by Matt Alderton | February 17, 2015
The world has come a long way in terms of both economic and environmental sustainability, but it still has a long way to go, according to sustainable design consultancy ARCADIS, which last week published its first-ever "Sustainable Cities Index" ranking the world's most and least sustainable cities based on social (i.e., people), environmental (i.e., planet), and economic (i.e., profit) criteria.

"City leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work in, whilst also limiting their damage to the environment," ARCADIS Global Cities Director John Batten said in a statement. "To truly understand how sustainable a city is, we must understand how it ranks in people, planet, and profit. Only then can city leaders act to assess their priorities, and the pathway to urban sustainability -- for the good of all."

According to the Index, European cities lead the way on sustainable practices and development, taking seven of the Index's top 10 spots:

 1. Frankfurt
 2. London
 3. Copenhagen
 4. Amsterdam
 5. Rotterdam
 6. Berlin
 7. Seoul
 8. Hong Kong
 9. Madrid
 10. Singapore

North America is decidedly less sustainable than Europe, according to ARCADIS, which cites poor transportation infrastructure, lack of green spaces, and diminishing affordable housing as major reasons why. North America's most sustainable city, it said, is Toronto, which ranked 12th on the Index, followed by Boston (No. 15), Chicago (No. 19), New York (No. 20), Houston (No. 21), Philadelphia (No. 22), Washington, DC (No. 25), San Francisco (No. 27), Los Angeles (No. 28), and Dallas (No. 29).