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Arcadis: Sustainable Cities Index 2024

by Madaline Dunn

Arcadis has published its Sustainable Cities Index 2024, which assesses the global landscape across four pillars of sustainability:

  • Planet,
  • People,
  • Profit, and
  • Progress.

The fourth pillar, added this year, demonstrates the impact of sustainability interventions over the last decade.

Its sixth edition comes nearly 2,000 days until the 2030 deadline for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The assessment spans 67 different metrics, with data points including air pollution, waste management, and investment in low-carbon infrastructure (including renewable energy and sustainable transport), as well as factors such as economic performance, social equity, and resilience to natural disasters.

Overall, Amsterdam topped the 2024 Sustainable Cities Index, followed by Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Munich.

Karachi came in at last place, after Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Cape Town, while Cairo came in at 94th.

It was shared that overall high performance in the Planet pillar was associated with overall success.

Eight of the top ten cities for Planet also appear in the overall top 10, for example.

It was also found that high performance on the Profit metric does not necessarily come at the expense of environmental sustainability, with Amsterdam also ranking at the top of the Profit pillar.

North American cities dominate the Profit pillar, with San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, New York, and Seattle all appearing in the top ten for Profit.

European cities were spotlighted for making significant strides with regard to progress.

Meanwhile, the report noted that the dominance of Asian cities such as Jakarta, Wuhan, and Shanghai at the top of the Progress pillar shows that, in cities with limited prior sustainable infrastructure or practices, early steps can have an “enormous impact” in generating momentum.

Read the full report here.

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