5 of the Greenest Cities in the World
August 23, 2018 • 2 min read
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
A country known for its rugged landscapes and vast natural beauty, the capital city of Iceland is leading the way when it comes to sustainability. Hitting most of the “greenest cities in the world” lists, Reykjavik is a city with a small population and big goals. With a multitude of volcanoes and hot springs dotting the island country, Iceland has created the world’s largest geothermal heating system, providing residents with electricity and renewable energy. With plans to go even greener, Iceland will soon be introducing electric cars, a move that will help not only residents but the hordes of tourists that visit the country annually. With residents frustrated over the number of visitors every year, introducing EVs will at least release some of the strain when it comes to environmental concerns.
2. Oslo, Norway
Famously known as one of the greenest cities in the world, Oslo’s urban green spaces are plentiful. So much so that 95% of locals live within 300 metres of a park! Despite being a rapidly growing urban metropolis, Norway’s capital city has one of the lowest carbon footprints globally. This, amongst other green initiatives is the reason why Oslo has won the title of European Green Capital of 2019.
Situated along waterways and mountain ranges, this big city never feels far from nature. With an efficient public transit system, residents who prefer walking over driving, and with 30% of all vehicles sold in the city being electric, the emissions in this city are low to begin with. Oslo has also become the electric vehicle capital of the world, with Norway becoming the world’s first mass market for EVs.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
While Amsterdam is famously known for its high bike to car ratio, Copenhagen is not far off! The extensive cycling infrastructure in this city is unparalleled, with more bikes than cars on the roads. With plans to become carbon neutral by 2025, the city is also a leader in sustainable urban planning and design. There is even a mandate that every building in the city should have a green roof! The residents are conscious of their consuming, behaviour and habits, helping bring about a positive collective effort for climate change.
4. Singapore, Singapore
Well-known as Asia’s cleanest city, Singapore’s lush greenery is apparent the minute you step outside of the airport. With plans on being not just the most sustainable city in Asia, but the greenest city in the world, Singapore has been making serious plans to reach that goal. The Gardens by the Bay are a huge indicator of the city’s commitment to sustainability while remaining technologically advanced. The 250-acre garden boasts 160-foot-high futuristic “supertrees” that are vertical gardens, home to over 150,000 living plants. The garden also powers renewable energy for the neighbouring businesses and surrounding area.
With a new green building mandate in place since 2008, builders must replace any greenery they displace. With more recycling bins on the streets than garbage cans, the city hopes to achieve a 70% recycling rate by 2030. Residents are enthusiastic in playing their part, as littering is a serious, criminal offense. The metros are spotless and don’t allow food or drink on them, keeping with their cleanliness efforts.
5. San Francisco, California
The beautiful ocean-side locale is one of the greenest cities in the world. With plans to be waste-free by 2020, the city has taken measures such as banning plastic bags. More than half of the city’s public transport produces zero emissions, and many of the busses and trains are hybrid-electric. Outside of urban planning, residents are conscious of sustainability, with concerns over where their food comes from, how animals are treated, and how the food has been grown. Farmer’s markets and veganism is widely popular in San Francisco. Not only this, but the city has tons of public green spaces, miles of hiking trails, and a general vibe of well-being and eco-friendly practices.
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