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Greener Cities Are More Competitive, Efficient, Responsible

The battle for sustainability will be won or lost in our cities. It’s where the majority of the global population lives, works and consumes. Recognizing and sharing best practices can help expedite the process.

Copenhagen, Denmark, for example, has earned many awards for its eco-culture. Its extensive cycling infrastructure, for example, is impossible to ignore. Queen Louise’s Bridge is the busiest cycling route in Europe, with an estimated 35,000 cyclists crossing during rush hour. Visitors can rent an electric bike to for that immersive experience.

The city converts waste into energy to supply tens of thousands of homes and businesses. All buses are changing from diesel to electric, while more and more road surfaces are devoted to cycling. The city plans to become carbon-neutral by 2025.

Like any green city, Copenhagen values parks, green spaces and grass roofs that filter rainwater and insulate buildings. More than two-thirds of the city’s hotels hold an eco-certificate. The city features vending machines that pay people for depositing aluminum cans and other recyclable materials.

To find the world’s most sustainable cities, Resonance ranked cities by nine different factors, including public green spaces, renewable energy sources, public transportation, walkability, recycling, composting, water consumption and air quality. According to those criteria, the greenest cities in the world are:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Munich, Germany
  3. Berlin, Germany
  4. Madrid, Spain
  5. São Paulo, Brazil
  6. Manchester, United Kingdom
  7. Lisbon, Portugal
  8. Singapore
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  10. Washington, D.C.

What makes Vienna such a green city?

It generates 30 percent of its total energy from renewable sources, while half of its population uses public transportation to commute to work. Its devotion to public green spaces, citywide recycling and composting programs, and 135 farmers’ markets are part of the city’s best practices.

All 180 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe graded by The 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) on 32 key sustainability indicators. The EPI scores were based on the latest data on critical things such as air and water quality, waste management, CO2 emissions, and other public health factors.

The world’s greenest countries are all in Europe, according to researchers at Yale and Columbia universities, who rank the world’s nations on eco-friendliness every two years.

Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany top the list. As these nations know, greener cities are more competitive, more efficient and healthier cities.

Denmark, for example, has developed strong policies against greenhouse gas emissions to help halt global warming and climate change. The country also promotes biodiversity, wildlife habitat and clean air.

Greener Cities and climate action

Greener Cities is a division of Crossbow Communications. Greener Cities is a resource for sustainable and resilient cities and communities around the world.

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Author: Gary Chandler

Gary Chandler is a sustainability strategist, author and advocate. Follow him on Twitter @Gary_Chandler