The number 1

Geneva: Lake metropolis with cosmopolitan flair

Idyllically situated between the Alpine peaks and the hilly terrain of the Jura Mountains, the city of Geneva – the UN capital of peace – is located on the very edge of Lake Geneva. Strong international integration, as well as an attractive cityscape with countless parks, lively old town streets and beautiful seafront promenades offer the best conditions for an exceptional quality of life. The "Global Liveable Cities Index" city ranking draws this conclusion and declares Geneva to be the most liveable city in the world.

Centre with international charisma 

Geneva's metropolitan area is a living environment and place of residence for 1.2 million people. The city of Geneva itself however, has just 200,000 inhabitants – its international appeal however, far exceeds that of other cities of comparable size. 25 international organizations, including the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have their headquarters in Geneva. Here, representatives from more than 160 countries represent their governments at international conferences. Geneva also has subsidiaries from 250 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like the International Committee of the Red Cross. Geneva is also considered one of the greenest cities in Europe and is known for its diverse cultural and artistic offer. 

Photo 1: The unique location on Lake Geneva and the international appeal account for Geneva's high quality of urban life.
Photo 2: The "Jet d'eau" water fountain gushes up to 140 meters high. This city landmark is visible for miles around. 
Photo 3: The United Nations Palace is home to the European UN headquarters.
Photo 4: Geneva's old town impresses with charming squares and picturesque alleys.
Photo 5: Shady avenues and some of the city's most beautiful architectural monuments can be found in the "Parc des Bastions".
Photo 6: The "Grand Théâtre" Opera House is the largest stage in Western Switzerland and offers around 100 performances of international standard each season.
Photo 7: The emerging neighbourhood "Praille-Acacias-Vernets" sees itself as a model of sustainable urban development.
Photos: Fotolia/Elenarts, Krasnevsky, Leonid Andronov; Geneva Tourism/Michel Frossard, Olivier Miche;
ernst niklaus fausch architects Zurich. 

A city with many trump cards

Water and parks make for a pleasant urban climate

In Geneva, the water and a variety of well-kept green spaces dominate the cityscape: The magnificent location on Lake Geneva, the largest lake in Western Europe, with a view of the snow-covered peak of Mont Blanc, makes the town very attractive and exerts a strong influence on the lifestyle.
Lakeside promenades and walking paths along the Rhône River, which winds through the city, as well as a number of large parks, on the waterfront and in the old town, provide its population with a high recreational value and worthwhile experiences.
These parks serve as important witnesses of the local history and memorialise great botanist personalities from the 18th and 19th centuries such as Saussure, de Candolle and Boissier, whose unique plant collections of native and exotic varieties enrich the urban parks and gardens today.
Overall, the green spaces cover a total area of 310 hectares - the equivalent of one-fifth of the urban area.

Small but excellent: The old town

In the historic old town, architectural masterpieces, galleries, picturesque squares and busy streets manifest the monumental splendour of Geneva. The main attractions include the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, whose spire offers a breathtaking panoramic view over the city and the lake, as well as the historic town hall. The building houses the famous Alabama room in which the first Geneva Convention, a cornerstone of international humanitarian law, was signed in 1864.

Hotspot for culture and art

With 40 public and private museums, 47 libraries, and more than 20 stages for dance and theatre, a diverse cultural program of the highest quality awaits you in Geneva. Music and the cinema also have a high priority: Many film festivals, such as the "International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights," which has taken place annually since 2003, as well as events for all genres of music, make it possible for film and music lovers to truly get their money's worth.
In the "Quartier des Bains" district, everything is centred around art: In addition to galleries and designer showrooms, the "Mamco" Museum of Contemporary Art, that is located here and was founded in 1994, is considered an important European trading centre for modern art.

Desirable business location

Geneva is not only the sixth most important financial centre in the world, but also the seat of many international companies, for example from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and also from the prestigious watch-making industry, which has more than 400 years of tradition in the city. The excellent global network, the international airport – just 5 kilometres from the town centre – as well as excellent train connections to all European capitals, offer the best framework conditions for international companies and highly skilled workers.

Urban development focuses on sustainability 

Keeping pace with population growth

The attractive location factors have, in recent years, led to a disproportional demographic and economic growth, as in many other European cities. By 2035, the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics predicts an increase in population of the canton of Geneva, from the current population of 470,000 to 542,000 inhabitants. The demand for a high standard of living, affordable housing and good transport links are predicted to rise accordingly.
The city of Geneva is already one of the most densely populated regions of Switzerland, with a population density of 12,000 inhabitants per square kilometre. For the city, this results in complex challenges to be met by sustainable urban development.
One of the key priorities in urban planning is the high-quality design of the metropolitan area, an eco-friendly energy and climate policy as well as further development and improvement of the public transport network.

Compact, multipolar and green space utilisation

In the past, a tense housing market, in the city itself, has caused many workers to move either to the countryside, to the neighbouring canton of Vaud or to France. Bearing this in mind, the city will remove the spatial separation of living and working in the future to a large extent. "Build better and more densely, in order to waste no space," is the motto of the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE, which is currently planning several projects for urban regeneration according to this principle.
The largest of these is the new "Praille-Acacias-Vernets" development area in a centrally located industrial site from the 1960s. It is directly connected to the city centre, has well connected traffic routes and boasts a short distance to the centre. In the long term, 11,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs should be created here. The currently 1,600 established local craft shops and businesses must relocate to the surrounding area, so that the groundbreaking can take place by 2020 at the latest.

"Praille-Acacias-Vernets": Urban development via conversion

Due to the spatially limited urban area and the need to protect the green belt, an extension of the city outwards is almost impossible. The industrial site near the city, with its 230 hectares offers sufficient space for conversion into an attractive settlement area, which is popularly known as "Downtown Geneva". The distinctive elements include high quality design with innovative architecture, a strong mixed use of residential and retail as well as office units, schools and sports facilities, public spaces, streets, squares and green spaces with a high comfort factor.
The city of Geneva developed the urban planning concept in collaboration with the Zurich planning office "Ernst Niklaus Fausch Architekten GmbH," according to the design of the district Zurich West. Among the key projects of the "Praille-Acacias-Vernets" master plan is a modern business centre, called "Place de l'Etoile". With a commuter railway station and several high-rise buildings, with a height of up to 175 meters, the district's modern centre should also serve to strengthen Geneva's position as an international city.

Energy and climate policy

The city has also set ambitious goals in the energy and climate policy: To improve air quality and protect the environment, a reduction of CO2 emissions by 20 percent is planned by 2020. By 2050, CO2 emissions should be reduced to zero. At the same time, Geneva seeks to fully supply its own energy needs, using renewable energies, by 2050.
The city has already passed major initiatives: The comprehensive retrofitting of the public lighting systems to energy-efficient LED technology has resulted in annual energy savings of 35 percent.
After successfully having completed the pilot project using electric buses in public transport, Geneva wants to replace part of the diesel buses with all-electric models as of December 2016: Thanks to a powerful battery on the roof, which is charged on every fourth stop during the boarding and disembarking of passengers, in just 15 seconds, the buses do not require overhead wires and are particularly environmentally friendly on the road.

Development of public transport

Geneva has an excellent public transport system with trams, buses and a commuter railway comprehensively covering the metropolitan area. A tightly clocked schedule keeps waiting and travel times short and ensures reliable connections.
With the strong growth of the city, the demand for public transport will continue to increase. In 2014, Geneva Public Transportation (TPG) recorded 202 million passengers. According to forecasts, demand will increase in the coming years due to continuing population growth.
In this context, Geneva relies on the multimodal mobility concept "Mobilités 2030": It provides a more efficient public infrastructure through the consolidation of the transport infrastructure with trams, buses and a commuter railway. Thus, the Geneva "Tram" is experiencing a renaissance: The tram network, which currently comprises 33 kilometres of track, will gradually be expanded by 20 kilometres in the coming years. Furthermore, tram connections to the suburb Saint-Genis and the French town of Annemasse are envisaged.
In addition, the city is planning an increase in pedestrian areas in the centre and promotes switching to bicycles with free bike loan stations.

A very small area packed with outstanding qualities

Cosmopolitan city on the upswing

With its broad-based city development strategies, "the smallest metropolis in the world" provides more than promising examples of sustainable urban habitats. With the highest level of urbanity, international flair and unique natural landscapes, the high quality of life here is ubiquitous in all its facets and just waiting to be discovered.
Congratulations Geneva, for having achieved the title "the most liveable city in the world"  according to the "Global Liveable Cities Index" study!

Further information

Official City of Geneva Website: