A green city is a city focused on sustainability. Scientific American stated, green cities” lessen their environmental impacts by reducing waste, expanding recycling, lowering emissions, increasing housing density while expanding open spaces, and encouraging the development of essential local businesses”. Such cities take the basic tenets of sustainable design and put them into action throughout their boundaries. Less pollution, more energy conservation, and renewable energy sources are a few benchmarks of a green city.
Urban greening is a major factor that helps in making a city green. Urban greening is defined as “ public landscaping and urban forestry projects that create mutually beneficial relationships between city dwellers and their environments”
Adding trees,parks, landscaped green areas in newly built urban projects are one of the most common forms of urban greening. Urban greening is vital as it helps in protection from air and noise pollution, soaks up rainwater that can cause flooding, creates a habitat for local wildlife, and raises the morale of people who see it, calms traffic and lessens urban crime. Urban greening includes
infrastructure like living walls, green roofs as well as a rain garden full of plants. Urban greening examples include London. The Mayor of London has announced that urban greening should be made a part of all the future city developments and be implemented in all specific green space targets for the city and hence should be implemented in the coming few years. Hence urban greening has proved to be a smart way to inculcate greenery and is making us eco-conscious.
Green cities are making a splash throughout the world and bringing a sea change in the environment. Given below is a list of the most green cities in the world-
Copenhagen is one of the European green cities which has a great green city design. Copenhagen in 2012 launched a plan to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025. Hydrogen powered taxis, natural swimming baths and floating saunas made from local wood can be found. There is also a sustainable fashion scene and sustainably grown local food everywhere. Waste to energy power plants can also be seen. This eco- consciousness is the fabric of the city.
- Vancouver, Canada-
Vancouver has the lowest per head greenhouse gas emissions of any city in North America due to an innovative carbon tax. The city banned single-use plastic in 2015. Its five star hotels like Fairmont Waterfront grow vegetables and house bees- on their roofs. More than 125,000 trees have been planted since 2010. Over 50% journeys in the city centre happen on foot, bike or public transport. There are around 200 parks there.
Singapore has had an eco building programme since 2008. This entails that greenery list on the ground must be replaced with greenery in the sky.
Gardens, pools, and waterscapes acting as a “green lung” protecting the city from floods are there in Marina Bay.
- San Francisco, USA-
By law, recycling has been essential since 2007. Plastic bags are also banned. Commitment to solar energy and being waste-free are its hallmark. Many of the restaurants have sustainable sources and San Francisco is littered with organic markets.
- Stockholm, Sweden-
Stockholm has the highest number of eco-hotels in the world. Stockholm is one of the only cities in the world that recycles their entire household waste and labels everything from products to restaurant doors by how things are sourced or if they are made in an eco-friendly way. It’s a waterfront conference venue is built from recycled materials, its town planning is done to ensure that residents and visitors can walk or cycle between most of the main locations.
- Zurich, Switzerland-
It is one of the world’s most sustainable cities. Industries and businesses are held accountable for energy use- or waste-reduction goals. Visitors and citizens are encouraged to consider their energy footprints and walking or using public transport are promoted. Homes and public buildings have to follow sustainable building principles.
- Bristol, UK-
Bristol is known for its environmental activities like the growth of city farms and opening one of the country’s first green bookshops and now the headquarters of Britain’s biggest renewable energy supplies- Ecotricity. It has been called the vegan capital of the world and its residents are Britain’s most enthusiastic recyclers.
Green cities are thus revolutionizing the world and promoting greenery and making people eco-conscious.
Written by: Urvi Pareek