Can an urban centre be a green oasis? These cities show how easily it can be done.
Clean air, swimmable canals and about 400 kilometres of dedicated cycle paths all contribute to Copenhagen being a regular on
the world’s most sustainable
cities list. A green-roof strategy, lines of offshore wind turbines and a pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2025 also boost its eco credentials.
Green tip: rent a Bycyklen e-bike to explore the city.
Does a carbon tax work? It did in Vancouver, which – thanks to the levy introduced in 2008 – now has the smallest per capita carbon footprint of any major North American city. Strategies for zero-emissions-only buildings
by 2030, achieving zero waste by 2040 and subsisting on renewable energy by 2050 show the city’s commitment to sustainability is ongoing.
Green tip: take a wobbly walk over the leafy Capilano Suspension Bridge (pictured above).
Sweden is so good at recycling that it’s running out of rubbish.
In Stockholm, biogas from sewage powers buses and taxis, 10 per
cent of the city’s heating will soon come from data-centre heat waste and the capital aims to be fossil-fuel-free by 2040.
Green tip: visit Stockholm sportswear brand Houdini, which repairs, rents out and recycles its family-friendly range of outdoor gear.
With more than 8.5 million residents, New York City has
a larger population than Denmark (5.7 million) so sustainable-living initiatives count. Clean-water policies, environmental building regulations, bike lanes, reduced carbon emissions, urban-garden strategies and a zero-waste aim by 2030 mean the Big Apple has
a green future.
Green tip: the Roof Garden at The Met museum (pictured above) offers art with spectacular views.
More than 60 per cent of Oslo (pictured top)
– named 2019’s European Green Capital – is forests and parkland. Landfill gas is used to heat and power the city; food waste is converted into biofuel for buses; car-free zones have been brought in; and the city’s “intelligent street lighting” can be dimmed to reduce energy consumption.
Green tip: book a meal at Rest, a fine-diner that bases its menu on food waste such as unsaleable produce.
Taking the top ranking in the 2018 Sustainable Cities Index, London
is a world-beater in the eco stakes, with a whopping 47 per cent of the city green space. A Congestion Charge and ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone) fee help tackle air pollution, while a zero-carbon buildings commitment is in place for 2050.
Green tip: stay at the sustainable, socially conscious Good Hotel.
In 1992, Singapore introduced
its Green Plan to tackle heavy air and water pollution. The strategy worked and in 2016 it was named Asia’s Greenest City: think eco building regulations, a zero-waste master plan and a greenery replacement scheme (where lost ground-level parks are replaced
by high-rise green spaces).
Green tip: for urban garden artistry, don’t miss Gardens by the Bay (pictured above).