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Oil at the Top and Oil at the Bottom
May 2, 2008 7:15 PM   Subscribe

The world's cleanest cities and dirtiest cities.
posted by Navelgazer (59 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Moscow at 14 on the dirty cities list is a bit of a surprise, after all those African cities. Number 8 is no surprise.
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on May 2, 2008


Amsterdam? On the cleanest cities list? I think the person making the list ate one too many of the 'special' brownies while they were there - that place is FILTHY. Props for the bicycle culture and usable public transit, but Amsterdam is by no means what I would call clean. New York City certainly seems cleaner to me.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:31 PM on May 2, 2008


#10 clean city .... Boston.

Boston could use some mess.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:37 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I hate that links like this are laid out. I don't want to have to click thru 25 images to see the whole list. I want a list, with pictures beside it or linked - if pictures must be there. As far as I can tell the pictures add nothing to the story.
posted by bigmusic at 7:39 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pittsburg at #10 cleanest? They just passed L.A. as the American Lung Association's sootiest American city. Oh wait, this if Forbes Magazine talking. Then in that case I'm guessing that the number of strewn bottles and visible homeless people count more for a city's cleanliness than the amount of chemicals nearby industrial plants are pumping into the air.
posted by Kronoss at 7:58 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, a link to a "list" usually presupposes paragraph returns. Forbes links should be banned.
posted by mattbucher at 8:07 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pittsburgh has an H. We fought for it. Get it right.

Pittsburgh is working on the soot, as the main offender in the county will soon be rehabilitating its entire plant. Though as a Pittsburgher, I wonder about Forbes' reasoning.

It is a city of bridges with mass transit, buses and Amtrak.

Amtrak? Really? Two routes serve here, one going to New York at 7:25am, and one that either goes to DC at 5:45am or to Chicago at 11:55pm. That's it.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:13 PM on May 2, 2008


I am happy to see Katsuyama in Japan as #11 cleanest "city" (it's a really just a country town of 15,000 people), because I used to live near there. Awesome, awesome place.

However, I doubt the accuracy of the clean cities list:

Oslo is Norway's capital and largest city. It is a maritime center for the country, and shipping companies constitute a major business. It has the largest cargo port in Norway.

Shipping is incredibly dirty. Each ship has to burn filthy crappy bunker oil while in port to provide power - it's the equivalent of powering a small city with oil. I live near a cruise ship terminal, and our windows are coated with soot.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:19 PM on May 2, 2008


Calgary, eh?

That's rather ironic.
posted by Alex404 at 8:26 PM on May 2, 2008


I know Pittsburgh has an H — my bad. I'm from Cleveland, and a Browns fan, so it's maybe some subconcious thing going on there. Goddamn Steelers, wait 'till next year. But my un-subconcious must admit that it's a cool place. I've had fun every time I've been there. And I see Pittsburgh's situation as a indicitive to the Rust Belt as a whole. So I don't mean to rag on the city. I was just trying to point out Forbes Magazine's bias towards letting industrial polluters off the hook.
posted by Kronoss at 8:53 PM on May 2, 2008


It's amusing that Forbes calls the full-page ad they present you with a "welcome screen" (dipshit marketer's newspeak).
posted by D.C. at 8:53 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Calgary, eh?

That's rather ironic."


Why?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:55 PM on May 2, 2008


Pittsburgh has an H.

Maybe there was some confusion, and they meant Pittsburg, Kansas (no H).
posted by amyms at 9:06 PM on May 2, 2008


If there really, truly are only 20 cities in the entire world that are cleaner than Toronto, then we are really, truly fucked. Because Toronto is a dump.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:10 PM on May 2, 2008


"Calgary, eh?

That's rather ironic."

Why?


Dead ducks put Canada oil sands impact into focus
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:13 PM on May 2, 2008


Forbese is so lame.... Cleanest Cities (from Cleanest to Least CleaneCalgary, Canada
Honolulu
Helsinki, Finland
Ottawa
Minneapolis
(Tie) Oslo, Norway
(Tie) Stockholm, Sweden
(Tie) Zurich, Switzerland
Katsuyama, Japan
(Tie) Bern, Switzerland
(Tie) Montreal
(Tie) Vancouver, Canada
(Tie) Boston
(Tie) Lexington, Kentucky
(Tie) Pittsburgh
(Tie) Nurnberg, Germany
(Tie) Geneva, Switzerland
Auckland, New Zealand
(Tie) Wellington, New Zealand
Dubling, Ireland
(Tie) Amsterdam, the Netherlands
(Tie) Toronto
Lyon, France
Copenhagen, Denmark
(Tie) Kobe, Japan
(Tie) Omuta, Japan
st)
posted by wiseleyb at 9:16 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dirtiest Cities

#25 - Port Harcourt, Nigeria
New Delhi, India
Maputo, Mozambique
Luanda, Angola
Niamey, Niger
Nouakchott, Mauritania
Conakry, Guinea Republic
Lome, Togo
Pointe Noire, Congo
Bamako, Mali
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Moscow, Russia
Bangui, Central African Republic
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Ndjamena, Chad
Brazzaville, Congo
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Baghdad, Iraq
Mumbai, India
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Mexico City, Mexico
Port au Prince, Haiti
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Dhaka, Bangladesh
#1 Baku, Azrbaijan
posted by wiseleyb at 9:22 PM on May 2, 2008


HATE FORBES.
  1. Calgary, Canada
    Calgary is the fastest growing city in Canada and has been known in the past as a center for oil and gas. Today it has taken on an added attraction in sports and is becoming more sought by tourists. It has light manufacturing. It was chosen by the Economic Intelligence Unit as a leading city to live in.
  2. Honolulu
    Honolulu is a tourist center and has light manufacturing. It has an excellent public transit system with dedicated bus right of ways that has been singled out for praise by the American Public Transportation Association.
  3. Helsinki, Finland
    Helsinki is Finland's gateway to international trade and communication. It is the political capital of the country and its business, media and cultural center. It has a slightly aged tram and subways system and a light rail commuter system.
  4. Ottawa
    Ottawa is Canada's capital and its fourth-largest city. Its economy revolves around a mix of government functions and high tech business. It is called the Silicon Valley of the north. Ottawa has an operating light rail system for transportation.
  5. Minneapolis
    Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and is clearly a twin city with St. Paul. It is the state's media, business and cultural center. It makes heavy use of bike lanes but also has a well functioning light rail and bus system.
  6. (Tie) Oslo, Norway
    Oslo is Norway's capital and largest city. It is a maritime center for the country, and shipping companies constitute a major business. It has the largest cargo port in Norway.
  7. (Tie) Stockholm, Sweden
    Stockholm is the political and economic capital of Sweden. It specializes in large line of service industries, and the city is nearly devoid of heavy industry. As the country's financial center, it's also where mansion corporations have their headquarters, and it has a renowned transportation system.
  8. (Tie) Zurich, Switzerland
    Zurich is Switzerland's largest city and has a global presence. It is the cultural capital of German-speaking Switzerland. It has been described as the city with the highest quality of life in the world. It enjoys high speed trains, expressways, trams, buses and has a high rate of traffic.
  9. Katsuyama, Japan
    Katsuyama is a small city in the Fukui Prefecture with a large presence in sports such as skiing and in tourism. It is also well known for its major dinosaur museum. It is a new city, having been founded in 1954.
  10. (Tie) Bern, Switzerland
    The capital of Switzerland, Bern is a cultural and shopping center as well. Its economy, beyond the national governmental functions, is in high tech and financials. It is known for being a major producer of dairy products and chocolate.
  11. (Tie) Montreal
    Montreal, Canada's second-largest city, is a major area for commerce, industry, culture and world affairs. It has a significant presence in electronics, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. It has a wide array of public transportation, including subways, buses and commuter lines.
  12. (Tie) Vancouver, Canada
    Vancouver, in British Columbia, is Canada's major port and a significant air terminal. It is a center of forest product and mining companies. It has emerged as an important place for software development, biotechnology, and the film industry. It has a broad array of public transportation including trams, interurban trains, ferry services and is mostly clear of motorways.
  13. (Tie) Boston
    Vancouver, in British Columbia, is Canada's major port and a significant air terminal. It is a center of forest product and mining companies. It has emerged as an important place for software development, biotechnology, and the film industry. It has a broad array of public transportation including trams, interurban trains, ferry services and is mostly clear of motorways.
  14. (Tie) Lexington, Ky.
    Lexington is known as the Athens of the West and as the Horse Capital. It has moved on from there with some manufacturing, a concentration on technology and considerable educational services. It has a public transit system that is mainly buses, a full range of highways and considerable traffic for a clean city.
  15. (Tie) Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh is Pennsylvania's second-largest city. Though formerly a steel capital of the U.S., it has turned around and is now into healthcare, education, robotics, technology and financial services. It is a city of bridges with mass transit, buses and Amtrak.
  16. (Tie) Nürnberg, Germany
    A city with a broad array of industries: automotive, electronic, optical and with a strong presence from Siemens. It is deeply involved in industrial research. The city has many motorways, high speed rail, trams, buses and a metro system, and yet it is rather clean.
  17. (Tie) Geneva
    Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland is an international services center situated on Lake Geneva with a global presence that involves governmental services, international trade and finance. Its transportation network is most noted for its trolleys and trams, but it also has extensive rail and bus service.
  18. Auckland, New Zealand
    Auckland to a great extent depends upon an extensive road system for transportation. It is the largest city in New Zealand, the largest port and holds over a quarter of the population. It does, however, have a network of rail lines, buses (limited) and ferry service. It combines commerce and industry with the headquarters
  19. (Tie) Wellington, New Zealand
    Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and the political center. It has many cultural offerings for the size of the city. It is considered a place of high quality for living. It has a public transit system that includes buses, trains, rail and ferries.
  20. Dublin, Ireland
    Dublin is at the heart of Ireland. It is the capital and seat of government as well as the center of culture, media, communications and high tech labs and educational institutes. Its transportation consists of buses, light rail, walkways and cycle paths. Its most famous manufacturing is beer.
  21. (Tie) Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Amsterdam is a major port and a center for large Dutch corporations like Philips and Heineken. It is very bicycle friendly, and the city discourages car traffic in the downtown area. The city has a ring road for car traffic.
  22. (Tie) Toronto
    Toronto is the largest city in Canada and situated along Lake Ontario. It is the economic center of a large region and specializes in finance, telecommunications, media and software development. It has the third-largest public transport system in the Western hemisphere.
  23. Lyon, France
    Lyon is the third-largest city in France and is known for its gastronomy as well as its cinema production and business services. It supports a public transit system including a metro, bus lines, train lines and extensive bicycle opportunities.
  24. Copenhagen, Denmark
    Copenhagen is Denmark's capital and largest city with a new bridge to Sweden. It offers programming and other intellectual capital services. It has unique pedestrian walkways and shopping. The city offers public bicycles as well as having trams, bus service and train lines for further out commutes.
  25. (Tie) Kobe, Japan
    Kobe is part of the region called Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto. It is a port city and a city of bridges. It has rail lines, expressways and supports some manufacturing. It is known for having headquarters of national and international companies.
  26. (Tie) Omuta , Japan
    Omuta is a port city that has a considerable stake in commercial fishing. It was once know by its proximity to now-closed coal mines. It has industry including a recycling industry today and a transportation system that is comprised of intercity rail and buses.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:26 PM on May 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


Also...

HATE TIES.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:27 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Calgary, eh?

That's rather ironic."

Why?

Dead ducks put Canada oil sands impact into focus


The oil sands are in/around Ft McMurray AB, which is 744 km from Calgary AB.
posted by yqxnflld at 9:28 PM on May 2, 2008


Yeah, I know, but Calgary gets lumped in with all of the bad press Alberta gets.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:32 PM on May 2, 2008


Montreal is a relatively clean city, but I doubt it deserves 10th in the world. I don't know if this will help it or hurt it.
posted by furtive at 9:52 PM on May 2, 2008


As a former/sporadic resident of Lausanne, Switzerland, I am now going to develop a complex that it was excluded while Bern, Zurich, and Geneva were all listed. SCREW YOU ALL, WE ARE JUST AS CLEAN. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE GUM UNDER PUBLIC BENCHES, THAT'S HOW CLEAN WE ARE. WE -

It's because of the leper colony, isn't it.

No really, we still have a bus line which carries the name. "5 Maladieres."
posted by bettafish at 10:04 PM on May 2, 2008


The oil sands are in/around Ft McMurray AB, which is 744 km from Calgary AB.

In Canada that's right next door.
posted by mazola at 10:08 PM on May 2, 2008


no singapore?

it's like they go out with chem wipes every morning to clean things up. but who would want to live there?
posted by altman at 11:37 PM on May 2, 2008


I hated Geneva when I visited in high school, because it was so freakishly tidy. Not surprised it made the list.
posted by padraigin at 11:39 PM on May 2, 2008


Anyone else surprised China didn't make the list?
posted by anotherbrick at 12:28 AM on May 3, 2008


#5 Minneapolis

Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and is clearly a twin city with St. Paul. It is the state's media, business and cultural center. It makes heavy use of bike lanes but also has a well functioning light rail and bus system.


HA! HAHA! Maybe this will convince them to stop telling me to "GET ON THE SIDEWALK" when I am "making heavy use" of the bike lanes!

Unfortunately, our "well functioning light rail system" may be not as well functioning as it could be, because, despite our cleanliness, Tim Pawlenty hates Minneapolis because we're a bunch of gay Communists or something. So no money for that.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:49 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Know what would fix the dirtiest cities? Fewer people. Of course, that would also make the clean cities cleaner.
posted by maxwelton at 1:31 AM on May 3, 2008


Amsterdam clean?

http://www.temis.nl/airpollution/no2col/data/omi/nrt/omi_no2_europe_today.png

I don't think so...
posted by Djinh at 2:00 AM on May 3, 2008


I liked Amsterdam well enough, but clean? Sorry, no. The Hague, maybe, but not Amsterdam.

I'm also surprised that no Chinese cities made the list. Datong would've been a good contender.

And I wish people stopped talking about Honolulu's busses as if they ran on baby farts and smiles. They're very nice, if you have 2 hours to make a trip to the airport that would take 20 minutes by car, but that's about it.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:16 AM on May 3, 2008


aaargh, the Finns and Norweigans beat the Swedes again.
Could they find an unsexier image of Oslo? That looked terrible.

Ands yikes, if Amsterdam is on that list I hate to see how the cities that didn't make it look.
posted by dabitch at 4:02 AM on May 3, 2008


It's interesting that all of the clean cities' photos are of cityscapes or ships or something, and most of the dirty cities' photos are of people. I'm not sure what that means but it really stood out for me.
posted by miss tea at 4:26 AM on May 3, 2008


I was also surprised that Singapore didn't make the 'clean' list, and that Beijing didn't make the 'dirty' one. I guess it's a typical BS list.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:50 AM on May 3, 2008


Yes, I too was surprised about chinese cities not being on the dirty list. I guess no stats were available.
posted by kolophon at 5:26 AM on May 3, 2008


I am also surprised that Amsterdam made the list. I mean, New York, which is pretty freaking dirty, is cleaner than its former namesake city.

But what are the criteria, because if Mexico City made it, I suspect on it's air pollution, then why not Tehran, or Bangkok, or Manila (where the fumes of the traffic are so strong that I had an oxygen-deprived buzz even in my air-conditioned hotel room)

Plus, I have read about some of the Soviet industrial hellhole cities like Norilsk where assuming the Wikipedia article is true, "not a single tree lives within a 48km radius" of , and Magnitogorsk. Depending on the definition of city here on this list, they would have to make it.
posted by xetere at 5:39 AM on May 3, 2008


Norwegians beat the Swedes again.

Bwahahaha! Ja, vi elsker dette landet...

Thanks for the easily readable lists, wiseleyb and C_D.
posted by languagehat at 5:59 AM on May 3, 2008


How does a place with 120,000 people qualify as a city, anyway? Also: No list of cities is complete without New York. We should be on both lists (at #1, natch).
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:58 AM on May 3, 2008


The clean list seems ok, more or less, but that dirty list is pretty weird. It makes more sense when you look at their methodology:

we turned to Mercer Human Resource Consulting's 2007 Health and Sanitation Rankings. As part of their 2007 Quality of Life Report, they ranked 215 cities worldwide based on levels of air pollution, waste management, water potability, hospital services, medical supplies and the presence of infectious disease.

Even though there are a bunch of polluted industrial cities that are "dirtier" in terms of heavy metals and so on, the combination of very low percentages of people connected to potable water, high rates of certain diseases, and very poor public health systems gives you all those large African cities, plus places like Haiti and so on.

To me, that sounds more like a measure of "dangerous for children," rather than "dirty," and explains why the Chinese cities are missing. But at least it is kind of consistent, rather than just pulling this out of their asses, which was my thought when I saw the list at first. "Clean," in this context, has more to do with services and less to do with soot from cargo ships or old steel factories, so that list makes more sense, too.
posted by Forktine at 7:06 AM on May 3, 2008


Africa is, quite literally, in deep shit.
posted by nax at 7:16 AM on May 3, 2008


I'm not going to dispute that Minneapolis is clean, but how can you refer to their Light Rail as "well functioning" when it pretty much runs between downtown and the Mall of America? That's not exactly versatile.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:07 AM on May 3, 2008


You'd love Seattle. We've got a pointlessly short monorail AND a pointlessly short street car (the South Lake Union Trolley - it has a great acronym).
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on May 3, 2008


It's already been pointed out a couple times but (1)No Chine on the dirty cities list? I've met people from China who say that they can't breathe when home and the doctors can only shrug, (2)I thought there was something wrong with my browser when I saw a virtual 8-way tie for the #10 spot.

I want to know what the criteria for clean and dirty are because I don't think this list makes any sense. I think someone was a lazy bastard when they made these lists and never really cared to do research.
posted by Gular at 9:05 AM on May 3, 2008


The oil sands are in/around Ft McMurray AB, which is 744 km from Calgary AB.

But all that dirty oil money flows through Calgary.
posted by ssg at 9:56 AM on May 3, 2008


Did anyone else find the copy for each city... really, really weird? It's like it was written in English, put through the Google translator to another language, and then Google-translated back to English.

"Today it has taken on an added attraction in sports and is becoming more sought by tourists."?
"Its most famous manufacturing is beer."?
"Ottawa has an operating light rail system for transportation."?

Can anyone explain what might have happened to make the copy so bizarrely stilted?
posted by loiseau at 10:01 AM on May 3, 2008


Too bad most of the "clean" cities, with the exception of Montreal and Amsterdam, are frightfully boring places to be. Not a coincidence, really.
posted by randomstriker at 11:12 AM on May 3, 2008


Yeah, just about every day I'm more and more convinced that Montreal might be the world's perfect city. Clean, beautiful, hip, fun, and the best food in North America. Also, bilingual. What more could you ask for?
posted by My Bloody Pony at 12:02 PM on May 3, 2008


What more could you ask for?

How about some Toronto?

Mwahahaha. Canada wars!

...

No but it's true, Montreal is the coolest.
posted by Alex404 at 12:52 PM on May 3, 2008


Montreal has a very carefully-maintained mystique/public image, but it has its own problems. For one, don't even bring up the subject of the corrupt public works department to a citizen unless you want an earful.

And outside the major cities Quebec can be very xenophobic and very provincial.

Like I said to someone recently, it ain't for everyone. For lots of my friends their love of their city is like a dysfunctional relationship you keep coming back to.
posted by loiseau at 1:04 PM on May 3, 2008


Did anyone else find the copy for each city... really, really weird?

Yep. In point of fact, the copy for Boston reads thusly...

(Tie) Boston

Vancouver, in British Columbia, is Canada's major port and a significant air terminal. It is a center of forest product and mining companies. It has emerged as an important place for software development, biotechnology, and the film industry. It has a broad array of public transportation including trams, interurban trains, ferry services and is mostly clear of motorways.

Talk about terminally lazy reporting, proof-reading, and editing.

Further, Vancouver has no "trams" at all; it's like they just fabricated their facts wholesale.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:07 PM on May 3, 2008


I love the 7-way #10 tie. That way everyone can say they're in the "top ten".

Also, Calgary is suburban hell, not quite as bad as Atlanta, but still.
posted by anthill at 1:39 PM on May 3, 2008


True, but the inner city neigbourhoods of Calgary are actually fantastic places to live. Living within the Texas of Canada is somewhat distasteful, but the 'quality of life' in say Kensington, or down around 17th Ave is pretty exceptional.
posted by Flashman at 4:37 PM on May 3, 2008


I'm assuming China, being an authoritarian regime, would reserve some control over pollution surveys by foreign organizations being made public, hence its absence from these lists.

The alternate explanation is that whoever put these together was just lazy.
posted by grubby at 5:51 PM on May 3, 2008


The descriptions are so very very boring. Wow. And have little to do with describing their relative cleanliness.

But whooo! Philadelphia didn't make it! Suck that, Filthadelphia-haters!
posted by desuetude at 6:12 PM on May 3, 2008


Thank god for mefites who don't mind sifting through forbes' BS for me.

I didn't even have the patience to get to my own city- Ottawa, with a cool #4. Yay! Not bad for a "rude" city, eh??
posted by sunshinesky at 7:02 PM on May 3, 2008


If Montreal is #10, that doesn't say much about the cleanliness of the other cities in the top spots. The snow is gone, but the spring cleaning hasn't started yet. So the city looks like a dump right now.
posted by quoththeraven at 6:23 AM on May 4, 2008


I can't say I think this list is too trustworthy, but I will grudgingly admit that the first time I visited downtown Toronto I felt like someone had scrubbed the buildings and sidewalks on Yonge Street with a toothbrush, so shiny and clean were they. It was spooky.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:20 AM on May 7, 2008


Don't go to (non DTES) Vancouver then. It's like Brylkreem.
posted by anthill at 8:52 PM on May 8, 2008


Really? I'm surprised--I'm originally from Vancouver and the last time I was down for a visit, the downtown core seemed much dirtier to me than usual. Mind you, this was winter, and I think in the summer it tends to go back to its sparkling self.

/homesick
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:39 PM on May 8, 2008


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