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To evaluate the development of cities, a mobility index of sustainable cities has been implemented. Without a doubt, the binding factors for a positive or negative evaluation are important at the moment of qualifying the position of a city in comparison to the rest of the world.

Assessment of the Development of Cities

The growth of urbanization and the need for appropriate infrastructure set challenges in the analysis of how cities should be. In order to provide clarity in the context of city development, a measurement system called Sustainable Cities Mobility Index has been proposed.

Arcadis, a design and engineering company, together with the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), established the Sustainable Cities Mobility Index 2017, which presents the performance of 92 cities in the world. In this respect, three factors were needed to measure the index: people, the planet and profitability.

Megacity Hong Kong as Number One Case Study

Hong Kong is a city with an estimated seven and a half million inhabitants and one of the most populous cities in the world.
Arcadis has chosen Hong Kong as the number one city and as an example for the Sustainable Cities Mobility Index 2017. The arguments given by the consultancy have attributed the recognition to the integral mobility, considering the capacity to create economic opportunities and to enrich the lives of the citizens, companies, and tourists.

  • With respect to the People factor, the sophisticated transportation system has allowed residents to move easily around the city as well as connecting workers, businesses and industries. Hong Kong has ferries, mini busses, and a major railway system comprising underground, land and light railway services.
  • In terms of the Profit factor, a high level of sustainability is highlighted. The transport system is accessible and allows for cost-effective mobility.
  • However, the existing classification with regard to the particular situation of the Environment factor places Hong Kong in a vulnerable position: Vehicle emission levels, lack of infrastructure to motivate bicycle usage as a means of sustainable transport, as well as lack of commitment to reducing transport emissions imply a negative classification in the Sustainable City Mobility Index.

So…Why number one?

Rethinking Indices

It is clear that the sustainable development of cities inevitably requires mobility that contributes to sustainability. Sustainable mobility implies all actions that tend to reduce the negative effects of transport through responsible mobility practices, implementation of technologies which allow expanding sustainable mobility options and a clear perspective of administrations in the promotion of these practices.

It is important to have a measurement system that reflects the development of cities in their fullness, considering economic growth, social and environmental factors, in sum, as determinants. But, at the same time, it is necessary to emphasize that the recognition of a city as “the best” in terms of sustainable mobility indices must be committed to environmental sustainability indices. In this sense, it is impossible to think about the future and development of cities without including the quality of the life of citizens.