The least sustainable cities in the world
On the flipside, there are several cities that need to work harder to become more sustainable.
1. Mexico City, Mexico
Coming bottom of our list, 0% of the city’s energy comes from renewable energy sources, with only two other cities scoring so low – Jakarta and Tokyo.
Mexico city is facing a huge water problem, with so much water being pumped from the aquifer that the city’s actually sinking, and is at risk of running out of water.8
2. Johannesburg, South Africa
With just 0.7% of the city’s energy coming from renewable sources, Johannesburg places second last on our list. Not only that, but the city only has 25 parks, which is the fourth-lowest on our list, alongside a long average commute length, at 22.72km.
With that being said, in 2017, Johannesburg was named as the most environmentally-friendly metropolitan area in South Africa, which shows just how much work the country has as a whole, to do, to be on a par with the likes of Europe, North America, and Australasia.9
3. Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia’s capital comes third last, with 0% of the city using renewable energy, and the sixth-longest average commute length on our list at 25.22km.
Many of Jakarta’s environmental issues stem from its high population density, alongside industrialisation, and the fact that the city’s air has been polluted for a long time, due to household emissions, and coal-fired powerplants. With that being said, the city is trying to reverse this through the creation of their National Strategic Policy, which has a target of managing 100% of their waste by 2025.10
4. Ljubljana, Slovenia
With the longest average commute length, at a staggering 60km, and the second-least number of parks at just 17, Ljubljana places fourth last on our list. Despite this, the city has a lot of sustainable initiatives in place – for instance, the city has been closed to motorised traffic since 2008, a lot of the buses run on methane, and there’s an electric car sharing scheme for Slovenian citizens.11
5. Detroit, USA
Rounding off our bottom five is Michigan’s Detroit, with its long history of car manufacturing perhaps making this result unsurprising.
Just 30.63% of the city’s energy comes from renewable sources, it only has 24 parks, making it the third-lowest on our list, and average commute lengths are the third-longest, at 36.26km.
The city is working hard to turn this around, with initiatives in place to achieve four key outcomes: to have a healthy population, to build affordable, quality homes, to have clean, connected neighbourhoods, and to make Detroit green.12