Spain’s most sustainable city revealed in new study

VITORIA: Spain’s most sustainable city CREDIT: Shutterstock

A REPORT on sustainable cities in Spain has placed Vitoria and Madrid at the top of the poll.

The Observatory of Sustainability (OS) and AIS Group analysed the tenability of the 52 provincial capitals using a total of 59 indicators relating to four specific topics: general; economic; social; and environmental and transparency and cooperation.

Factors also taken into consideration were the size of each city, and its coastal or interior character.


The objective is to find out which are the main strengths in some cities so that they can be used as a guide or incentive for others.

This is because some cities are seen as ‘key’ in moving towards sustainability in the country as a whole, in terms of reducing gas emissions, improving biodiversity, reducing inequality, advancing towards full employment and cutting waste.

The ‘best city in sustainability’ results were as follows:

  • General: Vitoria, Madrid, Barcelona, Donosti, Bilbao.
  • Economic: Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona, Vitoria, Valencia
  • Social: Vitoria, Soria, Avila, Huesca, Logroño.
  • Environmental: Huesca, Vitoria, Almeria, Valencia, Caceres.
  • Transparency and cooperation: Donosti, Bilbao, Burgos, Logroño.
  • Sustainability among large cities (more than 500,000 inhabitants): Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia.
  • Sustainability among medium-sized cities (between 100,000 and 500,000): Vitoria, Donosti, Bilbao, Burgos, Oviedo.

Sustainability among small cities (or Best cities in sustainability among the cities of the

  • Inland Spain: Burgos, Huesca, Logroño, Leon, Albacete.
  • On the coast: Barcelona, Donosti, Bilbao, Valencia, Palma.

According to the OS, the greatest challenges faced by the capitals relate to two large groups of issues.

On the one hand, the environmental issue which remain unresolved: poor air quality due to both traffic and industries, lack of reduction and adequate waste management, noise and lack of green spaces, for example.

On the other, there is a ‘high inequality in income and consumption’ which needs to be addressed, child poverty, poor food, and unemployment.

And some cities reportedly have problems ‘reconciling professional and personal life’ because of the amount of time spent to and from work due to traffic congestion and lack of adequate alternatives on top of ‘high public transport prices’.


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