News. Events. Ideas. People.
On Earth Day, a Look at Cities Across the World Going Green
(avg: 4.00 of 5)
The 1970s: a decade that saw the Vietnam War, growing disillusion of government, The Kent State Massacre, advances in civil rights, The Rolling Stones, mood rings, and the introduction of affirmative action.
Amidst political upheaval and turmoil, though advocacy and protests, the environmental movement was born. At the forefront of this movement was the celebration of “Earth Day” – April 22, 1970.
In honor of Earth Day’s 42nd birthday today, we’re taking a look at some of the efforts cities are taking to promote sustainability.
- Reykjavik, Iceland: Heat and electricity come entirely from renewable geothermal and hydropower sources. The city is committed to become entirely fossil-fuel-free by 2050. Recently, the city began using hydrogen buses to meet this goal.
- Curitiba, Brazil: Nearly 75% of residents use public transportation daily in this city—using a bus system that is regarded as one of the world’s best
- Austin, Texas: Perhaps the solar manufacturing capital of the U.S., Austin is on its way to achieving its ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2020.
- Vancouver, Canada: Another city with an ambitious goal: to be the “greenest city in the world” by 2020. Vancouver already leads the world in hydroelectric power (90% of its supply).
- Seattle, Washington: More than 20 buildings are on their way to being LEED-certified.
- Oslo, Norway: To conserve energy, intelligent lighting was installed that adjusts intensity depending on traffic conditions and weather. Over 1,700 electric vehicles are on Oslo’s road, which enjoy free parking, toll immunity and access to lanes reserved for public transit.
- Portland, Oregon: Consistently declared the most “bikeable” city in the U.S. for its 200+ miles of dedicated bike lanes.
- Copenhagen, Denmark: Over 1/3 of the city’s population cycle to work. A mandatory green roof policy was implemented that requires all new developments to incorporate some level of vegetation in to their building designs. This, along with an offshore wind farm and new metro system make Copenhagen one of the greenest cities in the world.
- Chicago, Illinois: Implemented a requirement that 50% of all construction debris must be recycled or reused. To help generate demand for recycled materials, the City is going to repave all alleyways in the city with construction debris.
- Australia: Okay – so this isn’t a city – but the national government is gradually phasing out all inefficient incandescent light bulbs in all of its cities to conserve energy.
The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world. - Gaylord Neslon
What efforts are underway in your city to make it more sustainable? What city do you think deserves the title of “Greenest City” in the world?
BY Amanda Maher on April 22nd, 2012
Trending Topicsworkforce development workforce what works urban revitalization small business shared value nyc manufacturing jobs inner city economic summit industrial ic100 housing food entrepreneur economic development detroit community development clusters cities capital business boston ask the expert anchors
FOR OUR MONTHLY INNER CITY INSIGHTS.
- CEOs for Cities
- SBA's Open for Business
- Opportunity Nation
- Living Cities
- Urban Institute's MetroTrends
- Atlantic Cities
- The Knight Foundation
- The Kresge Foundation
- Core Change Cincy
- Business Civic Leadership Center
- The Urbanophile
- Next City
- City Journal
- Rust Wire