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The Green City Index: How Sustainable is your City?

The Green City Index: How Sustainable is your City?

Currently, around 50% of the global population live in cities, and that figure is expected to increase to 60% by 2030.

Dr Roland Busch, the chief executive at Siemens’ infrastructure and cities unit, believes that “cities are the growth engines of the future, offering their populations greater opportunities for education, employment and prosperity. Yet, the negative effects of their growth can also result in traffic congestion, informal settlements, urban sprawl, environmental pollution, exploitation of resources and a significant contribution to climate change.”

One solution is sustainable cities. These are cities that integrate with the local environment, rather than just dominating it. They use sustainable methods to produce energy, recycle water, grow food, dispose of waste, and reduce general pollution to water, land, and the air.

To help determine the sustainability of modern cities around the world, and try to identify where improvements can be made the Economist Intelligence Unit and Siemens performed a joint study from which they created the Green City Index.

The Green City Index looked at over 120 cities from around the world and ranked them in several categories in an attempt to determine their eco-friendliness.

33 cities were ranked in Europe, with Copenhagen placed at the top, closely followed by Stockholm; then followed Oslo, Vienna, and Amsterdam.

27 cities were evaluated in the USA & Canada. San Francisco dominated the field, followed by Vancouver, New York, Seattle, and Denver.

22 Asian cities are included in the index with only one, Singapore, actually being ranked as ‘well above average’. Six cities only achieved a score of ‘above average’, Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, and Yokohama, and the rest were ranked ‘average’ or below.

Latin American cities also performed poorly, again, with just one achieving a rank of ‘well above average’, the Brazilian city of Curitiba. Five other cities then make up the ‘above average’ position, those being, Belo Horizonte, Bogota, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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  • John Morgan on May 25 2013 said:
    A city's size is largely determined by the amount of agricultural land around it (since food is the thing everybody must have every day) - e.g. Toronto is big in agricultural southern Ontario while Sudbury which gets metals out of the ground for Toronto is small - since metals are things which people do not need to consume every day in as large quantities as food - therefore it is hard to see that a city would not dominate the region around it when that relationship is determined by the city's most important import- food and when the latter comes mainly from the city's hinterland (water used for things other than drinking is also consumed from the surrounding region which reinforces those numbers ); and that will be true even if/ when people are moved out of sprawling suburbs . So decisions made in the largest city in a region will always profoundly affect the region as will physical structures like irrigation even in cases where commutes do not take place far from urban cores. In other words is the article proposing that the hingerland be converted to a wildlife park.
  • Scottar on September 29 2012 said:
    It's mostly a smoke and mirrors game. People in large metropolitans can live more efficiently then those in the suburbs. But I personally don't like rat city living standards. Give me 30 acres and good mountain country to be self sufficient.
  • Crazy Cooter on September 29 2012 said:
    San Francisco? Seriously?

    Frankly, the whole idea of millions of people being piled into a very small space and getting the label "sustainable" because they engage in "eco-friendliness" is laughable.

    Perhaps the city of SF should include all the outlying suburbs which are by definition extensions of the city. The borders are arbitrary in the sense of sustainability.

    This is akin, in my mind, to CA exporting its energy production to neighboring states to have lower state emissions (i.e. the pollution is generated in NV, counts against that state, and the energy is imported to CA where the emissions are not counted - making the state appear green).

    I don't wan't to bash eco-friendly systems, I think it is the way forward, but without qualifying all the different ways that make these cities special, perhaps some charts showing how they compare, this is just ... marketing fluff.

    Someone who is serious about finding an "eco friendly" city/town can do MUCH better than a large suburban trap.

    Cooter

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