Recently, MIT published a top seven of the greenest cities in the world. They established it after their MIT Senseable City Lab mapped the density of urban trees in major cities. So their list came up like this, from seven to one: Tel Aviv, Boston, Toronto, Seattle, Geneva, Sacramento, and Vancouver.
Congratulations on the process and the delivering of the top 7. Problem is, we can’t really establish a city as being green just because of the density of trees.
In terms of the newest developments and strategies, a green city means so much more nowadays. It should and must involve a sustainable environment, the use of renewable energies, solutions on traffic congestion and CO2 emissions, roof gardens, and the list can go on.
The planet is how it is, global warming is endangering us all, for this the reason every smart city should plant the seed of ecological development.
As you can see, there is only one European city in the top 7. Truth is, Europe has been focusing on environmental-friendly cities for some time now. Which is why I can now bring you the greenest cities in Europe. I am putting it this way, because seven out of the ten greenest cities worldwide are from the Old Continent, as I found out in my research.
The capital city of Norway is one smart city for which building green is already a trend. Besides that, 242 square kilometers out of 454 are covered in greenery. Furthermore, two-thirds of Oslo are protected areas, while the Norwegian government has very strict environmental laws.
In addition to the parks and green spaces, Oslo also has plans on forbidding diesel-engine cars by 2020 and making room for electric cars by introducing public charging stations, with the sole purpose of making the city carbon neutral. Traditional energies are being replaced by the production of biogas coming from organic waste and fossil fuels.
Consisting of 310 islands, Helsinki is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Besides its sandy beaches, the capital city of Finland is environmentally friendly, especially in terms of renewable energies.
The government plans on building offshore wind power parks, the high level of recycling processes contribute to better air quality, conserve the natural surroundings and resources of the city and most of all, reduce the level of pollution. Furthermore, Finnish people enjoy cycling or walking more than driving their cars, so the carbon emissions are a lot less when compared to other European cities.
Moreover, Finland has been developing the Smart Kalasatama project, which focuses on sustainable growth based on green strategies. You can find out here in our interview with Veera Mustonen, Head of Smart Kalasatama.
LONDON, United Kingdom
Although quite famous for its smog, the city landed this top funnily because of it. Why? Because of the measures, the government took in fighting the acute effect of the pollution in the city.
Half of London is green, through its parks, wildlife habitats, gardens, outdoor spaces and natural reserves. This ensures and contributes to better local bio-diversity, less pollution and a higher level of air quality.
London is another city which plans to make itself carbon-free within the next decade. The wind farm in Kent (a county next to London) is already producing enough power for 25 per cent of the London homes, while also reducing carbon emissions. The use of renewable energies is actively promoted and sustained by the government. There are already hundreds of hybrid buses on the street, while in the future there will be more fuel cell powered buses.
You may say that this city has landed in our list top out of luck. And in some ways, you may be right. But what we need to do to congratulate them on is using their own natural resources in matters of energy and low carbon emissions.
Iceland has a total of 30 active volcanoes, which was what Reykjavik used to build the largest geothermal heating system in the world and it relies on hydrothermal energy rather than fossil fuels. All of the electrical needs for the city comes from these geothermal energy sources, while also keeping it away from excessive carbon emissions. There are many countries with such resources that are not using them in such a smart way and they could learn a lot from Reykjavik.
This concludes episode one of our top. Stay close to us because soon you will be able to find out the cities that landed the top spots on being the greenest European cities. Stay tuned for episode two!