The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022

Report shows Europe has most sustainable cities in the world: US cities lag behind despite having strong economies.

Published: 21 Jun 2022
Author: WBCSD Communications
Type: Member Spotlight
  • Sustainable Cities Index 2022 evaluates overall the sustainability performances of 100 global cities.
  • European capitals rank as the world’s most sustainable cities.
  • North American cities lead in profit and economic success but lag in the people and planet rankings.
  • Greater focus on prosperity and quality of life is needed over the single-minded pursuit of profit.

On 14 June, Arcadis released its 5th edition of its longstanding report, the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022. The report demonstrates that in a world confronted with series of challenges like climate change, urbanization and dwindling resources, in order to be truly prosperous, cities need to pursue sustainability. The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022, examines 100 global cities and takes a holistic view of sustainability to highlight the evolving challenges facing cities.

The top 10 cities in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022 are:
1. Oslo
2. Stockholm
3. Tokyo
4. Copenhagen
5. Berlin
6. London
7. Seattle
8. Paris
9. San Francisco
10. Amsterdam

Leading the index is the Norwegian city of Oslo, followed closely by many European cities. Tokyo, Seattle and San Francisco were also recognized among the top ten most sustainable cities. Ranking cities on three pillars of sustainability: planet, people, and profit, the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022 is comprised of 51 different metrics across 26 separate indicator themes; arrayed under the three pillars. The research also highlights various strengths and opportunities of specific cities, to simplify the complex factors that contribute to the urban experience.

The report cautions cities against profitability that yields prohibitive cost-of-living increases. Exacerbated wealth gaps can increase income inequality, homelessness, and unemployment as seen in cities like San Francisco, Miami, and Sao Paulo. In contrast, those cities that invest their profits into social amenities and policies, and environmental actions aimed at improving quality of life for citizens, including Stockholm, Tokyo and Amsterdam, may find themselves on a more successful path toward long-term prosperity.

“Every city is unique with its own blend of strengths and weaknesses,” says Arcadis Global Cities Director, John Batten. “There is no single solution that can propel a city to be sustainable. Rising costs have affected cities around the globe, and it’s important to note that many cities are already at a tipping point. Our research found that many cities are quickly becoming, or already are, unaffordable. A profitable city alone is not sustainable if its citizens are being priced out.”

The cities included were chosen to provide an overview of the world’s urban environments, geographical coverage, levels of economic development, future growth expectations and sustainability challenges. The indicators were evaluated by Arcadis subject matter experts, and the metrics were selected based on information available across all cities and source credibility.

Please click the hyperlink to discover where your city ranks and to download the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022.

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