PwC: Stockholm, Sydney Top Sustainable City Ranking


by | May 20, 2014

pwc-sustainable-citiesStockholm and Sydney are the most sustainable cities in the world, a ranking driven by air quality, recycled waste efforts and public park space, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report.

The firm’s sixth edition of the Cities of Opportunity report, which ranks the top 30 cities from across the globe, measures 10 key indicators including sustainability. Overall, London was picked as the top “city of opportunity,” a designation that includes other factors beyond sustainability.

Under the sustainability section, the report rankings focused on five key  factors: natural disaster risk, thermal comfort, recycled waste, air pollution and public park space.

Stockholm moved five places, from sixth to first, in the sustainability category largely due to PwC’s recalibration of the recycled waste category, which the firm now defines as all waste diverted from landfill. Previously, cities such as Stockholm were penalized for “low” percentages of recycled waste because its waste-to-energy programs are so successful.

Paris and Berlin tied for second place in the sustainability section. Both cities received high marks for recycled waste and natural disaster risk. Paris only received an 18 out of a high score of 30 for air pollution. Earlier this year, pollution levels spurred French authorities to place a one-day restriction on Paris drivers.

Other top sustainable cities include San Francisco in the No. 5 spot, followed by Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Moscow, Madrid, New York, Milan, Buenos Aires, London and Nairobi.

PwC’s study shows that top ranked cities embody the energy and opportunity that draw people to city life. In a rapidly urbanizing world, high performing cities also find the right balance between social and economic strengths, PwC says.

Cities worldwide face the challenge of growing economically, while balancing the social and environmental side to remain sustainable, according to a report released in April.

To succeed, cities need urban projects that have a clear vision and goals, are well managed and involve a broad range of parties working together, the report says.

The report, produced by  the European Institute for Comparative Urban Research (Euricur), PwC and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, analyzes 24 urban projects worldwide. The report says there’s not one single path to sustainable competitiveness. However, there are certain ingredients to success, including an urban manager with multiple skills who can connect and distribute power to other stakeholders within and outside the public organization.

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