We hear the term “sustainable city” being thrown around all the time, but what does this mean, exactly? In a nutshell, sustainable cities are cities that work towards creating “environmentally, economically, and socially resilient surroundings” for their citizens. In doing so, these cities are careful not to compromise the needs of the future generation.
Want to learn about the world’s most sustainable cities, and find out where Singapore ranks on the list? Read on to find out more!
What Makes A Sustainable City?
If you’re wondering what factors make up a sustainable city, the Sustainable Cities Index states that these are Profit, People, and Planet.
Firstly, Profit measures the value of real estate, and takes into account the ease of setting up and running businesses.
Next, the People index deals with the living standard of the people, including literacy levels, the health of the population, and more.
Finally, the Planet factor refers to a hodgepodge of factors including transportation, water, sanitation, air pollution, and carbon emissions.
Together, these three factors are used to evaluate whether a city is deserving to rank on the list of the world’s most sustainable cities.
Top 15 Sustainable Cities In The World
Here are the top sustainable cities in the world, as compiled by the London-based Center for Economics and Business Research:
- Hong Kong
In the rest of our article, we discuss what selected cities from this list are doing to make their surroundings more liveable and eco-friendly.
In Frankfurt, over 52% of the city is covered by open green spaces, including water bodies and parks. (We call ourselves a Garden City here in Singapore, but green spaces only occupy 47% of the land in Singapore… meaning Frankfurt has got us beat!)
Greenery aside, Frankfurt’s government also has ambitious plans to be 100% dependent on renewable energy sources by 2050. Sounds like a great place to live in, doesn’t it?
London is one of the most densely populated cities in England, but the government is doing all it can to ensure that the city remains pleasant to live in.
Case in point? A decade or so ago, London introduced taxes on vehicles entering the central city during the weekends, so as to reduce the amount of congestion on the road. On top of that, the government has also put into place various policies that encourage residents to recycle their waste, and keep the streets of London clean.
Finally, those iconic red buses in London don’t just look pretty — they’re also specially outfitted to reduce carbon emissions by 40%.
Seoul, South Korea
In Seoul, it’s common for citizens to adopt energy conservation practices, and do their part to save the environment. For example, approximately 1.7 million folks in Seoul are enrolled in Eco Mileage, an incentive program for residents with exemplary energy-savings records. On top of that, an impressive 40% of households in Seoul are participating in some form of energy conservation.
Fun fact: Seoul also won the 2014 C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Award in the Green Energy category for its “Make Seoul a City of Sunlight” project back in 2014.
You might not think of Hong Kong as a city that’s particularly environmentally friendly, but its ranking in the world’s most sustainable cities list is fuelled by its strong financial standing. As we all know, Hong Kong is a major world financial centre, and real estate in Hong Kong is exorbitantly priced (property prices in Singapore pale in comparison). That aside, Hong Kong also rates highly when it comes to university education and life expectancy.
Singapore utilizes a boatload of measures to ensure that the city is both eco-friendly and sustainable, and while these may not always be popular with the locals (read: ERP taxes), they do contribute to the average Singaporean’s quality of living.
Because Singapore doesn’t have an adequate supply of fresh water, it’s also made it a priority to come up with innovative ways of reusing and maximizing its water, including saltwater desalination and more. Finally, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) also enforces certain “green living standards” that all buildings in Singapore are required to abide by.
Want To Go Green & Live More Sustainably?
Another thing that Singapore has done (in an effort to boost sustainability) is to liberalise its electricity market.
Today, consumers are free to purchase electricity from different vendors, and they can choose to sign up for green electricity plans that are more eco-friendly and sustainable.
Here at iSwitch, we offer electricity that is 100% carbon neutral, and consumers enjoy up to 30% savings when using iSwitch instead of other electricity retailers.
Keep in touch and join our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter!