Quantcast

50 of the World's Largest Cities Ranked by People, Planet, Profit

Business

Global design and consultancy firm Arcadis released its Sustainable Cities Index this week, ranking 50 of the world's largest cities in terms of their effectiveness at juggling the demands of "people, planet and profit." Those categories look at social, environmental and economic factors.

Arcadis' Sustainable Cities Index found that Europe was leading the way. Image credit: Arcadis

“Our world is changing at a faster pace than ever before," said John Batten, global cities director at Arcadis. "Developing technology, population growth and the emergence of a truly global economy mean that the notion of national borders is becoming less relevant. Instead, we see the concept of the ‘global city’ taking hold. The Sustainable Cities Index highlights the areas of opportunity for cities, to inform decision-making and hopefully make them more sustainable economically, environmentally and for the welfare of their inhabitants."

As is typical in such indexes, Europe leads the way. It held all five of the top slots on the overall list, seven of the top 10 and 11 of the top 20. The other three of the top 20 were in Asia.

Frankfort led the overall list, coming in first on the planet and profit lists, and ninth in people. The study cited Frankfort and the number two city on the planet list, Berlin, for low air pollution and excellent waste management.

Frankfort was followed in the top 10 by London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin, Seoul, Hong Kong, Madrid and Singapore. The first U.S. city to make the list is Boston, coming in at 15. Chicago is number 19 and New York rounds out the top 20.

The worst city overall was Nairobi, which ranked dead last at 50, as well on on people factors, 45th on planet and 49th on profit. Cities in Asia showed the most divergence, with three in the top ten but four—Jakarta (46), Mumbai (47), Wuhan (48), New Delhi (49) and Mumbai—falling in the bottom ten. They were joined by three in the Middle East—Doha (42, ranked 50th in environmental factors), Jeddah (44) and Riyadh (45)—plus Rio de Janeiro (41) and Moscow (43).

Overall it found that cities were doing best at meeting the needs of profit and worst at meeting the needs of people, saying "Developing cities have focused on economic sustainability, but must now focus on becoming centers for people and environmental stewards."

Eight of the top 1o cities on the "planet" list are in Europe, with only Singapore (7) and Toronto (9) coming from elsewhere in the world, showing that region's leadership on the climate and environmental issues.

"City leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work in, whilst also limiting their damage to the environment," said Batten. "To truly understand how sustainable a city is, we must understand how it ranks in People, Planet and Profit. Only then can city leaders act to assess their priorities, and the pathway to urban sustainability—for the good of all.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Top 10 Greenest Cities in the World

What Makes a City Great?

Cities Around the World Take Lead on Tackling Climate Change

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Indigenous people of various ethnic groups protest calling for demarcation of lands during the closing of the 'Red January - Indigenous Blood', in Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 31, 2019. Cris Faga / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5 percent of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.

Read More
Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington on May 12, 2017. GLENN CHAPMAN / AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.

Read More
Sponsored
Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste. Nestlé / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nestlé, the world's largest food company, said it will invest up to $2 billion to address the plastic waste crisis that it is largely responsible for.

Read More
Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule held to the sun. Helin Loik-Tomson / iStock / Getty Images

By Margherita T. Cantorna

Winter is upon us and so is the risk of vitamin D deficiency and infections. Vitamin D, which is made in our skin following sunlight exposure and also found in oily fish (mackerel, tuna and sardines), mushrooms and fortified dairy and nondairy substitutes, is essential for good health. Humans need vitamin D to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when people need vitamin D the most, most of us are not getting enough. So how much should we take? Should we take supplements? How do we get more? And, who needs it most?

Read More
The common murre population in Alaska has been decimated by an ocean heatwave. Linda Burek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

An expanse of uncommonly warm seawater in the Pacific Ocean created by a marine heatwave led to a mass die-off of one million seabirds, scientists have found.

Read More