The Austrian capital, Vienna, has returned as the most sustainable city in the world, according to the Economist’s annual report.
Vienna snatched first place from Auckland, New Zealand, which dropped to 34th place due to restrictions on the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit released on Thursday.
“Vienna, which dropped to 12th place in our ranking at the beginning of 2021 as its museums and restaurants closed, has since recovered to first place, a position it held in 2018 and 2019,” the report said.
“Stability and good infrastructure are the main charm of the city for its inhabitants, supported by good health care and many opportunities for culture and entertainment.”
The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, was not included this year after Russia invaded the country in late February, while the Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg fell in the rankings due to “censorship” and the effects of Western sanctions.
Europe had six of the top 10 cities.
The Austrian capital was followed by the Danish capital, Copenhagen, and the Swiss Zurich. The expatriate Swiss city of Geneva came in sixth, Frankfurt in Germany came in seventh and Amsterdam in the Netherlands came in ninth.
Canada did well too. Calgary came together in third place, followed by Vancouver in fifth place and Toronto in eighth.
Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place. The capital of France, Paris, came 19th, 23 places higher than last year. The Belgian capital, Brussels, was 24th, just behind Montreal, Canada.
Auckland’s drop in rankings reflects the changing landscape of the coronavirus pandemic last year, with vaccination allowing many societies to reopen.
While downgraded for its restrictions on Covid this year, they were responsible for winning first place in 2021, with the Economist saying at the time: “New Zealand’s tough lockdown has allowed their society to reopen and enable city citizens like Auckland and Wellington to enjoy a pre-pandemic-like lifestyle. “
Rawer, political reporter Thomas Coughlan then remarked: “I guess there is no pandemic here, so it is technically easier to be alive here than dead elsewhere.”
In this year’s ranking, the capital of the United Kingdom, London, was the 33rd most sustainable city in the world, while the Spanish Barcelona and Madrid came in 35th and 43rd place respectively.
Italian Milan was ranked 49th, the American city of New York in 51st place and Beijing in China came in 71st place.
Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, which was devastated by a harbor blast in 2020 and is battling a crippling economic crisis, was not included in the list of business destinations.
Neither did Kyiv, after the Russian invasion on February 24 forced the Economist to cancel its investigation in the city. Russia’s capital, Moscow, has seen its sustainability rank fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg has fallen by 13 places.
“Increased censorship accompanies the ongoing conflict,” the report said. “Russian cities see additional restrictions on culture and the environment as a result of Western economic sanctions.”
Other cities in Eastern Europe were considered less stable after the “escalating diplomatic tensions” over the war in Ukraine.
The capital of war-torn Syria, Damascus, has maintained its position as the least sustainable city on the planet.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report