With a prediction that two-thirds of the population will live in an urban area by 2050, creating serious implications if those cities and communities aren’t built with sustainability in mind. With existing cities, changes and innovations are required, especially since 90% of those living in an urban environment are breathing air that doesn’t meet the air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization. Below are five sustainable cities and communities examples.
If you’re looking for an example of a green city, Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of the cities to use as an example. Copenhagen mainly focused on reducing carbon emissions to become carbon neutral by turning to renewable energy and using an energy-efficient district heating system that connects to every single household. Copenhagen also focuses on creating super cycle highways to improve mobility and reduce the need for cars. According to GetSmarter, the energy cost savings created through the waste conversion and the income made from the activities are two major economic benefits for the city’s finances.
Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, boasts a fleet of free electric taxis, cycling, and pedestrian networks to help people navigate the city, which is an excellent change, as it was previously a car-dominant city. Those living in Ljubljana enjoy the green spaces and parks covering 75% of the city. Not only that, but the waste management system sends 80% less waste to landfills.
Portland encourages its citizens to use repair workshops and embrace the reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle mentality. If an item breaks, it’s often better to repair it, reuse it for something else, or even recycle it instead of throwing it out. The city is also seeing a decreased use of cars as more people walk, cycle, and use public transportation.
Singapore’s urban planners intertwine nature with their architecture, from vertical gardens to green roofs and more. This densely-populated city does this in an attempt to replace the greenery they lost on the ground. They also have artificial SuperTrees to collect rainwater, generate solar power, and act as air ducts. Singapore also limits car ownership and focuses on making the city easier to navigate through walking, biking, and public transportation that reduces traffic and pollution.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
In 2012, Vancouver set 10 goals that they wished to achieve, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing green jobs, and green transportation. Another goal is to receive 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, including heating, cooling, transportation, and electricity. The city has also planted more than 125,000 trees since 2010, and there is a ban on single-use plastics. Hotels are also included in sustainability plans since they raise bees and have rooftop gardens.
The cities above are only five sustainable cities and communities examples, but there are several more. With climate change hastening our need to create sustainable cities, everyone needs to work together, from businesses, consumers, and governments. Once you take the first step to create a sustainable city and community, it becomes easier to maintain.