The 10 Most Sustainable Cities

The world is focused on sustainability and it should always be this way. More and more cities around the world are trying to be as harmless for the environment and the planet as possible. And some of them are truly remarkable in their eco-achievements! But what makes a city sustainable? Well:

  • Sustainable energy
  • Less pollution (air quality, water quality, the amount of co2 emissions)
  • The percentage of green space
  • Transportation infrastructure

Sustainability is a key concern for our top 10 sustainable cities. Read about their marvellous ideas, projects, goals and achievements and get inspired! Keep scrolling and stay green.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

This is one of the greenest cities for sure. One of the ambitious plans for Copenhagen is to make it the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city by the year 2025. During a visit to Denmark’s capital, you can see floating saunas made from local wood, hydrogen-powered taxis, solar-powered boats, buses that are using electric energy instead of diesel and lots of roads specifically made for electric bikes. A lot of the restaurants can offer delicious food made of organic ingredients. Two-thirds of the hotels are eco-certified and can provide their guests with bicycles.

Colourful houses on a canal in Copenhagen

2. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Over 60 per cent of Ljubljana is green spaces and only pedestrians are allowed on the banks of the Sava River. Slovenia’s capital has more than 200km of cycling routes that are in part inspired by Copenhagen’s positive example. If you’re in a hurry and you need a car you can use the so-called Kavalirs which are free electric taxis. The capital is remarkably clean and its streets are being washed with recycled water. One of the goals of the city is to reduce waste to just 60kg per person per year by 2025.

3. Vienna, Austria

Over 50 per cent of Vienna is given over to well-maintained green areas – city farms, parks, gardens. The capital of Austria has a solid city-planning strategy that allowed the existence of lots of walking paths and parks around the city. The modern power plants of the city are included in sightseeing tours because of their artistic redesigned facades with colourful details.

There are multiple spots around Vienna where tourists can fill up their water bottles with tap water that comes from springs in the Lower Austrian-Styrian Alps. It can’t get more refreshing than that. Vienna also uses less energy than any of the regions in the East Alpine country.

4. Zurich, Switzerland

For Zurich is important to encourage its visitors and citizens to ditch automobiles and use public transport or walk. Bicycles are available for free around the city. A huge amount of the citizens are truly engaged in a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

Zurich succeeded in reducing energy consumption per person to 2,000 watts and can be proud of the energy efficiency. The industry and businesses in the city are being held accountable for energy use. Zurich already made some remarkable achievements: 82 per cent of electricity comes from renewable energies, 74 per cent of the hotels have a sustainability certification and more than 40 per cent of the waste is recycled.

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland’s capital is peaceful, has proverbially beautiful landscapes and is very eco-friendly. It relies on its hydroelectric and natural geothermal resources – the largest geothermal heating system in the world is located in Reykjavik. The capital uses beautiful geysers and hot springs in order to heat the buildings.

90 per cent of the households are headed that way. The community is getting greener with every year. Walking, cycling and the use of public transport are being heavily promoted. The goal is to eliminate the production of greenhouse gas emissions and establish hydrogen buses by the year 2040.

6. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver’s harmful emissions are amongst the lowest on the continent and one of the main goals is to go entirely zero-waste by the year 2040. More than 120.000 trees have been planted in Vancouver which resulted in a significant increase in gorgeous green areas.

The renowned hotels in the city are looking after house bees and are growing vegetables on the rooftop areas. The Vancouver Public Library is also making the most of its rooftop. There is a garden on top of the building with solar panels. This marvellous rooftop also provides a home for bees and helps manage rainwater.

7. Madrid, Spain

Madrid is one of the greenest capitals with its 64 square kilometres of green space and ambitious eco plans. The city has invested in tons of enjoyable eco-friendly activities for visitors like biking tours and tours with solar-powered boats. Citizens are dedicated to protecting the forests of the capital at all costs.

The use of sustainable energy for transport is one of the biggest and most impressive achievements. All of the taxis in Spain’s capital are electric, ecological or hybrid vehicles. One of the plans for Madrid is to upgrade 100% of the city’s street lights to become even more energy-efficient.

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Bio-fuel generated from sewage waste is becoming increasingly popular in Stockholm, powering vehicles all around the Swedish capital. Public transport, bicycles and electric vehicles are being strongly promoted in order to lower the levels of air pollution.

You can see a huge number of eco-hotels and shops that offer sustainable fashion in the city. All of the household waste is being recycled and even the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre was built by reusing recycled material from the previous building. The glass facade of the Congress Centre is actually a solar collector.

9. San Francisco, USA

San Francisco is located in Northern California and is the first city in the USA to ban plastic bags, which happened in 2007. Commonly used plastic utensils have also been prohibited since 2019. San Francisco went through a real eco revolution.

About 80% of the city’s waste is being composted or recycled. San Francisco’s proudly offers healthy organic food to visitors. A lot of the restaurants in the city are committed to sustainable sourcing and serve tasty plant-based dishes. As for the transport: 60% of the taxis run on alternative fuel and the buses – on biodiesel fuel.

10. The Republic of Singapore

This island city-state is aiming to make 80 per cent of the buildings green and become one of the eco-friendliest cities in the world. It already has the title of the most sustainable city in Asia so now its projects are just becoming more ambitious.

Around 40 per cent of the water in Singapore comes from purified water that’s already been used. Natural gas generates more than 90 per cent of the electricity. Singapore is also religiously following the zero-waste trend. Singaporeans are enjoying clean air and maintained lush green spaces. There are more than 70 hectares of rooftop gardens in Singapore.