Manila ranks among lowest in 2018 Sustainable Cities Index

Manila Smog

Manila, Philippines – Manila landed at the bottom-most quartile the 2018 edition of Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index (SCI) due to its low scores on sustainability despite “promising” economic growth.

According to the consultancy firm, the SCI ranks 100 cities on three pillars of sustainability — people, planet and profit — which are “closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

For “people,” which refers to a social factor that ‘reflects social mobility and quality of opportunity and life’, Manila ranked 93rd.

For “planet,” which refers to an environmental factor that ‘describes management of energy use, pollution and emissions,’ Manila was at 91st place.

Manila was 98th in terms of “profit,” which refers to an economic factor that ‘assesses business environment and economic performance.’

This brought Manila to the 95th place in the over-all ranking, which is topped by London (1st), Stockholm (2nd) and Edinburgh (3rd).

For Asia, Singapore tops the list as the most sustainable city, followed by Hong Kong and Seoul.

Manila, on the other hand, ranks 21st out of 23 Asian cities in the SCI, besting Hanoi in Vietnam and Kolkata in India.

In a release, Arcadis said the data consistently highlights an educated and healthy workforce, effective low-carbon infrastructure and ease of doing business as “foundations of city sustainability.”

“Affordability, access to public transport and income inequality are the big swing variables that make or break a city’s sustainable success,” it said.


In spite of the low ranking, Arcadis said the index sees “opportunities” for Manila to improve its sustainability and livability.

According to the consultancy firm, Manila falls under the “evolutionary city” cluster, which consists of “rapidly growing cities in emerging markets, with core citizen experiences centering around informal entrepreneurialism.”

Arcadis warned that this “disruption” might affect jobs, crime levels and even mobility choices.

It also stressed that “support from enterprises and the local community is important in shaping a positive citizen experience as the city gains momentum in improving the quality of life.”

In line with this, Manila has been urged to “boost its sustainability and livability by enhancing transportation network and resiliency against natural disasters.”

Arcadis also emphasized that “focus on building resiliency and investment in infrastructures to ease congestions will be the key to achieving sustainable success for Manila.”

“Infrastructure development is accelerating in Manila, providing much needed expansion to support the future requirements of the rapidly urbanizing city,” Ross McKenzie, the country head of the Philippines, said on the release.

“With so much advancement in construction innovation technology in recent years, Manila is poised to develop solutions that are resilient to future risks while remaining cost effective,” he added.

McKenzie also emphasized that Manila’s policy makers “play a key role by helping create long-term sustainable policies and embrace International best practice and lessons learnt.”

“With much of the progress being supported and driven by the private sector, city policy makers will play a key role by helping create long-term sustainable policies and embrace International best practice and lessons learnt,” he said.

“Local businesses will need to adapt to manage the mobility and resiliency challenges in the next few years while development continues,” he added.

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