Durban Named World’s Greenest City


One of South Africa’s favourite local holiday hotspots has scooped the title of the greenest city in the world.

Durban is the greenest city in the world according to the Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index (HUGSI) 2019, an AI-powered satellite solution to help decision-makers monitor the proportion and health of green spaces in cities across the globe.

Out of the 98 cities who participated Durban scooped first place with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil taking second place and Austin, USA coming in third. All three cities scored high on the percentage of green space combined with great distribution and health of vegetation.


The Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index

The Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index 2019 was launched as part of the Husqvarna Living City event in Gothenburg, Sweden, gathering international thought leaders, industry people and media from the green space community.

It applies computer vision and deep learning techniques to satellite images, unveiling key insights into the current state and historic development of vegetation and the surrounding environment in urban areas.

This shows just how green cities really are and alerts urban planners if densification is reducing the amount of urban green spaces.

Jenna Robinson, Husqvarna South Africa marketing manager points out that green spaces are the lungs of cities, improving air quality, managing flooding and rainwater and contributing to the physical and mental health of citizens.

As urbanization continues, it is vital to monitor the proportion between grey and green areas.

“Safeguarding our urban green spaces is a huge part of our global culture and the team works hard to help create a sustainable future through innovative products that are built around low carbon emissions and community work,” explains Robinson.


The City’s Greening Strategy

Deputy Head of Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries, Sibusiso Mkhwanazi says the recognition comes as a result of the City’s greening strategy and policy which directs planting of 80% indigenous trees and 20 % exotic plants.

“The strategy is setting aside huge natural and green areas known as Dmoss as part of spatial planning. It informs us on what to plant, how to plant and where to plant more trees. Furthermore, as part of creating an urban forest, the city has a programme where we plant trees to rehabilitate areas that have been eroded. This effort has then contributed to us being the greenest city,” adds Mkhwanazi.

Winners Per Region

  • Africa: Durban, South Africa
  • Central East Asia: Beijing, China
  • East, Southeast Asia & Oceania: Auckland, New Zeeland
  • Europe: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Latin America: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • North America: Austin, USA
  • South and West Asia: Dhaka, Bangladesh

The full HUGSI data set on regional and city level is available at the HUGSI website.


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