South Korean City Named Asia’s Most Sustainable City For 2nd Straight Year

The northern Seoul suburb of Goyang, Gyeonggi-do Province, has been named Asia’s top eco-friendly city to live in for the second year in a row.

Goyang ranked 14th among the world’s top 100 sustainable cities in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-I) produced by the International Congress and Convention Association.

Ranking 14th on the list, and the highest of any city outside of Europe, the Goyang, tourism industry has been hard at work improving its green credentials.

In 2017, Goyang, located just outside of Seoul, became the first city in South Korea to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index.

The following year, the index awarded it “Most Improved Destination”. It’s been climbing up the GDSI rankings ever since.

In 2022, it earned its first ISO 20121 sustainability certifications, particularly for its conventions and events. Today, the convention/exhibition centre recycles rainwater for the bathrooms, pond and gardens. The city itself also has 68 parks and a bike sharing system.

“Actively and continuously pursuing sustainability in a small regional city with significantly limited manpower and budget, compared to international cities, was no easy feat,” said Peter Lee, managing director of the Goyang Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Aside from initiatives like the convention centre’s attempts to cut its carbon footprint, the city has “excellent environmental conditions”, Lee says, such as more than 1,000 hectares of “green and blue” (like parks and water) per 100,000 people, and 424km of cycling paths.

“It is a liveable city where rural and urban areas are well harmonised, and it boasts top-notch environmental policies and practical measures within South Korea,” Lee said.

Singapore came in at 17th on the index while Thai cities of Songkhla and Bangkok ranked 23rd and 35th respectively.