Top 10 sustainable cities (and what you can learn from each one)

Wed, 2013-09-11 06:02 -- Jesse Berst

The inaugural City Climate Leadership Awards have just been announced. To be strictly accurate, these awards don't rank the planet's 10 most sustainable cities. Rather, they measure sustainability in 10 narrow categories.

But even though these cities aren't necessarily models of sustainability overall, all 10 have at least one thing they are doing as good or better than anyone on the planet. Below is a list of the cities and the area you should study in each one. You can find more at the award website, or at this overview from Fast Company magazine. – Jesse Berst

Bogota's Bus Rapid TransitBogotá: Urban Transportation -- Bogotá's famous Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system seen here, which was launched way back in 2000 and now serves 70% of the city's population.

Copenhagen: Carbon Measurement & Planning a plan to make the city completely carbon neutral by 2025.

Melbourne: Energy Efficient Built Environment a financing program that helps building owners with energy and water retrofits.

Mexico City: Air Quality a program that has dramatically cut pollution over the past 20 years.

Munich: Green Energya plan to power the city completely with renewables by 2025.

New York: Adaptation & Resilience a post-Sandy action plan that included 250 infrastructure initiatives.

Rio de Janeiro: Sustainable Communitiesa revitalization plan to re-urbanize all of Rio's slums by 2020.

San Francisco: Waste Management – a program that diverts 80% of all trash from landfills, with the goal to bring that to 100% by 2020.

Singapore: Intelligent City Infrastructure – the Intelligent Transport System, a collection of different smart transportation initiatives.

Tokyo: Finance & Economic Development the world's first carbon cap and trade program, which has already cut emissions by 13%.


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.