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London is second most sustainable city

Words: Laura Edgar
London / Shutterstock_68997331

Three English cities are in the top 20 of the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index, which was compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The report, which assessed 50 urban areas across the world, considered economic (profit), social (people) and environmental (planet) characteristics, with Europe taking seven of the top 10 places and North America failing to rank highly.

Top 10 Cities
1.    Frankfurt
2.    London
3.    Copenhagen
4.    Amsterdam
5.    Rotterdam
6.    Berlin
7.    Seoul
8.    Hong Kong
9.    Madrid
10.    Singapore

Bottom 10 Cities
41.     Doha
42.     Moscow
43.     Jeddha
44.     Riyadh
45.     Jakarta
46.     Manila
47.     Mumbai
48.     Wuhan
49.     New Delhi
50.     Nairobi

Second only to Frankfurt, London was let down by its poor air quality, congestion levels and its housing crisis. In the city’s profile, it is described as becoming a victim of its own success.

“For years London has suffered from under-investment in its infrastructure and is struggling to meet the demands of the existing population, let along the impact of growth,” with congestion and ageing infrastructure at the heart of its current issues, says the profile.

But the profile does identify that the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has recognised these issues and has launched his 2020 Vision, which aims to make London “the greatest city on earth.”

Manchester, ranked 14th overall, scored well socially (health, education, work-life balance), while Birmingham peaked at 10th for its environmental characteristics (greenhouse gas emissions and recycling rates), ranking 19th overall.

The report concludes that cities across the world are failing to meet the needs of their people, particularly developing cities in Asia, including Manila and Wuhan, while cities that perform well economically – New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong – are becoming less and less affordable.

John Batten, global cities director at Arcadis, said: “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. 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.”