pillar score. Buenos Aires ranks 81st in the Index. Similar to most of its other Latin American counterparts, Buenos Aires shows room to improve on ease of doing business.

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