A new urbanization measurement tool called the Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index (HUGSI) ranked Amsterdam 57th and Rotterdam 68th out of 98 cities assessed for their literal greenness. According to their website, HUGSI applies computer vision and deep learning techniques on satellite images – acquired from the Copernicus project supported by European Commission and European Space Agency (ESA) – to assess the “size, proportion, distribution, and health of green space in urban areas.”
HUGSI studied 98 cities in 51 countries with “the ambition…to help safeguard and improve maintenance of green spaces in urban areas.” The cities were selected based on their status as C40 member cities, a “network of the world’s megacities with an ambition to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.” The study also included the 4 non-C40 cities of Geneva (Switzerland), Brussels (Belgium), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Marseille (France), which HUGSI called “strategically important cities.”
Of the 24 European cities studied, Amsterdam ranked 18th and Rotterdam ranked 22nd. Amsterdam received an overall score of 56.6 out of 100 with a total of 30% green space. HUGSI reported 11% of Amsterdam is covered in grass and 19% trees. Rotterdam ranked lower than Amsterdam with a total green space of 26%, including 16% tree coverage and just 10% of the city covered in grass.
HUGSI ranked the South African city Durban as the greenest city of those studied with an overall score of 84 out of 100, 60% total green space, 42% of the city covered in trees and 18% of the city covered in grass. The index ranked Brussels as the city with the best health of vegetation; Dhaka, Bangladesh as the best distribution of green; and the survey found the city with the most green space per capita to be Austin, Texas.