Top 10 Most Climate Resilient Cities in the World

By Sophia Maddox | January 27, 2024

Sydney, Australia

In a rapidly changing world where the impacts of climate change loom large, cities across the globe are gearing up to fortify their defenses and lead the charge towards a sustainable and resilient future. Drawing from a composite of renowned studies, including the Economist's Safe Cities Index and Savills' 2023 Climate Resilient Cities, we delve into a compelling exploration of the top cities that stand at the forefront of environmental security. From Wellington's unwavering commitment to climate resilience to Toronto's proactive initiatives, these urban centers are forging innovative pathways towards a greener and more climate-resilient tomorrow. Join us on this captivating journey through cities that are not just adapting but are prepared to thrive in the face of climate change challenges.

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Sydney, Australia, emerges as a city proactively taking strides to enhance its resilience in the face of climate change, garnering recognition from Savills for its dedication. Sydney has undertaken impressive initiatives to safeguard its future.

At the core of Sydney's resilience strategy is the Sydney Climate Adaptation Strategy, a comprehensive plan that operates across various jurisdictions within the city's local government. This strategy is underpinned by scientific expertise, with a scientific reference group lending support through precise analysis and a citizens' panel ensuring democratic decision-making. Sydney's commitment to adaptation has already yielded tangible results, with initiatives like the Urban Forestry Strategy, which saw the planting of over 10,000 trees. The city has also fortified its parks and public spaces against drought through water recycling schemes and retrofitting key water-consuming facilities with efficient fixtures. Additionally, Sydney has employed innovative techniques such as repaving sections of urban areas with lighter-colored pavements and enhancing tree canopies along roads to mitigate the urban heat island effect and improve the quality of life for its residents. With impressive achievements, including an increase in the urban tree canopy, Sydney stands out as a city committed to thriving in the face of climate change challenges.

Milan, Italy

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Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock

Milan is on a transformative path towards sustainability with the PAC (Piano Aria e Clima) plan unveiled in 2022. This ambitious initiative aims to make Milan carbon-neutral and a cycle-pedestrian paradise by 2050. Ranked as the fifth most climate-resilient city globally by the Economist, Milan is embracing innovative governance models, fostering citizen engagement, and pioneering financing systems to tackle energy efficiency challenges.

Central to this vision is the development of a cycle-pedestrian city, designed to reduce traffic and promote walking and cycling with a 30km per hour speed limit. Simultaneously, Milan is taking steps to phase out heavily polluting vehicles, starting in designated areas like the city center since October 2022. The city is committed to improving energy efficiency by refurbishing public heritage buildings, targeting a 50% reduction in fossil fuel usage by 2030, facilitated by the installation of over 60,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels on public structures. Furthermore, Milan is addressing urban heat islands through de-paving initiatives, expanding green spaces, and embarking on ambitious reforestation projects, exemplified by the Forestami Project, which aims to plant three million trees. These endeavors firmly position Milan as a leader in sustainability and climate resilience, forging a path towards a greener, resilient future.