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The Most Sustainable Cities in the World, Ranked


A new index has ranked the world’s biggest and smallest cities for their efforts to thwart climate change and bring their municipalities into a sustainable future.

How are cities doing in future-proofing? A new comprehensive analysis ranked the world’s top cities for their efforts in greening innovative tech, transport, and healthcare, among other criteria.

The three cities that earned top sustainable marks based on population sizes are London, Copenhagen, and Lund, Sweden. The city rankings were broken down by populations over three million, 600,000 to 3 million, and 50,000 to 600,000.

The ranking

“We analysed thousands of cities across the world,” global parking tech company, EasyPark Group, said in a statement. “The index reveals the most intelligent cities in the world, or as we call them – Cities of the Future, ranked by score.”

Image courtesy Devin Avery on Unsplash

There were four criteria for ranking: the Digital Life of a city’s inhabitants, the Mobility Innovation, Business Tech Infrastructure, and Environmental Footprint. Most notably, the mobility and use of green transport, as well as the cities’ climate response including waste management, green buildings, and green energy, were most critical in the evaluations.

“Many governments are stepping up their responses to climate change and innovative solutions often begin in major cities before filtering out to the rest of the country,” said Johan Birgersson, CEO of EasyPark Group. “Many of the highest-scoring cities in the index score well for high electric car usage and low CO2 emissions rates, and while cities continue to expand, mobility is taking on an increasingly important role in people’s day to day lives. Whilst the world faces challenges relating to climate change, some of the most technologically advanced cities around the world have already adopted innovative services and solutions to optimize traffic flow and ease mobility, to make the city more liveable.”

The world’s most sustainable city is…

London was crowned the most intelligent and future-proof sustainable city in the 3 million-plus population range. The Royal Family has helped to usher in sustainability measures such as off-shore wind energy. Prince Charles and Prince William both have entered television with programming around the climate crisis. London is also a top destination for plant-based dining and home to the Veganuary campaign that encourages giving up animal products for the month of January to improve personal and planetary health.

Image courtesy Eva Dang on Unsplash

Copenhagen was the top city in the 600,000 to 3 million range, and Lund, Sweden, was the top in the small city category.

“It is interesting to see patterns in development forming within continents. Whilst metropolitan areas in Europe score well across the various size categories, the study shows that Scandinavian cities all rank particularly highly. It is evident that these countries are at the cutting edge of adopting new technologies,” Birgersson said. “Looking at urban areas with between 600,000 and 3 million inhabitants, 50 percent of the top 10 cities are in Scandinavia. This is also the case for cities with between 50,000 and 600,000 inhabitants, where 90 percent of the top 10 are from these countries. It is clear that Scandinavian nations are doing all they can to provide sustainable and liveable environments for their citizens.”

Top ten smart cities overall

1. London, UK
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Lund, Sweden
4. Stockholm, Sweden
5. Oslo, Norway
6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
7. New York City, USA
8. San Francisco, USA
9. Singapore
10. Zurich, Switzerland

Top ten cities population 3 million +

1. London, UK 
2. New York, USA 
3. San Francisco, USA 
4. Singapore, Singapore 
5. Berlin, Germany 
6. Rotterdam, Netherlands 
7. Seattle, USA 
8. Seoul, South Korea 
9. Washington D.C.
10. Manchester, UK 

Top ten cities population between 600,000 and 3 million

1. Copenhagen, Denmark 
2. Stockholm, Sweden 
3. Oslo, Norway 
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands 
5. Zurich, Switzerland 
6. Gothenburg, Sweden 
7. Helsinki, Finland 
8. Boston, USA 
9. Utrecht, Netherlands 
10. Edinburgh, UK 

Top ten cities population between 50,000 and 600,000

1. Lund, Sweden 
2. Stavanger, Norway 
3. Espoo, Finland 
4. Malmo, Sweden 
5. Aalborg, Denmark 
6. Aarhus, Denmark 
7. Trondheim, Norway 
8. Bergen, Norway 
9. Porvoo, Finland 
10. Cambridge, UK 

Read the full report here.

Related: Travel More Sustainably, Says, Google. It Just Launched An Eco Hotel Finder to Help.


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