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OCT 30, 2018 | Press Release

European and Asian cities lead in Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index

Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022 is out now! Click here to learn more and download the new report

  • London identified as the world's most sustainable city
  • Only three North American cities recognized in Top 20
  • Several African and Asia cities lag due to economic sustainability
  • Focus on citizens' needs is secret of cities' sustainable success

Amsterdam, Oct. 30, 2018 - Arcadis (EURONEXT: ARCAD), London is the most
sustainable city according to the 2018 Sustainable Cities Index from Arcadis, the leading global Design & Consultancy for natural and built assets. European cities dominate the top of the overall Index, occupying eight of the top ten spots, with Singapore and Hong Kong complementing the top ten as Asian representatives. New York, San Francisco and Seattle are the only U.S. cities in the top 20. Due to low scores on economic sustainability, some major cities across Africa and Asia are in the lower end of the rankings.

The Sustainable Cities Index ranks 100 global cities on three pillars of sustainability: People,
Planet and Profit. The three pillars are closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The research also features new work on city archetypes and clusters aimed at explaining the implications of a citizen experience showing a close correlation to the SCI rankings. The four city clusters used are based on an analysis of the citizen experiences of city living combined with the Index data.

The 2018 version of Arcadis' Sustainable Cities Index highlights the impact the rapid roll-out of digital technologies has on citizens' experience of the city, and on the relationship between the city and its people. Resiliency data for floods or super storms, digitized utility bills, personalized mobility applications for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) are some examples of successful urban digital tools.  Nevertheless, technology is not yet able to mitigate some of the ordinary urban discomforts, such as traffic jams, a lack of affordable transport options, the absence of sufficient green space, or the uncertainties caused by aging infrastructure, among others. 

According to the report, cities need to focus on well planned long-term resilience, even if they are subject to short-term changes and trends. The successful path to long-term resilience requires the support and involvement of citizens, while at the same time, cities can also learn from each other. 

The SCI data consistently highlights that the foundations of city sustainability are an educated and healthy workforce, effective low-carbon infrastructure and ease of doing business. Affordability, access to public transport and income inequality are the big swing variables that make or break a city's sustainable success.

Global top 20 city ranking in Arcadis' 2018 Sustainable Cities Index:

1. London 11. Copenhagen
2. Stockholm 12. Amsterdam
3. Edinburgh 13. Seoul
4. Singapore 14. New York
5. Vienna 15. Paris
6. Zurich 16. San Francisco
7. Munich 17. Hamburg
8. Oslo 18. Berlin
9. Hong Kong 19. Seattle
10. Frankfurt 20. Dublin

The cities at the top of the Index have succeeded in achieving a degree of sustainable balance not only due to an historic economic legacy, but also due to far-sighted decisions taken to manage the long-term impacts of growth. London is one of few high performing cities in the Index with relatively similar scores across the three pillars of sustainability, even though it still faces huge challenges associated with affordability and congestion. Most highly ranked cities score well in one or two pillars. This means that even a high score in the Sustainable City Index does not offer any room for complacency. Also, high-and middle ranking cities need to improve their performance across all pillars.

John Batten, Arcadis Global Director of Cities states: "In many cities, developed or developing, citizens face huge challenges to meet basis needs, including shelter, food, water and warmth. Therefore, it is critical that cities maintain and evolve their services based on current needs, as well as assure that they address future requirements. City policy makers will play a key role by helping create long-term sustainable policies that specifically address these issues." 

The Index was compiled for Arcadis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).

Improving quality of life

Jochem Binst
Mobile: +32 471 202 679

Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We are 27,000 people, active in over 70 countries that generate €3.2 billion in revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. 


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