As we come to understand the impact of industry and pollution on the natural environment, cities throughout the world are changing their ways. With innovative new developments, and a communal acceptance of environmental ambitions, each of these cities are bringing some incredible improvements.
Through public transport, building regulations and waste management, each of these cities have established themselves as some of the most environmentally-conscious in the world. We’ve chosen cities from across the planet to showcase the future of metropolitan living.
Cape Town, South Africa
Through strict energy reduction rules, Cape Town has produced an efficient and clean city space, focussing on traffic and street lighting to reduce energy use.
As the second most populated city in South Africa, Cape Town takes great pride in the nation’s wildlife and unique natural landscape. The Environmental Resource Management values the environment as its greatest asset, managing 16 natural reserves within the city area.
In 2010, the city was announced as an international sustainability centre; showing that not only do they take their efforts seriously, but so do the rest of the world.
The capital of South Australia is the fifth largest city in the country is also its greenest. Through a number of government initiatives, the city has created one of the most energy efficient spaces in the world. This has been achieved predominantly through recycling, building modifications and transport.
The city offers public transport on the world’s first ever solar powered bus, the Tindo. It also has 500 bikes available to rent for free from 14 hire facilities.
Alongside hotels that surround beautiful green park areas, a number of the civic buildings including Parliament House, the Central Bus Station and the Art Gallery of South Australia have solar panels installed.
If this isn’t enough, it’s also estimated that the central market recycles around 85% of its waste, showing that the public attitudes to a green lifestyle are very positive in Adelaide.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
When one considers the UAE, they might be forgiven for not initially thinking of it as a green and environmentally conscious country. Yet despite its large amounts of oil , the country is paving the way for an environmentally-friendly future.
The capital is impressive not just for its waste reduction, water conservation and energy efficiency, having reducing water use by 20%, but also because of its development projects. The city follows the Estidama Pearl Rating System, providing a strict vision for a sustainable future.
The standout feature of the city, however, is Masdar city. This is a model city built by the Masdar company within Abu Dhabi itself. It is specifically designed to function only on solar power and other renewable energy, with the dream of producing an example of sustainable living for all the world.
Denmark is the only European entrant to our list. Its capital city of Copenhagen is home to a population of 2 million, making their achievements only look more impressive.
Two of the largest pollutants in a city space are cars and public transport, and this is something that the local authorities and citizens have sought to change. There is a huge cultural shift towards bike use throughout the area, and next year it’s estimated that around 50% of residents will travel by bikes.
Another aspect placing Copenhagen on the list is their outward effort to promote an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Such work has led them to be named the European Green capital, and in 2009 they hosted a green summit that welcome a global audience.
Portland, Oregon, USA
America’s entrant on the list is the hip city of Portland, the largest in the state of Oregon. Due in part to their green culture, they boast a massive amount of environmental development. Biking, as with Copenhagen, plays a huge part in the city, with around 250 miles of dedicated bike tracks roads and trails.
Taking on the LEED-certified building regulations, it’s not just the residents that are committed. They’re also the first city in America to ban plastic bags, working towards a greener future.
Whilst most cities in the USA use an average of 13% renewable energy, Portland power their city with 33% renewable energy, around a third of their total usage.
Perhaps the greenest city on the planet, for years Vancouver has been made environmental improvements in the hope of becoming completely carbon neutral.
Offering a number of incentives for citizens to clean the streets and recycle reusable materials, it’s their Green City 2020 action plan that has placed them as world leaders of environmental vision. With a new bikeway, and 28 km of Seaside Greenway, Vancouver has become the envy of every ambitious city, turning itself green.
With more and more pressure from scientists and residents to make the planet greener, these cities have really made an effort to provide a brighter future. Through ingenious adoption of renewable energy techniques and innovative public transport initiatives, they’re carving the way for a sustainable future.
Have you visited any of these cities? Let us know what you thought by tweeting us @greendealshop