Sustainability is a term used to define human actions and activities that lead to supplying the current needs of human beings without compromising the future of the next generations. In other words, sustainability is directly related to economic and material development, but in a way that isn’t aggressive to the environment, by using natural resources intelligently, so as not to deplete them. By following this parameter, humanity can guarantee sustainable development.
With this objective in mind, there is an initiative on a worldwide scale that aims to make cities, especially big ones, increasingly sustainable and eco-friendly. Zurich, for example, leads the world ranking in this respect, and presents the greatest balance by conciliating the needs of people, of the environment, and of economic development.
The evaluation for measuring the sustainability of cities is the result of an annual study accomplished by the Center for Economics and Business Research. It’s based on three sub-indexes – People, Planet and Profit (economy) – defined in the study as the “ pillars of sustainability” .
The category of “ People” examines the quality of life of the citizens, which includes indicators such as health, life expectancy, literacy, cost of living, income, social inequality, crime rate, and the balance between private life and work. On the other hand, the category “ Planet” quantifies the “ green factors” , which include energy consumption, the presence of parks, the emission of greenhouse gases, the production of energy through renewable sources, the risk of natural catastrophes, potable water and pollution. Lastly, there is “Profit”, which analyzes the indicators that measure the economic health of a city, based on gross domestic product per capita, employment rate, infrastructure, transportation, tourism, and ease in doing business.
See below the latest ranking of the most sustainable cities in the world:
- Zurich – 74.6%
- Singapore – 74.1%
- Stockholm – 73.9%
- Vienna – 73.4%
- London – 73.2%
- Frankfurt – 70.6%
- Seoul – 69.6%
- Hamburg – 69.2%
- Prague – 69.1%
- Munich – 68.6%
It is to be noted that European and Asian cities occupy the highest positions as the most sustainable cities in the world. This is because European countries are outstanding in all the sub-indexes studied. They must be considered models for the whole world, along with the other cities in the ranking, so that everyone understands that there are ways to develop in harmony with nature.