Zurich nr 1 sustainable cities

Zurich leads the ranking sustainable cities top 100 2016

Zurich leads the ranking sustainable cities top100 2016

Zurich leads the list of the Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index 2016 top 100. Second in the 2016 list is Singapore.

The third place, which isn’t bad at all, is for Stockholm. 

The new ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index explores the three demands of social (People), environmental (Planet) and economic (Profit) to develop an indicative ranking of 100 of the world’s major cities.

  1. social measures social performance including the quality of life
  2. environmental captures green factors like energy, pollution and emissions
  3. economic assesses business, environment and economic health


Arcadis cites Zurich’s ambitious green energy goal of using just 2000 watts per person by 2050.

  • The city’s investments in sustainable energy sources and energy efficiency were key to its placement on the list.
  • Additionally, as a global financial center, Zurich was high for both economic success and the quality of life of its residents.
Zurich leads the ranking sustainable cities top 100 2016

ranking sustainable cities top 100 2016


In order to calculate the pillar’s score, indicators within each category are averaged. Received percentage scores reflect the place of a city in relation to the others. The most changes are made in the sub-index profit. Feedback from the first report from 2015 has been incorporated.

The study Sustainable Cities Index 2016, compiled for Arcadis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), ranks 100 of the world’s leading cities.

sustainable cities indicators

Click to increase the picture – Received percentage scores reflect the place of a city in relation to the others.

Economically balanced population

John Batten, Global Cities Director at Arcadis:

“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.”


The index is dominated by Central and Northern European cities in the top positions. The environmental and social pillar are clear challenges for north American cities compared to other advanced economies. The best ranked U.S. city is New York (26th globally), followed by Boston (34th globally).

The ranking of Canadian cities is better compared to counterparts from the United States.

The profit sub-index seems to be the passion amongst U.S. cities: New York, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, and Denver are placed in the top quarter globally.

African cities

Only four African cities are placed in the top 100 of the Sustainable Cities Index 2016.

  1. Johannesburg (90th globally)
  2. Cape Town (95th globally)
  3. Nairobi (98th globally)
  4. Cairo (99th globally)

Middle East

  1. The leader on environmental sustainability in the Middle East is Amman
  2. Muscat is placed in the top ten globally on the people sub-index.


Seoul is the leader on the people sub-index in Asia.


Urban sustainability 2016


The full report can also be downloaded. Click here


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