To say that crisis is the new normal for cities in this 21st century is stating the too obvious. While cities cannot predict what disruptions will come next, they can plan for them, learn from them, and generate additional benefits with the same investments, such as opportunities for economic growth or improved parks for city residents. In other words, they can achieve “dividends of resilience” that can make cities safer places to be not just in times of emergency, but each day. The sustainable cities are discussed here in no particular order.
European cities, led by Frankfurt and London, represent seven of the top 10 most sustainable cities, while the other three are the Asian tigers of Seoul, Singapore and Hong Kong, according to a new ranking of 50 large metropolitan areas.
The rankings are no surprise to anyone, including who has recently spent time in the metropolis of Jakarta, the most congested city in the world, or New Delhi, the smoggiest. I spent hours last week sitting in Jakarta traffic and had a hard time breathing the December air of the capital of India. So the latest rankings are perhaps a warning of what it takes to make a city truly sustainable.
The inaugural Index of Sustainable Cities, compiled by the Center for Economic and Business Research in London, bases its ranking on the classification of cities in three areas: social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (profits). Achieve the best balance, but cannot rely on past investment. He also finds that there is no utopia, which suggests that all cities expectedly struggle in one way or another to meet the daily needs of their people.
“Our world is changing at a faster rate than ever before,” says John Batten, global director of cities for ARCADIS, which funded the index. “The development of technology, population growth and the emergence of a truly global economy make the notion of national borders less and less relevant. Instead, we see the concept of the ‘global city’ gaining momentum.”
Their cities lead sustainability. In addition to Frankfurt and London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin and Madrid occupy the first places. While Frankfurt reaches the Profit subscript, followed by London, Rotterdam makes it better in the People category because of its high level of literacy and a healthy balance between work and private life. Frankfurt and Berlin are the highest for Planet’s factors due to its waste management and low levels of air pollution.
North America. Their cities are the ones that best count on the benefit factors, due to their relatively high per capita income and the ease of doing business. None is ranked in the top 10. Toronto occupies the highest place in 12th place. Boston and Chicago, ranked 15th and 19th respectively, are among the highest cities in the United States