March 18, 2022 2022-04-12 11:53



It’s not surprising that people assess the quality of life that a city offers before choosing which house to buy. Some people decide to live in the countryside, whereas others prefer the hustle and bustle of the city centre. In any case, right now there is a general shift towards sustainable cities and implementing measures to improve environmental, social and economic factors.


By 2050, 70% of the population are predicted to live in city centres.


What is the definition of a sustainable city?

As Oxfam would say, a city is sustainable when it offers a good quality of life to all of its inhabitants without compromising resources. They take into consideration future generations and provide social justice.


Sustainability in cities is also one of the ambitious objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).


What are the features of a sustainable city?

When wondering what the main characteristics of a sustainable city are, the Arcadis Sustainability Index is a good place to start. Arcadis is the world’s leading company delivering sustainable design and consultancy solutions for natural and built assets. Their Index highlights the following key features of sustainable cities:


1.    Quality of life and social opportunities

This refers to life expectancy, crime rates, house prices, and obesity levels of the population. These, together with other variables, are used to evaluate the quality of life of the citizens of a certain city.


2.    Energy use, contamination and emissions

This takes into account the contamination that is generated in a city, calculates the percentage of clean energy sources, recycling rates, public mobility and natural disaster risks, among other factors.


3.    Business environment and economic performance

Lastly, evaluation of the ease for a citizen to start a successful company, tourism, the local GDP, connections with other cities, and disemployment rates.



The most sustainable cities in the world

In the ranking put together by Arcadis of the top 10 most sustainable cities in the world, 8 are European:


1.    London

This quintessential European city opts for sustainability, a good quality of life for its citizens, a large offering of quality jobs, and supports investigation and innovation.


2.    Stockholm

In the Swedish capital they place a lot of importance on good air quality, a reduction in emissions and developing more sustainable infrastructures that are respectful to the planet.


3.    Edinburgh

Leaders in education, healthcare, low crime rates and equal pay.


4.    Singapore

A sustainable city with smart mobility options. Their main focus is on reducing contamination from vehicles.


5.    Vienna

A city that offers a great balance of the three features mentioned above. It shows advanced economic and environmental development while fulfilling citizens’ needs.


6.    Zurich

Similarly, Zurich provides a great balance making it the most sustainable city in Switzerland.


7.    Munich

Munich is able to maintain a high level of economic well-being at the same time as developing important environmental measures.


8.    Oslo

The lifestyle in the city of Oslo is highly adapted to the surrounding natural environment.


9.    Hong Kong

Although there are millions of citizens in Hong Kong, there is a high level of environmental awareness. They opt for practices that are respectful to the environment and improve air quality.


10. Frankfurt

This German city is an important financial hub and it stands out for its environmental practices and great quality of life.


The present and the future of sustainable cities

All of the cities that lead the sustainability index offer a positive balance of sustainable features. They are taking the right steps for the present and the future of their citizens, allowing them to manage their growth effectively.