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The Most Eco Friendly Cities in the World and What You Can Learn From Them

The Most Eco Friendly Cities in the World and What You Can Learn From Them

Article by Brooklyn Williams We take a look at eco friendly cities around the world that are leading the way with their environmental initiatives.  Certainly landscape architecture is important for your home base, but what about city-wide? Isn’t it important that the entire city feature cohesive architecture and landscaping? These efforts don’t have to cost a fortune; nor, do these efforts have to increase a city’s carbon footprint. The following are cities that have the right idea in terms of going green and looking good all the while. Before you read about how the following cities are reducing their carbon footprints, consider that you can be a catalyst for change in your own city. Of course, your the landscape is beautiful and that shouldn’t change, but consider reducing the amount of water you’re using. You could also look into switching to greener electricity providers.

Israels Square by COBE in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo credit: Rasmus Hjortshoj

Israels Square by COBE in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo credit: Rasmus Hjortshoj

Eco Friendly Cities

Copenhagen, Denmark Due to its eco-innovation and sustainable employment initiatives, Copenhagen was the recipient of 2014’s European Green Capital. Considering the city intends to be carbon-neutral by 2025, it’s likely the city will receive the reward at least one more time. With its many bike paths and clean, cobbled streets, Copenhagen isn’t just a green city, it’s a beautifully landscaped city too.

Helsinki, Finland Helsinki is another city that’s leading the world in beautiful design and eco-friendliness. In 2012, the city was named the World Design Capital due to its sustainable developments, complex and green energy systems, and its efficient public transportation systems. In terms of citywide landscaping, the way Helsinki has maintained its gorgeous archipelago is a testament to taste and eco-initiatives.
"A Tram in Helsinki Finland" by I, Pöllö. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Tram_in_Helsinki_Finland.JPG#/media/File:A_Tram_in_Helsinki_Finland.JPG

“A Tram in Helsinki Finland” by I, Pöllö. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Columbia, MO, United States Eco-friendliness certainly has its city-wide benefits, including energy reduction which in turn lowers costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In Columbia, MO businesses are incentivized to improve their energy efficiency by a citywide grant. Columbia’s City Green program determines how much energy a business uses, and then offers to pay for half the cost of an energy audit. Once the audit it completed, the city will pay for repairs up to $12,500. To keep the city looking good, Columbia has a number of green groups, which are coalitions of like-minded people who collaborate on common environmental goals. There’s groups that clean rivers, restore animal habitats, and promote beautification, restoration, and citywide recycling. Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm is among the cleanest cities in the world. It was the first city to win the European Green Capital Award, and it has a long-term plan to be fossil fuel free by 2050. The riverside city is stunning and features lots of natural landscape, such as trees which are navigated by bike paths. Environmental policies are prioritized in Stockholm, and as such the streets are clean and the city has a country feel despite having tall buildings and lots of residences.
Sjövikstorget Square, by Andersson Thorbjörn with Sweco architects, Stockholm, Sweden

Sjövikstorget Square, by Andersson Thorbjörn with Sweco architects, Stockholm, Sweden

Oslo, Norway Oslo is yet another European sustainable city. Eco-efficiency is important in the city, and it begins with grass-roots involvement. Oslo residents are encouraged to clean up, go green, and create a climate that features better air quality, eco-efficiency, biodiversity, and  an abundance of natural (clean) resources. Overall, it looks amazing in Oslo and that’s due to the local contributions being made to keep the area sustainable and high-functioning for all residents.
Holalokka

Holalokka in Oslo. Photo credit: Dreiseitl

Depending on where you live, you may want to consider looking into local green initiatives. Most of the cities on this list rely on their residents to make eco-friendliness happen. Urban landscaping is all about the community, and building a sustainable community can begin with you. Consider riding a bike to work or carpooling, and encourage your landlord to participate in energy audits and recommend sustainable practices. Even the smallest changes can make huge differences. Do you know any more eco friendly cities? Let us know in the comments below! Go to comments Recommended Reading:

Article by Brooklyn Williams

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