With climate crisis at its critical levels, it is a good idea to get inspiration from some of the role models in pioneering eco-friendly cities and making them a safe space for both, humans and nature alike. Most of these cities have cooperated with the authorities and vice versa in bringing around the much-needed change to make their cities friendly with the environment. While most of the cities are from Europe, the North Americas and Brazil make an appearance too.
We curated this list of Greenest Cities in the World to inspire all of us to move towards green and save our little planet. You can travel to these cities and get inspire to their work plus enjoy the pollution free climate there.
Greenest Cities in the World
All Greenest Cities in the World are inspiring the word that its not too late to save our earth. Let’s move forward and your city green and pollution free.
NOTE: This list of Greenest Cities in the World is arranged in the ascending order.
10. Oslo, Norway
The capital of Norway, Oslo is surrounded by hills covered in forests and over 300 picturesque lakes. Out of 454 square km of the total area of the city, 242 square km area is covered in dense trees, with 2/3rds of the city declared as protected areas.
Strict laws assure protection to this green city’s natural resources, the cool weather, and beauty, while the government aims to make the city carbon-free by 2020. Control over usage of fossil fuel and encouraging fuel cell powered cars and buses in Oslo has kept the city on track to become the greenest on Earth, in terms of looks and works both. It was named the European Green Capital in 2019 by the EU in its annual contest.
9. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, consists of more than 310 islands, some known for their charming beaches. The increasing use of renewable energy resources like offshore wind power parks and top-level recycling indicates an admirable energy management plan.
In addition to this, the citizens themselves have made it a culture to walk or cycle to commute regularly, meeting the energy needs with close-to-none pollution. Nature is just a short walk away in Helsinki, and with 40 national parks and many recreational forests, nature is just a next-door neighbor for the people living there.
8. San Francisco, U.S
San Francisco is where nature, culture, and technology have come together to grow mutually and set a bar for other cities to achieve. Recycling measures are in full gear with the aim to make the city waste-free by 2020 and the waste goes directly for recycling instead into trashcans. Also, non-biodegradable plastic bags have been banned in the city since 2007. For energy, the city relies more on renewable energy resources like solar, wind, biofuel and geothermal power rather than the pollutants of fossil fuels. Apart from renewable energy, the city relies on its multi-cultural population to maintain the regular lifestyle of electric vehicles, carpooling and cycling to minimize the carbon pollution and greenhouse gases wherever they can. Everybody is cooperating and the results show.
For energy, the city relies more on renewable energy resources like solar, wind, biofuel and geothermal power rather than the pollutants of fossil fuels. Apart from renewable energy, the city relies on its multi-cultural population to maintain the regular lifestyle of electric vehicles, carpooling and cycling to minimize the carbon pollution and greenhouse gases wherever they can. Everybody is cooperating and the results show.
7. London, England
It seems unusual to find the once capital of the industrial revolution that started all the pollution, on the list of the greenest cities. Surprisingly, London has around 14,000 hectares of green spaces including parks, gardens, wildlife habitats, and nature reserves, making around half of the city green.
The active promotion of using renewable energy sources for transportation (hybrid buses, electric cars) and power has improved the air quality of the city and by this rate, the city will be carbon neutral by the next decade. Kent County in London is the largest offshore wind farm in the world, generating enough energy to power a quarter of the city.
Being one of the busiest cities in the world, London is on a campaign to plant trees and plants not just for nature but of the mental and physical well-being of its 8 million residents. In fact, the famous 30 St Mary Axe building is the world’s first ecologically friendly tower, using architectural and modern methods to reduce the power consumption to nearly half of a normal tower.
6. Reykjavik, Iceland
The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik has the largest geothermal heating system in the world using the 30 active volcanoes in the country. Thus, the citizens rely more on renewable hydrothermal and geothermal energy than fossil fuels, and here more means that all of the electricity of Reykjavik city is generated from these hydro-geothermal energy sources.
It also fulfills the hot water needs of this consistently chilly city. Use of renewable energy sources and the unique natural beauty in the country, the city of Reykjavik is carbon-free and free from greenhouse emissions.
5. Curitiba, Brazil
The Curitiba city in Southern Brazil is a radical and unique city in the otherwise troubled country. With nearly 40,000 hectares of green spaces, the city has 50 sq. meters of green space per person. And these green spaces keep the environment cool and the biodiversity thriving.
The popular botanical garden of Curitiba is also home to more than 350,000 species of plants. It all started with some radical decisions for urban development in the early 70s, starting with pedestrianizing a mall and then the entire shopping street.
Optimizing transportation processes in the buses and trains, offering tokens in exchange of trash to encourage recycling and strict environmental laws have developed Curitiba in a way that was once inconceivable. Maintenance of the eco-friendly infrastructure goes a long way in enticing more people into using it, thus reducing emissions and improving the air quality in the city.
4. Vancouver, Canada
While Vancouver enjoys unique geography, the government has the ambitious plan of making it the greenest city in the world, while for now, it remains one of the most livable (and greenest) cities in the world. The job opportunities in the renewable energy and recycling sectors have improved, encouraging more investment and interest in its development. Hydroelectric energy makes up 93% of the electricity supply of the city and as it keeps relying more and more on such sources, carbon emissions are at the lowest levels since a long time.
With great investment in urban planning and transport efficiency, Vancouver is making vigorous progress with its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan and encouraging its citizens to zealously follow suit.
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3. Stockholm, Sweden
The charming city of Stockholm is known for its ideal environment for conserving nature and restoring the serenity by being committed to green eco-friendly living and cleanliness. One-third of the city is green areas with 12 large parks in total, making 40 percent of the city dedicated to nature. Stockholm was the first city to be named the European Green Capital back in 2010 by the EU.
With active recycling, replacement with biogas, reduced dependency on fossil fuels, clean urban transportation and nature conservation, Stockholm has become one of the most ecological cities of Europe, apart from being one of the most populous. Stockholm city government also aims to make the city free from fossil fuel by 2050. Tourists can easily bike around the city as bicycle stations are available at plenty of points.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The charming and full of flowers city of Amsterdam has a popularly wide network of bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths across the city since it is the most common mode of transportation there to go about the narrow lanes and canals. Electric cars and their recharge stations also add to the eco-friendly infrastructure of this green city.
With participation from the government, similar to other cities on this list, the city has aimed to reduce the carbon dioxide emission and save energy by encouraging recycling, harnessing solar energy, using pollution-free electrical vehicles, increasing cycling routes and charging stations. All this comes under the Amsterdam Smart City initiative by the government. Even the individual house use self-harnessed renewable energy, cutting down the need for electrical supply around the city.
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Fifty percent of the 500,000 people living in Copenhagen choose bicycles over the cars making it one of the best bike-friendly cities in the world. As an obvious result, carbon dioxide emissions are very low just because of the Danes’ love for cycling. While most of the transportation is on a bicycle, other services like boats are electric powered and solar-powered to cut the usage of oil and gas, keeping the city on track to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Energy efficiency also contributes a lot in reducing emissions and keeping the usage optimized.
The buildings in Copenhagen are built and designed to be energy efficient in heating, lighting and circulation systems and a green roof (roof with plants to absorb noise and rainwater) is mandatory for each building in the city. Most dwellers of the city can enjoy a green space within a 15-minute walking distance and drink the cleanest tap water in Europe in any of its many public parks. Copenhagen is indeed a biker’s heaven and a natural haven.
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For comparison with Indian cities, Delhi has only 20% of its area as open green space, while Kolkata has 10% and Chennai has a mere 2% of open spaces dedicated to parks or urban green spaces.