Where Are Australia's Most Sustainable Cities?

australian sustainable cities image

Image: ACF

Australia maybe the world's sixth largest country, but over 80% of its 23 million people live within 100 kilometres of the coast. This makes it one of the most urbanised nations in the world.

So the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) set out to investigate which of the country's 20 largest cities is the greenest. The results are contained within their just released Sustainable Cities Index, which ranks Australia's metropolises
"with the aim of encouraging healthy competition, stimulating discussion and suggesting new ways of thinking about how our cities can be sustainable."

The winner for 2010 came as bit of a surprise to this writer. At first glance I'd have considered it close to the city that came last.But then I wasn't using the detailed project methodology that the ACF based on work by Forum for the Future in the UK (although adapting it for the Antipodes.) 15 performance indicators across three aspects of sustainability were considered and ranked equally. These were:

Environmental Performance indicators
Air Quality, Biodiversity, Ecological Footprint, Green Building and Water.

Quality of Life indicators
Density, Employment, Health, Subjective Wellbeing and Transport

Resilience indicators
Climate Change, Education, Food Production, Household Repayments and Public Participation

Crunching the numbers yielded by such indicators gave a final ranking thus:

1. Darwin
2. Sunshine Coast
3. Brisbane
4. Townsville
5. Canberra-Queanbeyan
6. Hobart
7. Melbourne
8. Gold Coast-Tweed
9. Cairns
10. Bendigo
11. Toowoomba
12, Sydney
13. Launceston
14. Adelaide (equal 14th)
14. Ballarat (equal 14th)
15. Albury-WodongaWollongong
16. Wollongong
17. Newcastle
18. Geelong
19. Perth

Before any Aussies beat their chest, or gnash their teeth, about where their favourite city ranked, they might wish to read the more detailed explanations of why the results came about.

There is a simple visual Comparative Table (PDF) or the more detailed
Sustainable Cities Index Report (PDF.)

More Australia and Sustainability:
Australia Loves Winning Environmental Impact Trophies
We Win Yet Again. Australia Amongst the World's Most in Debt
Australia Has The Biggest Homes in the World
Australia, Drunk on Coal, Remains World's Largest Carbon Emitter
Australia: The Politics of Environment - A Brief Round-Up
World First? Australia Switches Off Incandescent Bulbs
A Sunburnt Country's Embarrassment of Energy Riches

Related Content on Treehugger.com