Boston and NYC in Top 5 U.S. Sustainable Cities

September 12, 2016

The 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index report ranks Eco News Network’s hometown of Boston #5 in North America for sustainability. New York City leads the United States for sustainability, according to the Sustainable Cities Index from Arcadis. Find out where you home city ranks. The report measures sustainability across social (People), environmental (Planet) and economic (Profit) factors for 100 world cities. Boston iStock_000006244918Large copy

The index analyzes 32 indicators including income inequality, education, crime, affordability (People); energy consumption, drinking water, sanitation, green space (Planet), and transportation, economic development, and employment (Profit).

Key Boston rankings
# 34 worldwide for sustainability
# 2 in the U.S. for sustainability
# 41 worldwide for People and social sustainability
# 45 worldwide for environmental sustainability (Planet)
# 22 worldwide for economic sustainability, beating Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington, D.C. in the U.S.

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In North America, 63 percent of cities measured for this index rank in the top 50 for Profit, but this figure falls to 27 percent for the People category and 50 percent for Planet.

U.S. cities rank just below most other developed nations in sustainability and are most challenged in two categories: People and Planet. To achieve greater sustainability in the People category, U.S. cities need to improve social factors such as work-life balance, crime, health, and affordability. To improve in the Planet sub-index, U.S. cities need to lower their per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, use less energy, and generate more urban green space.

Top 10 North America Rankings

  1. Vancouver
  2. New York
  3. Montreal
  4. Toronto
  5. Boston
  6. San Francisco
  7. Seattle
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. Denver
  10. Los Angeles

In the Arcadis 2016 Sustainable Cities Index, U.S. cities rank just below most other developed nations in sustainability and are most challenged in two categories: People and Planet. To achieve greater sustainability in the People category, U.S. cities need to improve social factors such as work-life balance, crime, health, and affordability. To improve in the Planet sub-index, U.S. cities need to lower their per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, use less energy, and generate more urban green space.

New York City, with nearly 9 million residents and serving as an international hub for commerce and politics, tops the Profit category and ranks higher than its U.S. counterparts in environmental efforts. However, it falls to #15 in North America and #77 worldwide in the People category, primarily due to the high cost of housing and a high consumer price index. It’s noted that the NYC Mayor’s Office has taken steps to improve poverty and increase minimum wage by 2019 while providing more affordable housing options and better access to early childhood education.

The Planet sub-index of the sustainable cities report, says that NYC has worked to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the city has placed additional emphasis on infrastructure expansion and modernization. New York, like Boston and other coastal cities, faces threats from rising sea levels and potential damage from intense storm surge but is making headway with designs for flood protection systems.

West Coast U.S. cities are not far behind NYC with San Francisco and Seattle coming in as the third and fourth highest ranked U.S. sustainable cities. Both west coast cities have a health-conscious population, low amounts of air pollution, reduced homicide rates, perform well in ease of doing business and enjoy economic vitality. But skyrocketing property prices make it difficult to find affordable housing and the amount of green space per city size is lacking compared to NYC or Washington, D.C.

In the middle of the U.S. rankings is Los Angeles, a highly educated and healthy city rated well for ease of doing business. However, it ranks low due to frequent smog, reduced affordability, and insufficient green space. It also continues to face environmental risks from drought and water scarcity.

For more details or to read the report visit Arcadis.

Infographic courtesy of Arcadis.

-Eco News Network

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