Zipcar believes that cities are incredibly important to economic progress. Today, the 40 largest global mega-regions produce two-thirds of economic output and nearly nine in ten new patented innovations.(1) Yet, that impact could be challenged by congestion, pollution and inefficiency as the percentage of global population that lives in cities grows from 50 percent to 75 percent in the coming decades.
“Vibrant, efficient and sustainable cities are the key to economic growth around the world,” said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. “It’s critical for today’s leaders to create – and sustain – a progressive approach to smart policy, livability and urban development. We created the Zipcar Future Metropolis Index to recognize today’s leaders who are preparing for tomorrow’s challenges. I congratulate Mayor Lee of San Francisco and hope that he continues to make San Francisco a great, Future Metropolis.”
“In San Francisco, we are taking the steps necessary to start securing our green future today,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “We are honored by this prestigious recognition from Zipcar as the top city in sustainability and innovation, and are proud to partner with Zipcar to create jobs and continue to build a greener, sustainable economy.”
The study, which was conducted by KRC Research, measured the top 36 largest U.S. cities by population and ranked them according to sustainability, innovation, vibrancy, efficiency and livability. With high marks across all five dimensions, San Francisco proved to be the most sustainable city – based in part on having the highest percentage of hybrid cars – and the most vibrant city, due to its high number of art-related businesses and jobs and many park acres across the city. Seattle, Washington, D.C., Portland and Boston, respectively follow closely.
Atlanta is at the top of innovative cities ranking with the most universities and Wi-Fi hot spots per 100,000 residents. Washington, D.C., New York and Boston rank high for efficiency with their public transportation systems. The full study and results can also be viewed at http://www.slideshare.net/Zipcar_Inc/zipcar-2012-future-metropolis-award-and-index.
Through a national survey, the study also found that the country’s cities are economic engines for the nation and a key source of optimism. For instance, according to the survey results, urban living correlates with higher levels of optimism about the economic future, with half of those living in metro areas (53 percent) saying the number of job opportunities in their communities will increase compared to four in ten (39 percent) of those living in non-metro areas.
“The results of our Future Metropolis Index make a powerful statement about an urban renaissance that we see is clearly underway,” said Griffith. “U.S. cities are growing and evolving and are more dynamic than ever before. This rebirth of our cities is being powered by technology and innovation coupled with smart urban policy which together work to enhance the lives of their residents.”