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Green cities are a loose association of cities focused on sustainability. The emerging “green cities movement” encompasses thousands of urban areas worldwide, all striving to lessen their environmental impacts by reducing waste, expanding recycling, lowering emissions, increasing housing density while expanding open space, and encouraging the development of sustainable local businesses.
Cities are on the frontlines of climate change. Cities are uniquely positioned to respond directly to community needs and bring people together. These beautiful cities are green destinations where cutting-edge urban culture can be enjoyed alongside the outdoors. Interestingly, almost all of them are water-linked cities.
The conversation concerns what it means to be environmentally friendly and what a green city encompasses.
What does it mean to have a green city?
Green cities are environmentally friendly cities worldwide that strive to keep a simple lifestyle that is less harmful to the environment. This involves “green living,” where you live with an awareness of the environment and its well-being.
What makes a city green?
Unlike other kinds of cities filled with traffic, masses of people, and air pollution, green cities encourage and provide suitable lifestyles that are actively involved in addressing climate change and being environmentally friendly. In addition, these green cities implement things such as recycling programs, bike lanes, community parks, and water quality standards.
Features of Green Cities
- Over 50% of the cities are made up of green areas.
- Most of the city inhabitants use public transport
- The cities have an abundance of city parks and walking paths around the city.
- The infrastructure in green cities has allowed for the mingling of architectural attractions and plant life.
The following cities have actively achieved the status of green cities:
- Vienna, Austria
- Munich, Germany
- Berlin, Germany
- Madrid, Spain
- Washington, D.C.
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Manchester, United Kingdom
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
Factors that determine if a city is a green city or not:
- Percentage of public green spaces (Source: World Cities Forum, Eurostat, National data sources)
- Percentage of total energy needs from renewable energy (Source: U.N. Habitat, Eurostat, U.S. Energy Information Administration, National data sources)
- Percentage of population who use public transportation to go to work (Source: Eurostat, American Community Survey, National data sources)
- PM10 Concentration (µg/m3) (Source: U.N. Habitat, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, World Health Organization, National data sources)
- Water consumption (liters) per capita per day (Source: International Water Association, National data sources)
- Walk Score (Walk Score)
- Availability of city-wide recycling program (Source: National data sources)
- Availability of city-wide composting program (Source: National data sources)
- Number of quality farmer’s markets (Google Maps)
To achieve the green city status, local governments have put measures out there; here are some of the steps that are to be implemented to ensure that such cities get the status of green cities:
- Banning or taxing any or all of the ten most common single-use plastics.
- Creating a Zero Waste or Circular Economy plan.
- Develop a biodiversity protection strategy and establish green corridors for your city’s wildlife.
- Committing to planting hundreds of thousands of trees.
- Expanding or creating significant stretches of new green spaces, especially in marginalized and low-income areas.
- Mandating green roofs for all buildings.
- Developing and implementing a plan for all public transportation to run on renewable energy.
- Significantly expanding or creating pedestrian and bicycle-only zones in the city.
- Launching a Clean Energy or Zero Carbon plan.
- Establishing a carbon pricing or taxing scheme.
- Undertaking a significant clean energy or green infrastructure project, taking climate justice into account.
- Passing stricter clean water and clean air ordinances.
- Revitalizing waterfronts.
- Setting high building efficiency standards for development projects and building upgrades.
In conclusion, if we want to achieve our 2030 global warming goals, it is vital to start by ensuring that our cities are green, with good drainage, among other essential services. We need at least two green cities in every country worldwide by 2030. To achieve that, governments, local governments, and other stakeholders should all work together to ensure it doesn’t just remain a dream but comes to fruition. Won’t it be great to have green cities all over the world?
Do you ever envision such a beautiful world? If you do, how much are you doing to contribute and ensure that we have that kind of world for us all? Isn’t it time to take personal initiative and shape the future of green cities?
What other green cities do you know about? Share them with us in the comment section, and we would be glad to visit some as the world becomes free of the coronavirus. Be sure to like and share the article too with your friends and family.
- Environment, U. N. (2018). “Sustainable Cities.” UNEP – U.N. Environment Programme.
- Shannon May (2008) “Ecological citizenship and a plan for sustainable development.
- Richard Register (2006) Ecocities: building cities in balance with nature, New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-552-1.
- Helmut Bott, Gregor Grassl, Stephan Anders (2019) Sustainable Urban Planning: Vibrant Neighbourhoods – Smart Cities – Resilience, DETAIL Publishers, Volume 1, ISBN 978-3-95553-462-2
- Kuitert (2013). “The Nature of Urban Seoul: Potential Vegetation Derived from the Soil Map.” International Journal of Urban Sciences. 17 (1): 95–108.
- Lehmann, S. (2010). The Principles of Green Urbanism: Transforming the City for Sustainability. London: Earthscan.
- Rydin, Y. (2010). Governing for Sustainable Urban Development. London: Earthscan
- Stanislav E. Shmelev and Irina A. Shmeleva (2009) “Sustainable cities: problems of integrated interdisciplinary research,” International Journal of Sustainable Development, Volume 12, Number 1, 2009, pp. 4 – 23
- Kuitert, Wybe (2013). “Urban landscape systems understood by geo-history map overlay.” Journal of Landscape Architecture. 8 (1): 54–63.
- Taylor, Matthew (2020). “Large areas of London to be made car-free as lockdown eased.” The Guardian.
- Environment, U. N. (2018-01-23). “Sustainable Cities.” UNEP – U.N. Environment Programme. Retrieved 2021-04-07.