Dubai has been named the most sustainable city in the Middle East but no city in the region managed to make the global top 50 places, according to a new report by Arcadis.
The Sustainable Cities Index ranked 100 cities based on the three pillars of sustainability – social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (profit).
Dubai ranked 52nd, six places ahead of its neighbour Abu Dhabi and scored highly in the economic sub-category but came nearly bottom in the environmental sub-category.
Despite its high profit showing (4th), Dubai encounters particular challenges on the planet sub-index coming in 96th in the world.
Generally, Middle Eastern cities demonstrate large differences within the region with Muscat placing in the top ten globally on the people sub-index but ranked 85th in the world for economic sustainability.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait City ranked 70th, Doha 72nd, Muscat 75th, Riyadh 76th and Jeddah 81st.
Globally, the report said European cities lead the way on urban sustainability, taking 16 of the top 20 places while Singapore features second overall and is the leading Asian city.
Zurich leads the world for sustainability – alongside other European cities such as Stockholm, Vienna and London – according to the index.
Zurich took top place thanks to its particularly high rating for environmental and economic sustainability.
John Batten, global cities director at Arcadis said: “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 urbanisation 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.”
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