The planet’s most sustainable city in 2015 has been announced, and followed closely by London and Copenhagen respectively; Germany’s Frankfurt comes out on top. For the fifth largest city in Germany, it’s quite inspiring to see that such a large city can still accomplish such feats.
On the home front, Sydney was placed 11th overall, while Melbourne sits a couple cities beneath at number 17.
The ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index compares and contrasts how 50 of the world’s leading cities measure up in regards to three criteria for assessment; People, Planet and Profit. Furthermore each criterion is tallied using 20 different indicators such as income equality, green spaces and ease of doing business.
Frankfurt’s overall win doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given their widely known and publicised green initiatives. Additionally, their “long track record of proactively taking action to improve its sustainability,” was also a major contributor to their ultimate placement, according to the people at ARCADIS.
As the runner-up, London too obviously scored very well. However the areas in which they ultimately fell short were, predictably, congestion, declining air quality, lack of infrastructure and of course a chronic shortage of affordable housing.
Social Stability assessments surprisingly saw the top three drop down, Rotterdam and Seoul shooting up to first and second place respectively. Amsterdam was the best balanced city, having the most consistent ranking in the three criteria, four including ‘overall.’
The ARCADIS report does in effect warn against imbalance, specifically environmental and economic achievements of many global cities coming at the cost of the social.
Interestingly, though unsurprisingly, the ‘fast-growing cities’ predominantly in Africa and Asia were amongst the least sustainably ranked. Nairobi in Kenya placed 50th overall. This seems to warn governments, councils and architects to plan and build on a city’s success in a thoughtful and level-headed manor.
For 2016, ARCADIS neatly sums up a sustainable city as one that “works well for their citizens in the present, without causing problems for themselves and the rest of the world in the future.”
About Holly Cunneen: ODS Contributor
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