The Index recognised Durban for its sustainability and green initiatives aimed at safeguarding green spaces. Picture: @cityofdurban/Instagram

Green travellers should add Durban to their bucket list. The city was crowned the greenest city in the world by the first Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index (HUGSI).

HUGSI is a digital innovation initiative which utilises computer vision and deep learning techniques on satellite images to generate insights about the size, proportion, distribution, and health of green space in urban areas, eThekwini Municipality revealed in a statement. 

The city beat 94 cities in the world. Rio de Janeiro and Austin made up the top three. The Index recognised Durban for its sustainability and green initiatives aimed at safeguarding green spaces. 

Deputy Head of Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries for eThekwini Municipality, Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, said the recognition was as a result of the city’s greening strategy and policy which directs planting of 80 percent indigenous trees and 20 percent exotic plants.

“The strategy is setting aside huge natural and green areas known as Dmoss as part of spatial planning. It informs us of what to plant, how to plant, and where to plant more trees. As part of creating an urban forest, the city offers a programme where we plant trees to rehabilitate areas that have been eroded,” said Mkhwanazi.

Durban is also the recipient of two Arbor City Awards from the National Department of Agriculture.

Here are some stats as to why Durban is a green city:

  • Percentage of urban green space: 60%
  • Urban green space per capita: 185.8 m2
  • Average health of urban vegetation: 0.73
  • Distribution of urban green space: 66%
  • Percentage of urban green space covered by trees: 42%
  • Percentage of urban green space covered by grass: 18%