Laying the sustainability bases in the cities

 For almost a decade, intergovernmental cooperation on urban affairs among EU member states has been focusing on issues related to urban sustainability.

The Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities (approved on the Informal Ministerial Meeting on Urban Development and Territorial Cohesion held on the Leipzig on May 2007) is a document of the Member States, which has ben drawn up with broad and transparent participation of Eurpean Stakeholders.

Based on the Leipzig Charter and following its principles, the RFSC (European Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities) was drawn. Its main points are:

  • An EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK to facilitate a common understanding and a dialogue of what integrated sustainable urban development is about.
  • A WEB TOOL which enable the self-assessment of an urban strategic project/programme against a set of sustainability criteria.
  • A BEST PRACTICES PORTAL to provide benchlearning facilities between EU cities.
  • A MONITORING TOOL which provide a set of indicators and a monitoring tool for the project/programme, linked to relevant EU references (key documents, key EU targets).

Read more about it at:


What criteria are followed to determine that one city is more sustainable than another?

Often, people only think at environmental level, but there are more points to consider to earn the title of sustainable city.

The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index (SCI) 2018 edition explores the sustainability of the city from the citizens’ perspective. Seeking to understand in greater depth how different cities allow different groups of citizens to meet their particular needs. Taken into account three main pillars: economic, environmental and social, different variables are analysed to choose the city rankings.


TOP 4 cities according to “The Sustainable Cities Index 2018”

Focusing on Figure 4: Planet sub-index, which measures the sustainable attributes of a city such as green areas and pollution, as well as the main indicators of environmental mitigation such as support for low-carbon transport.

We can say that the top 4 cities are:

  1. Stockholm
  2. Frankfurt
  3. Zurich
  4. Vienna

As the document points out, Stockholm leads the Sustainable Cities Index in this category, thanks to the investment in sustainable infrastructure, low emissions and good air quality. The capital, and most populated city, of Sweden, is undoubtedly one of the world references in urban sustainability.

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