Sustainability City Index 2016

At the beginning of the year, I worked as Casual Research Assistant at Curtin University, creating a draft presentation for the “Sustainable Future Cities” research conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Karol (Dept. of Architecture and Interior Architecture).

Among the different documents I studied as a reference, I came across the Sustainability City Index: a very interest guide to assess the sustainability of cities developed by Arcadis and Cebr.

The Sustainable Cities Index, uses ‘three pillars of sustainability’ to rank 100 global cities:

1) People (social): looks at quality of life, assessing areas such as health, education and work-life balance.

2) Planet (environmental): examines areas including energy consumption, renewable energy share and green spaces.

3) Profit (economic): looks at environment and economic health of the city.

Sub-pillars include ease of doing business, GDP per capita and connectivity.

The Three Pillars of Sustainability
Figure 1: The Three Pillars of Sustainability

Zurich (Switzerland) is the world’s most sustainable city in 2016, thanks to its strong focus on environmentalism (#1 in the world ranking) as well as world-renowned financial institutions (#5), even if scores less well in the social dimension, being affordability and work-life balance the main reason (#27 in the world ranking).

No one city is balancing all three areas of sustainability, but may do well in two ratings. This indicates the challenge that cities have in balancing all three needs effectively to ensure long-term sustainability.” John Batten (Arcadis Global Cities Director)


Top 5 citie
Top 10 Sustainable Cities in the World

It is very interesting to notice that none of the 4 major Australian cities are in the top 10 of the 100 cities indexed globally, with Perth not even considered in the list. Indeed, Canberra is placed #18, Sydney #21, Brisbane #30 and Melbourne #32.

According to Greg Steele (CEO Australia Pacific, Arcadis), the result is mainly due to the following Australian cities characteristics:
‘radial’ networks
less frequent transport options
people preference to drive
traditional preference for low-density living, which can inhibit housing affordability, access to services and even work-life balance.

I fully agree when he says that the key for the future is to find a comfortable ‘liveable density’, where transport, waste management and connectivity are easier to improve, increasing the overall quality of life in cities.

What do you think about it? I would love to hearing from you…

Image references:

–  Figure 1 and 2:

Other interesting websites:

Department of Environment and Primary Industries (2014),Growing Green Guide available at:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s