European cities lead the way on urban sustainability, taking 16 of the top 20 places. Singapore features second overall and is the leading Asian city. Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index reveals extremes in the performance of individual cities. Cities encouraged to put people at the center of urban sustainable development.

Zurich leads the world for sustainability – alongside other European cities such as Stockholm, Vienna and London – according to the Sustainable Cities Index from Arcadis, the leading global Design & Consultancy for natural and built assets.

The index was compiled for Arcadis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) and explores the three pillars of sustainability – social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (profit) to develop an indicative ranking of 100 of the world’s leading cities. The overall index is informed through an analysis of 32 different indicators and is broken down into an overall index and three sub-indices across each pillar.

Well-established European cities dominate the top of the overall ranking making up 16 of the top 20 positions. They are joined by the advanced Asian cities of Singapore (in second place), Seoul (7th) and Hong Kong (16th) as well as Australia’s capital, Canberra (18th). Zurich took top place thanks to its particularly high rating for environmental and economic sustainability.

John Batten, Global Cities Director at Arcadis said: “Cities have unique identities that are heavily influenced by their cityscape, economy and culture. Some cities, particularly established European cities such as Zurich which tops our index, are positioned within a moderate climate and have an economically balanced population which gives them a clear advantage when it comes to their sustainability. Others have to deal with issues including extreme climates, rapid urbanization and lack of financial resources which can hold them back. However, as our index shows, all have their urban challenges and none of the cities can claim to have earned the title of being a completely sustainable city. For city authorities grappling with their own issues, the opportunity to compare their sustainability with similar cities which are often outside their own countries is an appealing one.”

Overall the top ten and bottom ten cities in the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index are:

Top ten               Bottom ten

1. Zurich            91. Bengaluru

2. Singapore     92. Mumbai

3. Stockholm    93. Chengdu

4. Vienna           94. Wuhan

5. London          95. Cape Town

6. Frankfurt      96. Manila

7. Seoul              97. New Delhi

8. Hamburg      98. Nairobi

9. Prague           99. Cairo

10. Munich        100. Kolkata

Source: Arcadis