According to the Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index (HUGSI) 2019, Durban is the greenest city in the world. The AI-powered satellite solution helps decision-makers monitor the proportion and health of green spaces in cities across the globe. Durban has taken first place out of 98 cities, with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil taking second place and Austin, USA third.
The Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index 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's 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 urbanisation 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.
Anders Johanson, CTO, Husqvarna Group adds that the company believes that AI and emerging technologies will play a key role in the future of green space management.
“With HUGSI, we want to draw attention to the importance of green spaces and to empower decision makers to safeguard green areas in cities by providing them with undisputable facts. Digitalising green space management will enable predictive care of parks, improving recreational and environmental values, as well as operational efficiency,” he says.
The HUGSI 2019 Index provides green insights covering all C40 cities plus Brussels (Belgium), Marseille (France), Geneva (Switzerland) and Gothenburg (Sweden). This makes for 98 cities in 51 countries rated on a number of green key performance indicators (KPI’s) including:
- Highest percentage of urban green space
- Best health of vegetation
- Highest percentage of urban area covered by grass (and bushes shorter than 1m)
- Highest percentage of urban area covered by trees (and bushes higher than 1m)
- Best distribution of green space
- Most green space per capita
Winners per region are:
- Africa: Durban, South Africa
- Central East Asia: Beijing, China
- East, Southeast Asia & Oceania: Auckland, New Zealand
- Europe: Geneva, Switzerland
- Latin America: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- North America: Austin, USA
- South and West Asia: Dhaka, Bangladesh
“We are extremely happy and proud to award the winning cities with this acknowledgement. But we also believe that all cities in the index are winners. With this new data set they get the facts needed to monitor and drive the development for even greener and healthier development of their cities. Hopefully other cities can find the insights from the HUGSI-index inspirational and start their journey towards greener urban environments,” says Johanson.