|Hundreds of cities around the globe are all driving forward initiatives to make their city space environment greener than the next. Cities are marked on an ever-increasing range of ‘Green’ standards from CO2 levels, energy, land use, transport use, water, waste, environmental governance and more. Here are some of the cities that have been voted as the top environmentally-friendly cities in the world.
600,000 people over an area of 115 sq km. Vancouver city is a beautiful city, it has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per person in all of North America and they want to keep it that way. As the world’s largest user of hydropower, the city has super low carbon emissions, beautiful air quality, an extensive network of bike routes, with a major push as to the use of electric scooters, all this and more has pushed Vancouver up to the top of the green cities list.
The Canadian government’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, promises to rid the city of carbon emissions by 33%. It is a city building on 25 years of continued action and success on tackling climate change for the betterment of its citizens. It is a city looking to derived 100% of the energy used in Vancouver from renewable sources before 2050.
The city boasts of a great sustainable bus transport system all running on low impact bio-diesel. More than half of the city’s population depend on this transport system, so any savings with noxious gases here, are highly sought. This city is also known for its mass recycling projects, Curitiba has become a model for other metropolises to follow.
The city is graced with numerous beautiful parks and around 14 forests. The major shopping areas are located as pedestrian-only zones and are served with numerous bike paths all crisscrossing the city. Curitiba plans to develop a metro system and extra 300km bike routes in the future. With the high cost of introducing such projects into the cities infrastructure, the city is working on finding the finances to fund these future projects.
Copenhagen, with a population of over 2 million is a very accessible city – it’s really convenient for residents to cycle around daily. The city has been offering free bikes since 1995, around 50% of the population cycle to work every day. This initiative has kept the city’s air clean and free of emissions, which is why Copenhagen rates high in Europe’s greenest and cleanest city stakes.
The city also has numerous beautiful parks with benches, playgrounds, and breathtaking terrains, which makes cycling through the city a pleasure for the senses. The city fathers are also very keen on getting its residents to recycle and compost. Since 1995, the city has reduced its emissions by 50%, city council ambitions are driving it to be the first carbon-neutral city by 2025.
San Francisco, California
The city is located on the northern coast of the US state of California, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Strait, and San Francisco Bay. Its just 49 square miles, making it is one of the smallest cities in the US, but with 820,000 residents, it is the second most densely.
San Francisco is North America’s greenest city, world-class in its extensive use of clean technology, the promotion of clean businesses and the construction of sustainable buildings. This city has a staggering 77% recycling rate. All the restaurants, hotels and buildings follow a strict recycling program. The city has already imposed a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags and has just recently become the first city in the US to ban the use of plastic bottles.
And when it comes to organic food, San Francisco is the center of the worlds health movement, most neighbourhoods have their own markets that sell fresh and seasonal organic fruits and vegetables.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is on the path of transforming itself into the number one greenest city of the world. There is a greater move towards the use of renewable sources of energy, for example, the city has set up its first commercial wind farm. Bike routes and farmers markets are also being encouraged. It is home to multiple nature reserves containing some of the worlds rarest plant species.
A lot of effort has been put into improving the cities green policies, for example, the public transport system has been drastically improved in recent years to reduce its CO2 levels. The city has also introduced a 10 point energy plan, which intends to ensure that at least 10% of the cities households install solar-powered water heaters by 2020. With more than 91% of the country’s electricity generated using coal-fired plants, the city has made a commitment to reduce its percentage of coal used in its energy mix by 10% by 2020.