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Singapore, Tokyo among top ten best cities for urban sustainability

Siemens and C40 award ten cities for excelling in various climate action initiatives, such as establishing energy efficient environments, building smart infrastructure and stimulating economic development

Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group awarded ten cities for excellence in urban sustainability in an awards ceremony on Wednesday held at The Crystal in London, an exhibition space for the engineering and electronics firm’s sustainable cities initiative.

The inaugural awards by Siemens and C40, a global network for eco-cities, the City Climate Leadership Awards included Asian global capitals Singapore and Tokyo in the top ten list of cities addressing climate change. 

Each city was chosen for a particular exemplary climate action such as on urban transportation, air quality, green energy, adaptation and resilience, and waste management.

Singapore won for Intelligent City Infrastructure and Tokyo for Finance and Economic Development. 

According to current C40 chair and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, “The C40 and Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards is dedicated to the idea that cities – by refusing to wait for action from national governments and international bodies – can lead the way in addressing the risks posed by climate change.”

Singapore has achieved an outstanding track record for its transportation system. It is one of the least congested major cities in the world. The key to its success is that the Singapore government understood early that an efficient and affordable transportation system is a crucial factor that will give it an edge over other major cities of the world

Lothar Herrmann, Siemens Singapore CEO

“The world’s cities are facing similar problems. And taken together they account for up to 70 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions,” said Roland Busch, chief executive officer of Siemens’ infrastructure and cities sector.

“We all know two things: the fight against climate change will be decided in cities. And it is through cooperation that we can tackle climate change,” he added.

This is why the awards programme was started, said Siemens. The partnership with the C40, which began earlier in April, is all about sharing research and technical expertise to the broad network of member cities to boost mitigation efforts. The international cooperation also includes enhancing the ability of cities to measure data, implement projects and monitor its progress through the C40 Measurement and Planning Initiative.      

The awards serve as benchmarks of innovative climate actions, showing urban hubs what projects could be applicable for their localities. 

The projects considered for the City Climate Leadership Awards were gathered from members of the C40 and the 120 cities included in the Green City Index research of the Economist Intelligence Unit, which was sponsored by Siemens. This report looked at best practices in various cities and their environmental performance. 

From this extensive list, 29 finalists were chosen that was narrowed down to the final ten cities. 

Singapore received the Intelligent City Infrastructure award for its smart transport system, or the use of high technologies for advancing transport operations in the metro. In particular, Siemens and C40 cited the real-time traffic information in GPS-enabled taxis, a well-integrated public transportation system, and their Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) System, one of the first in the world that features a pay-per-use scheme charging motorists different rates based on traffic conditions to minimise road congestion.

Siemens Singapore chief executive officer Lothar Herrmann noted that Singapore has “achieved an outstanding track record for its transportation system. It is one of the least congested major cities in the world”.

“The key to its success is that the Singapore government understood early that an efficient and affordable transportation system is a crucial factor that will give it an edge over other major cities of the world, in terms of quality of living and competitiveness. The city’s future plans under the Land Transport Authority’s Masterplan to further invest significantly in urban mass transit systems are proof of the country’s ambitions to stay ahead of its challenges,” he said. 

As for Tokyo, the Japanese city was awarded for its Finance and Economic Development achievements. The city launched Asia’s first cap and trade programme in April 2010, requiring large commercial and industrial buildings to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government acknowledged that 40 per cent of carbon emissions from the business sector comes from their buildings. Since then, they have reduced over seven million tonnes of emissions. 

A seven-member judging panel of architects, former city mayors and World Bank representatives, as well as Siemens and the C40, selected the winning cities.

The other cities in the top ten include:

  • Bogota (Urban Transportation)
  • Copenhagen (Carbon Measurement & Planning)
  • Melbourne (Energy Efficient Built Environment)
  • Mexico City (Air Quality)
  • Munich (Green Energy)
  • New York City (Adaptation & Resilience)
  • Rio de Janeiro (Sustainable Communities)
  • San Francisco (Waste Management)

Following the awards, the other 19 finalist cities still have a chance for recognition through the Citizen’s Choice Award. Members of the public can vote online for the project they think helps address climate change the most. The winner of this award will be announced in November.

To vote in the City Climate Leadership Awards of Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, please click here.

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