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Sustainable Cities Around the World

A well-designed city is highly sustainable.

With green spaces, bike routes, and good public transportation systems, cities can be great for the environment.

People living in city centers are less likely to drive their cars downtown due to the frustration of getting stuck in traffic and the hassle of trying to find parking, which means that more people in cities enjoy the health benefits of walking and cycling.

Given this trend, it’s unsurprising that those living in the downtown areas tend to be slimmer and healthier than people living outside these urban cores. However, sustainability encompasses more than just environmentalism and health.

The Ethisphere Institute has named the top 20 twenty global sustainability centers – large and mid-sized cities with the best sustainability plans in place for the near future. These cities were ranked not only on where they are now, but also on where they should be in 2020 based on their sustainability plans.

Key sustainability criteria included environmental plan and progress; health and recreation; education; arts and culture; transportation and housing; economy and business development; regulatory framework, law enforcement, and transparency; media and speech and innovation and investment.

Ethisphere’s picks for the top 20 sustainability centers (in no particular order) are:

Toronto, Canada;
Singapore, Singapore;
Hyderabad, India;
Cape Town, South Africa;
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates;
New York City, U.S.;
London, U.K.;
Melbourne, Australia;
Curitiba, Brazil;
Frankfurt, Germany;
Copenhagen, Denmark;
Doha, Qatar;
Edinburgh, UK;
Helsinki, Finland;
Oslo, Norway;
Portland, U.S.;
Reykjavik, Iceland;
Victoria, Canada;
Wellington, New Zealand;
Rotterdam, the Netherlands

For more information on why these cities were selected as global sustainability centers, see 2020 Global Sustainability Centers report by Stefan Linssen and Christopher Sindik on the Ethisphere Institute website.

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