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10 main cities embracing inexperienced area, sustainability and renewable vitality

To see Rotterdam’s most attention-grabbing park, you need to search for. Whereas the Dakpark is in some ways a typical stretch of city greenery, studded with timber and vegetable gardens, the place youngsters splash within the water whereas their dad and mom picnic, what makes it outstanding is its location: on prime of a procuring centre.

The kilometre-long Dakpark is Europe’s largest public roof park, and it’s an instance of the creative considering that has made Rotterdam one of many world’s most sustainable cities.

Because the world struggles to change into extra local weather pleasant, some cities are sprinting forward. More and more, they’re discovering that their eco-friendly approaches are drawing extra guests, even once they aren’t as eye-catching as rooftop parks or high-rise buildings coated in crops.

In any case, most of the measures that make a metropolis extra sustainable – planting extra timber, decreasing the variety of vehicles, making its centre extra walkable – additionally make it extra nice to go to.

The entire cities in our checklist, from these in Scandinavia to Singapore, have taken a unique street to going inexperienced. Some cities turbo-charged their efforts as a part of an Olympics bid. For others, a sluggish financial system and a ensuing rise within the variety of vacant buildings, created alternatives for experimentation that led to massive outcomes.

One factor is evident: in contrast with these pioneers, Australia has an extended method to go (though a tip of the hat goes to Canberra, Hobart and Launceston, all powered by renewable vitality).

On condition that cities devour 78 per cent of the world’s vitality and produce greater than 60 per cent of greenhouse fuel emissions regardless of masking lower than two per cent of the Earth’s floor, it’s price supporting these locations which are getting it proper.


An architectural impression of the soon-to-be revamped Place de la Concorde in central Paris, which will be pedestrianised as part of a major overhaul of the famous Champs-Élysées.

The Champs-Elysees is getting a €250 million post-Olympics makeover. Photograph: PCA-STREAM

THEN Since being elected mayor in 2014, Anne Hidalgo has introduced a sequence of more and more formidable initiatives to make Paris extra inexperienced, an strategy that helped the town’s profitable bid for the 2024 Olympics (

NOW Hidalgo has actually reshaped the streets of the town, introducing nearly 150 kilometres of motorcycle lanes and making some main thoroughfares car-free. Count on to see even fewer vehicles within the metropolis sooner or later: diesel vehicles shall be banned from 2024 and by 2030, the ban will prolong to all petrol-driven vehicles.

GO GREEN Rent a motorcycle ( to discover among the metropolis’s sustainability hubs. A baguette’s toss from the Eiffel Tower is the world’s largest city rooftop farm, Nature Urbaine (, the place you may be part of a yoga class, take a tour or eat farm-fresh on the onsite restaurant. For sustainable trend, head to La Caserne ( within the nineteenth arrondissement, a hub for eco-minded designers.

STILL TO FIX The Champs-Elysees is getting a €250 million post-Olympics makeover, with pedestrian areas and “tree tunnels”, whereas a citywide tree planting program will see half of Paris coated with planted areas by 2030.



sunnov26cover smarter cities cover story ; text by ute junker
(handout photo downloaded from VisitCopenhagen for use in Traveller, no syndication) filename for MANDATORY creditSee filename for description Copenhagen - Denmark 

Copenhill. Photograph: VisitCopenhagen

THEN It was the 1973 oil disaster that spurred the Danes to reevaluate their vitality consumption and concentrate on sustainability. They’re now among the many world leaders in low-impact dwelling.

NOW Copenhagen is known as a biking metropolis, with extra bicycles than vehicles on the streets. Clear vitality is a spotlight, from the bus fleet (transitioning from diesel to electrical) to tasks such because the CopenHill plant, which may convert 400,000 tonnes of waste to vitality yearly. Constructing codes mandate measures resembling inexperienced roofs, and sensible sensors detect water utilization and leaks.

GO GREEN. Uncover among the metropolis’s most eco-friendly sights on a motorcycle tour or discover the waterways on a kayak borrowed from Inexperienced Kayak ( – it is free so long as you deliver again a bucket of garbage. Go snowboarding or sledding on CopenHill ( Sleep simple – many of the metropolis’s inns are eco-certified.

STILL TO FIX Copenhagen not too long ago introduced it could not meet its purpose of changing into carbon-neutral by 2025, regardless of decreasing CO2 emissions by 80 per cent since 2009.



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(handout photo supplied by James Cooley <> for use in Traveller, no syndication)Tokyo Japan - see filename for description

Kiyosumi Gardens. Photograph: Go Tokyo

THEN Tokyo first adopted inexperienced constructing initiatives again in 2002 however the sustainability-focused bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has impressed the complete nation to work tougher. Having drawn 88 per cent of its vitality from fossil fuels in 2019, Japan is now aiming to realize net-zero emissions by 2050.

NOW Tokyo’s well-known skyscrapers have change into rather more vitality environment friendly underneath the town’s strict emissions caps. Different insurance policies embrace rolling out extra bicycle lanes, introducing 15 kilometres of riverside promenades and opening 130 hectares of latest parkland.

GO GREEN Get your bearings on an e-bike tour ( after which take pleasure in some guilt-free procuring. Head to Shimokitazawa and Koenji to browse the recycled clothes shops, then spend a while exploring a few of Tokyo’s expansive parks, resembling Ueno Park or Shinjuku Gyoen Nationwide Backyard.

STILL TO FIX Tokyo is planning to construct a high-tech, carbon-neutral metropolis known as eSG on reclaimed land. The venture is because of be completed by 2050.



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(handout photo downloaded supplied by Kim Heinen <> for use in Traveller, no syndication)
Rotterdam - Netherlands (see filename for further description) 
cr: Iris van den Broek

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen artwork museum. Photograph: Iris van den Broek

THEN Rotterdam has an extended historical past of innovation – the primary skyscraper in Europe was constructed right here. Its sustainability agenda has been aided by the decline of the town’s port, which elevated the variety of vacant buildings accessible for experimental start-ups.

NOW A lot of the metropolis sits beneath sea stage, giving an urgency to Rotterdam’s goal to be climate-proof by 2025. Progressive tasks embrace the world’s first floating farm, a floating park and tasks that seize rain throughout heavy climate occasions to stop flooding.

GO GREEN Begin with a go to to the aforementioned rooftop Dakpark (, then cruise the waters in an electrical sloop from iKapitein ( Be taught extra in regards to the metropolis’s sustainability initiatives on a tour with Metropolis Rotterdam Excursions ( and verify in to an eco-friendly lodge: the most effective have been awarded the Gold Inexperienced Key (

STILL TO FIX The town is investing in a swathe of latest parks, embrace the seven-hectare Nelson Mandela Park to be constructed at Maashaven, in addition to parks at Rijnhaven, round Hofplein, Westblaak, Hofbogen, and Prins Alexanderplein.



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(handout photo downloaded supplied  <> for use in Traveller, no syndication)
Singapore Pictured: Parkroyal Collection Pickering
No credit specified. 

Parkroyal on Pickering.

THEN Singapore’s centralised authorities has labored for many years to assist inexperienced the densely-populated metropolis by way of a spread of insurance policies, incentives and public consciousness campaigns. Among the many most seen modifications was the rise in tree numbers, which leapt from 158,600 in 1974 to 1.4 million in 2014.

NOW Since inexperienced constructing requirements had been launched in 2008, Singapore has been a world chief in low-impact high-rises. To encourage rooftop gardens and vertical greenery, the federal government funds as much as half of set up prices.

GO GREEN Examine into one in all Singapore’s ultra-green inns, resembling Parkroyal on Pickering ( or Oasia Downtown (, each designed by WOHA, a groundbreaking Singaporean-Australian eco structure agency. Convey your mountain climbing footwear and discover the Rail Hall (, a 24-kilometre path connecting the town’s finest inexperienced areas, together with Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Clementi Forest and Dairy Farm Nature Park, or take a farm tour – sure, actually – at Bollywood Farms (, the place you can too eat on the on-site bistro.

STILL TO FIX By 2030, Singapore desires to cut back waste to landfill by 30 per cent and to have 20 per cent of faculties be carbon impartial.



A woman on a bicycle rides along the car-free John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park with the Conservatory of Flowers in the background, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in San Francisco. At the start of the pandemic, San Francisco closed off parts of a major beachfront highway and Golden Gate Park to cars so that people had a safe place to run and ride bikes. Open space advocates want to keep those areas car-free as part of a bold reimagining of how U.S. cities look. But opponents decry the continued closures as elitist, unsafe and nonsensical now that the pandemic is over and people need to drive again. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Photograph: AP

THEN San Francisco has lengthy been main the best way in sustainability and was the primary US metropolis to ban plastic baggage in 2007, diverting 1.6 million tons of waste from landfill yearly.

NOW San Francisco has the most important public transport system within the US and recycles 77 per cent of its municipal waste. It has lowered greenhouse fuel emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 ranges, regardless of rising its inhabitants by 22 per cent and its GDP by 200 per cent.

GO GREEN You’ll be able to offset your carbon emissions as quickly as you land on the airport, due to the Local weather Go carbon offset kiosks. Rent a motorcycle or take a motorcycle tour – strive Bay Metropolis Bike ( or Blazing Saddles ( – and pay a go to to the fascinating Exploratorium (, a science museum housed in a internet zero constructing.

STILL TO FIX San Francisco’s mayor has simply introduced $2 million in grants for tasks supporting the purpose of reaching internet zero emissions by 2040.



Kreuzberg, Landwehrkanal Berlin - Germany cr: © visitBerlin
The use of an image must clearly include the following credit line:Image title © visitBerlin, Photo: Photographer’s first and last name(for example: Brandenburg Gate © visitBerlin, Photo: Wolfgang Scholvien).sunnov26cover smarter cities cover story ; text by ute junker
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Photograph: Dagmar Schwelle/Go to Berlin

THEN Berlin’s repute for innovation will be traced again to its days as a divided metropolis, when alternative-living communities sprang up in West Berlin. After the town’s reunification in 1990, an enormous variety of empty buildings supplied the infrastructure not only for the town’s well-known nightclubs but in addition for a spread of experimental areas and start-ups.

NOW Berlin’s emissions are already down 40 per cent from 1990, and a reuse and recycle tradition is in place throughout the town.

GO GREEN Berlin’s repute as a cutting-edge metropolis leads folks to underestimate how inexperienced this metropolis is. Thirty per cent of the town space is devoted inexperienced area, together with 180 kilometres of navigable waterways – hop aboard the solar-powered SolarPolis boat for a canal cruise. Cease in at Naturkaufhaus (, that includes 4000 sq. metres of sustainable merchandise from purses to toys to homewares, and Nochmall (, the world’s first division retailer devoted to secondhand items.

STILL TO FIX Berlin has legislated the phasing out of coal-based energy era by 2030 and is working to be climate-neutral by 2045.



Aerial photo of Vancouver including Stanley Park
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(handout photo downloaded from BC Content Hub for use in Traveller, no syndication)
cr: Destination Vancouver/Albert Normandin 

The view over Stanley Park to downtown Vancouver. Photograph: Vacation spot Vancouver/Albert Normandin

THEN As you may anticipate from the birthplace of Greenpeace, Vancouver has an extended historical past of considering environmentally. The town began tackling local weather change means again in 1990, utilizing planning and improvement insurance policies.

NOW Vancouver has scored some massive wins, together with strict constructing codes and reaching the purpose of fifty per cent of all journeys being made by sustainable transportation. It has additionally launched municipal composting alongside the recycling program.

GO GREEN Begin at Stanley Park the place you may discover 400 hectares of rainforest, head to the seaside or comply with the strolling and bike path alongside the water. Subsequent cease is Granville Island (, house to a clutch of retailers, eating places and a wonderful meals market, which operates on zero-waste rules. Grouse Mountain ( is nice for mountain climbing in summer time and snowboarding in winter, and the Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge runs numerous rehabilitation and captive breeding applications.

STILL TO FIX The town is aiming for zero waste standing by 2040.



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MANDATORY credit: Didrick Stenersen/VisitOSLO
Urban beekeeping above Oslo
Oslo - Norway

Photograph: Didrick Stenersen/Go to Oslo

THEN Regardless of being one of many world’s largest fossil gasoline exporters, Norway depends nearly completely on hydropower for its home vitality. On the 2021 nationwide election, voters embraced a transfer away from fossil fuels, and Norway goals to be fully carbon-neutral by 2050.

NOW Electrical autos made up greater than 70 per cent of vehicles purchased in Oslo in 2020, due to metropolis insurance policies that present free parking, lowered tolls and bus lane entry. The town has an annual local weather funds which tallies carbon in the identical means that the finance funds tallies cash.

GO GREEN Two-thirds of the world throughout the metropolis boundaries is forest, parks and lakes, so get out and lively. A lot of the metropolis’s inns are eco-certified, as are the Norwegian Nationwide Opera & Ballet ( and the Norwegian Maritime Museum ( Even the brand new terminal at Oslo Airport has been constructed sustainably, with measures together with amassing and storing snow in winter to chill the constructing in summer time.

STILL TO FIX Oslo goals to makes its building tasks emission-free by 2025.



MFO Park, Oerlikon Whenever the assets are used, the copyright must always be acknowledged in the form “Switzerland Tourism/name of photographer or producer”.If no photographer, then credit is Switzerland Tourism____sunnov26cover smarter cities cover story ; text by ute junker
(handout photo downloaded supplied by <> for use in Traveller, no syndication) Switzerland

MFO Park. Photograph: Switzerland Tourism/Elisabeth Actual

THEN Switzerland has lengthy positioned an emphasis on mitigating environmental impacts and its largest metropolis has been main the best way.

NOW Zurich’s insurance policies embrace strict clean-air measures, conservation of pure areas, and a ban on extra automobile parking areas within the metropolis. The town has additionally inspired innovation in structure, from the Freitag Tower in West-Zurich, fabricated from 19 rusting transport containers, to the MFO-Park, the place the body of an outdated manufacturing unit has been reborn as a vertical park, full with walkways and balconies.

GO GREEN Select a lodge that has been awarded a sustainability label – that is about half of the town’s inns. Be a part of one of many e-bike excursions run by the town (, then pay a go to to the ground-breaking, ever-evolving GreenCity Eco-Neighbourhood, designed to cut back every inhabitant’s vitality consumption from the typical 6000W to 2000W.

STILL TO FIX Zurich plans to change into local weather impartial by 2040.




Its formidable targets embrace recycling 65 per cent of municipal waste by 2030, zero emissions from taxis and rent vehicles by 2033, and 0 carbon emissions by 2050. See


Mysore has maintained in depth inexperienced areas, recycles about half its stable waste into compost and has invested closely in public transport. See


Seattle has halved its carbon emissions whereas doubling its financial system and has adopted a zero-emission automobile normal that may see polluting passenger autos phased out by 2035. See


Eighty per cent of journeys in Helsinki are made by strolling, biking or public transport, and the town has among the purest water and cleanest air in Europe. See


Metropolis-wide public recycling, low cost public transport and a ban on vehicles within the metropolis centre are simply among the methods this Brazilian metropolis is main the best way. See

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