Doha is the third most sustainable city in the region, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index from Arcadis, a leading global natural and build asset design and consultancy firm.
The index, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), explores the three demands of social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (profit) to develop an indicative ranking of 50 of the world’s leading cities.
Dubai sits in first place among the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi and Doha. Jeddah and Riyadh lead the way on environmental sustainability in the region. Doha performs stronger on profit factors than people and planet.
The 2015 report finds that no utopian city exists, with city leaders having to manage a complex balancing act between the three pillars of sustainability.
“The trade-off between planet and profit is most starkly seen in the Middle East where Dubai and Doha score much lower on environmental factors than economic ones,” said Terry Tommason, Doha city executive of big urban clients at Arcadis.
“Cities in the Middle East have seen the highest real term population growth over the past five years, with Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi experiencing a rise of over 30%, putting a strain on city infrastructure.”
Doha ranks 41st out of 50 cities evaluated, performing stronger on profit factors than people and planet due to its strong economic development and energy efficiency. Cost and ease of doing business are other areas where Doha performs best however the city scores lower in terms of transport
Tommason explained that conscious of its own environmental position, Qatar has made sustainable development a priority and is pushing ahead with a growth plan to grow more of its own food while sharing its knowledge and experience to help modern cities across the world thrive in an eco-friendly way.
Dubai leads in the Middle East at 33rd, followed by Abu Dhabi at 34th, Doha at 41st, Jeddah at 43rd and Riyadh at 44th. Dubai also takes first place in the region on the Profit sub-index at 27th, followed by Doha at 30th.
Abu Dhabi tops the Middle East people sub-index at 25th due to success in dependency ratio and income inequality. Meanwhile two cities in Saudi Arabia – Jeddah at 39th and Riyadh at 40th – lead the region’s way on planet factors, scoring particularly well for drinking water and sanitation and low levels of air pollution.
“Our world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Developing technology, population growth and the emergence of a truly global economy mean that the notion of national borders is becoming less relevant. Instead, we see the concept of the ‘global city’ taking hold,” Tommason observed.
“The Sustainable Cities Index highlights the areas of opportunity for cities, to inform decision-making and hopefully make them more sustainable economically, environmentally and for the welfare of their