THE Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has released a report, the Sustainable Cities Index 2010, to provide a snapshot of comparative performance in each of Australia's 20 largest cities, with the aim of encouraging healthy competition, stimulating discussion and suggesting new ways of thinking about how our cities can be sustainable. It is the ACF's first report of such a type and is intended to be updated regularly.
The report states that that no city has done well across all 15 indicators, with each having its own unique strengths and weaknesses. However, in 2010 Darwin has emerged as Australia's most sustainable city, followed by Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. The ACF analysis found Newcastle, Geelong and Perth to be Australia's least sustainable cities.
The Sustainable Cities Index 2010 uses fifteen indicators, with cities ranked 1 to 20 in order of performance, with the lowest overall score determining which city is comparatively more sustainable. The indicators were divided into three categories: Environmental Performance indicators, comprising air quality, ecological footprint, green building, water, biodiversity; Quality of Life indicators, comprising health, density, subjective wellbeing, transport, employment; and Resilience indicators, consisting of climate change, public participation, education, household repayments and food production.
The overall ranking of cities, from most sustainable to least sustainable, were Darwin, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Townsville, Canberra-Queanbeyan, Hobart, Melbourne, Gold Coast-Tweed, Cairns, Bendigo, Toowoomba, Sydney, Launceston, Adelaide and Ballarat (tied), Albury-Wodonga, Wollongong, Newcastle, Geelong and Perth.
More information on the Sustainable Cities Index 2010 can be accessed from the Australian Conservation Foundation's website at <http://www.acfonline.org.au/>.