The 10 Most Sustainable Cities In The World

Interest September 7, 2017 By Vincent

The Arcadis Sustainable Cities index ranked 100 cities worldwide to find which was the most sustainable with some surprising results. Using a measure that took into account the three factors of people, planet, and profit. 'People' looked at social performance and quality of life, how much people earn compared to what free time they have etc.

'Planet' covered green issues such as energy use, pollution, and emissions whilst 'Profit' looked at business environment and health of the economic circumstances. Compiling and ranking all of these three factors, these cities were then ranked from best to worst. Here are the top 10.

10. Munich, Germany

Known for its Oktoberfest beer festival and centuries-old buildings, the Bavarian capital comes in at number 10 with a ranking of 68.6%. The third largest city in Germany, Munich is known for its liberal political culture, diverse nightlife and investment in its art and culture scenes and so is unsurprisingly ranked so highly.

Vlada Photo/

On the edge of the Bavarian Alps, nearby scenery and ski resorts have also known to be quite stunning.

9. Prague, Czech Republic

The home of brewing culture with a wealth of bars and clubs serving cheap, local beer in amongst the historical architecture dating back to the 14th century, Prague has a chequered history but is now re-establishing itself as a major European capital post-communism.

With a ranking of 69.1%, it attracts many tourists due to it being so cheap and full of history and varied nightlife options.

8. Hamburg, Germany

Coming in with a ranking of 69.2%, Hamburg is a major port city in Germany and it is connected to the North Sea by the river Elbe and traditionally, its economy has been tied to shipbuilding and trade via the river. Bigger than Munich, it is the second largest city in Germany and is a transport hub.


It has also become a media hub with hi-tech industries and liberal intellectuals being drawn to the city.

7. Seoul, South Korea

The capital of South Korea, Seoul's history stretches back over 2,000 years and brings ultra-modern technology and industry together with ancient and rich history. In fact, it is a tech hub and is the world's most wired city and the most tech ready as well.

CJ Nattanai/

Situated on the Han river, it is also a  UNESCO City of Design with a ranking of 69.6%.

6. Frankfurt, Germany

The third and final German city on this list with a country high of 70.6%, Frankfurt is smaller than either Munich or Hamburg but is still the fifth largest in Germany. With many cultural and educational facilities and institutions, it attracts people from across the globe to its limits and around a quarter of its population are foreign nationals.



A commerce hub and center for several banking institutions, its high education levels also flow into its financial sector.

5. London, UK

The capital of Britain and a financial monster, being the only AAA++ ranked city in terms of finance outside of New York, London receives the majority of investment in the United Kingdom and is a cultural hub of activity due to its diverse makeup and various other reasons.



Rising house prices and criticisms about forcing lower income families out of the city stopped it from rising any higher but a center of international trade and many green initiatives like publicly available bicycles and low pollution zones give it a ranking of 73.2%.

4. Vienna, Austria

With a rich sense of history combined with modern and burgeoning businesses, Vienna is the perfect mix of culture and commerce to come so high on the list with stunning architecture, lush, green parks, and booming industry. A city of innovation, it is often used as a case study by city planners due to its success in these areas and with 3.7 million tourists a year, it is still a highly regarded place to live.


Also considered the most liveable city in the world it has an impressive ranking of 73.4%.

3. Stockholm, Sweden

The capital of Sweden is known for its liberal attitudes and progressive views on public spending and green policies. The cultural, media, political, and economic center of Sweden, it sprawls across 14 islands and a lot of its trade and travel is built around waterways.


Part of its 73.9% is down to its rich history and culture as the city even has a World Heritage Site in Drottningholm Palace.

2. Singapore

The city-state of Singapore hinges the vast majority of its economy on tourism so there it is little wonder it implements many rules on being sustainable with strict punishments for littering and chewing gum being banned. As such it is an incredibly clean city and its greening policy has covered the densely populated island with tropical flora, parks, and gardens.


An international transport hub and center for trade and commerce, its ranking is 74.1%.

1. Zurich, Switzerland

Filled with museums, parks, galleries, and theaters, Zurich is one of the world's largest financial hubs with an eclectic mix of culture and leisure all thrown in. A leader in green ideas, it is one of the most prominent cities in climate protection and has an array of fantastic public transport from train, tram, bus, boat and cable cars.


Despite being one of the most expensive cities on this list, its high level of education, great employment opportunities and cheap(ish) and available housing still makes it number 1 with a rating of 74.6%

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