Sustainable cities also referred to as an eco-cities, work towards creating environmentally, economically, and socially resilient surroundings for their citizens without compromising the needs of the future generation to thrive in the same environment. According to the Sustainable Cities Index report, these cities are evaluated on three parameters which include profit, planet, and people. The profit factor measures the value of real estate and the ease of starting and running businesses. The people index focuses on the living standard of the people, literacy, education, and health. The planet factor focuses on transportation, water, sanitation, air pollution, and carbon emission among other factors. Some of the most sustainable cities in the world include:
10. Munich, Germany
Munich is the 3rd largest city in Germany and the 3rd most sustainable city in the country as per the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index. Just like the other German cities, Munich has a concrete strategy for climate protection and nature and water conservation. Munich is the economic powerhouse of Germany which hosts most of the major industrial powers who relocated to Munich after WWII. Munich targets to be using 100% clean electricity by 2025. To protect the climate, Munich targets to reduce carbon emission by 10% every five years and become carbon neutral in 2050.
9. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, the Czech capital city, has more vegetation than many cities of similar size in Europe. Vegetation covers more than 39.21 square miles of Prague with 15.68 square miles being the national parks which are managed by the park department of Prague. In Prague recycling of bottles and tins is mandatory. The city has an efficient transportation system, although biking is not widespread because of the terrain. The city targets to cut carbon emission by at least 20% by 2020, even Prague airport promised to reduce carbon emission by 9% by 2017.
8. Hamburg, Germany
With a population of over 1.8 million people, Hamburg is the 2nd biggest German city, with the biggest environmental standards and a high-performance level in public transport and cycling indicators. Almost everyone in Hamburg has access to the public transportation within 0.186 miles of their vicinity. The city plans to reduce carbon emission by over 40% in 2020 and 80% by 2050. In April 15th, 2011, the city introduced the train-of-ideas strategy which helped them rank eighth in the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index. The train-of-ideas features seven carriages with each focusing on different aspect of creating a green city including consumption, economy, mobility, energy, and climate protection, among others.
7. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a large metropolis where pop culture, high-tech subways, and skyscrapers meet street-market and Buddhist temples. Seoul is a perfect model of an eco-city, with their data-driven approach towards being sustainable encouraging the population to be environmentally conscious. Seoul runs a unique bike renting system and has some electric buses operating throughout the city. The city increased the water resources and green spaces around the city to improve the environment.
6. Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt is the financial hub in Germany which hosts the European Central Bank. Frankfurt ranks sixth on the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index, and it has been an eco-city for years now. Over 52% of Frankfurt is covered by open green spaces like water bodies, woodlands, and parks. The local government has a concrete plan for nature and water conservation, energy efficiency, and climate protection. The city plans to be 100% dependent on renewable energy source by 2050 and reduce the carbon emission by 50% by 2030.
5. London, England
London is one of the most popular cities in the world, and it is a perfect example of the busiest city with a sustainable metropolis. In 2003, London introduced taxes on vehicles entering the central city during the weekends as a means of discouraging overcrowding of cars. The collected revenue funds public transportation and related infrastructures. The local government has implemented numerous strategies including an air quality plan, noise reduction, and waste recycling, among other policies. The city has adopted diesel-electric buses which operate throughout the city to reduce carbon emission. These buses reduce carbon emissions by 40% which helps the city achieves its goal of 60% greenhouse gasses reduction by 2025.
4. Vienna, Austria
The city of Vienna implemented a comprehensive climate protection strategy, sustainable business, sustainable procurement, and recycling of bottles. The capital city of Austria is the first city in the world to have a fleet of electric-powered buses throughout the central city thus reducing carbon emission while improving citizens' standard of living. These buses recharge at the bus terminal ensuring that they run efficiently all day long.
3. Stockholm, Sweden
The capital of Sweden stretches across 14 islands where the Malaren Lake flows into Baltic Sea. The over 2.3 million Swedes living in the metropolitan area of the city work towards conserving their resources for future generations. Swedes rank first in the European Union in organic food consumption, usage of renewable energy, and recycling of bottles and cans. Stockholm is recognized for the numerous innovative urban sustainability goals and visions including becoming 100% fossil-fuel free by the end of 2050. The city is known for increasing their GDP-growth while lowering Carbon dioxide emissions.
Singapore is a self-governing city-state and an island nation located in Southeastern Asia. Singapore has an inadequate supply of fresh water, but since importing fresh water from Malaysia is costly, the state developed novel methods to ensure they use the scarce supply of water in the country wisely. Singapore took advantage of numerous water management innovations including saltwater desalination, recycling of reclaimed water, and rainwater catchment methods. The city has eco-friendly transport regulations which discourage unnecessary vehicle ownership. To lower carbon emission in the city, the BCA (Building and Construction Authority) set up many green living standards which every building in the city must adhere to since 2005. The Zero Energy Building is the greenest in the country and a test subject for future building designs.
1. Zurich, Switzerland
The Swiss capital city which is famous for the flourishing finance business, unique transport system, and high-quality lifestyle topped the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index. With an urban population of 1.32 million, Zurich managed to top the Sustainable Cities Index with numerous projects which promote living standards while preserving the city for the future generations. Some of their achievements include a sustainable transport system, investing in efficient and renewable energies, and their willingness of ensuring that the people are always aware of the environmental issues. Zurich wants everyone using 2,000 watts of green-energy by 2050.