Muscat: Oman’s capital city has been ranked in ninth place worldwide in the ‘Social Sustainability’ category in the Arcadis ‘Sustainable cities index report 2016’.
Muscat is ranked high in the ‘People sub-index’ and is also the only city in the Middle East that was ranked in the top ten globally.
The People sub-index measures social sustainability, in which Muscat ranks high, in terms of low income inequality, demographics, excellent work-life balance, affordability and low crime rates, making it one of the most socially sustainable cities in the world.
The Index ranks the leading 100 cities in the world based upon three parameters: People, Planet and Profit sub-indexes. This measures quality of life, captures green factors, such as energy pollution and emissions, and assesses the business environment and economic health of the city.
Joe Wright, a tourist from South Africa, he said he was surprised that Muscat was not ranked higher in quality of life. “I feel it is an excellent place to live. Friendly people, excellent environment, low crime rates and affordable luxuries, all make Muscat a great place to live in,” he noted. He also mentioned that he hopes to work in Oman in the future.
Also, Maaz Firdous, an Indian expat and an engineering consultant, said that it was good news to see Muscat so high in the rankings and that it deserved its place, considering the disparity in lifestyle between it and its neighbours. “Oman deserves the high spot due to their effective ways of keeping high costs and crime rates under control,” he said. He added that Muscat’s poor ranking in the economic sub-index was a temporary problem and would change once plans for diversification are successful.
Muscat received an overall ranking of 75th place due to lower rankings in the Planet sub-index (88th) and Profit sub-index (85th). Last year, Muscat was not featured in the sustainability index.
On the other hand, Dubai managed to edge out Abu Dhabi in the Overall Rankings to claim the top spot among Middle Eastern cities (52nd globally). Zurich was awarded the number one spot, overall, globally.
The index also shows a huge disparity between cities ranking in social versus economic and environmental ratings. Cities with better rankings in the People sub-index fared badly in the Planet and Profit sub-index, and vice versa. The report also highlights the importance of the three sub-indexes and their indispensability to build a sustainable city.
According to John Batten, Global Cities Director at Arcadis, “The best way to truly understand the sustainability of a city is to amalgamate attributes from the perspectives of people, planet and profits to form a holistic view of each location and its position on the sustainability scale. Only then can we obtain a clear picture of how sustainable, or not, a city is.”