21 January, 2020
Durban is world's greenest city according to Husqvarna's new AI solution and index
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.
Jenna Robinson, Husqvarna South Africa
marketing manager for this leading global manufacturer of
power products, said the Husqvarna team was elated that
Durban had taken first place out of 98 cities.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil took second place and
Austin, USA was third.
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.
Robinson 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,"
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
"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. Digitalizing 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
(and bushes shorter than 1 m)
Highest percentage of urban area covered by
(and bushes higher than 1 m)
Best distribution of green space
Most green space per capita
Overall global winner of the
greenest city is awarded to Durban, South Africa
Top scoring city overall on global level* is
awarded to the city of Durban, South Africa. Followed by Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil on second place and Austin, USA on third.
They all score high on the percentage of green space
combined with great distribution and health of vegetation.
Winners per region are:
Africa: Durban, South Africa
Central East Asia: Beijing, China
East, Southeast Asia & Oceania: Auckland,
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.
The full HUGSI data set on regional and city
level is available at
HAS COME OUT ON TOP AS THE GREENEST CITY IN THE WORLD
Its official! Durban is the greenest city in the world as
reported by the first Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index.
HUGSI Index is a digital innovation initiative which
utilizes computer vision and deep learning techniques on
satellite images to generate insights about the size,
proportion, distribution and health of green space in urban
Durban came out on top against 98 cities in the world
followed by Rio De Janero in the second place and Austin
took the third place.
The Index recognised Durban for sustainability and greening
initiatives that are aimed at safeguarding green spaces by
ensuring there are not jeopardised by urbanization.
Such initiatives are implemented and managed by the City's
Parks Leisure and Cemeteries Department which makes Durban
more caring and liveable by rolling out climate-resilience
strategies and curating open green space.
Deputy Head of Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries, Sibusiso
Mkhwanazi said the recognition was 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," said Mkhwanazi.
Durban is a recipient of two Arbor City Awards from the
National Department of Agriculture