Top 10 Eco Cities

Top 10 Eco Cities Eco cities have a huge opportunity to impact the magnitude of climate exchange: after all, larger cities are consuming two thirds of the world’s energy and responsible for emitting over 70% of global CO2 emissions.

We analyzed the key objectives of the top 10 eco cities that were ranked highest in terms of environmental sustainability.

Eco cities

Eco Cities need to be intelligent cities. Innovation, technology, competitive specialization, wireless interconnectivity, smart transport systems, smart home-linking power grids, energy consumption, renewable energy, green spaces, recycling, composting, greenhouse gas emissions, natural catastrophe risk, drinking water, sanitation and air pollution.

Top 10

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is well-known for its volcanos and locals found a way to utilize this natures’ gift to create the largest geothermal heating system in the world. Almost 95% of heating in Reykjavik is provided with the use of geothermal power, which basically means that almost all the electricity used in Reykjavik is renewable. This eco city number 1, focuses on the development of their public transportation system and preservation of green spaces. While other cities strive to become 100% renewable energy users by 2050, Reykjavik already is. This makes Reykjavik the greenest city in the world and the top of our list.

2. Zurich, Swiss

In 2016, Arcadis ranked Zurich on top of the Sustainable Cities index for their green energy goal of using just 2,000 watts per person by 2050. The city’s investments in sustainable energy sources and energy efficiency were key to its placement on the list. Commitments to support this goal include sustainable buildings, mobility for the future and an effort to increase public awareness, including events such as annual environment days and the Zurich Multimobil action day. Furthermore, at least 75% of energy needs need to be met using renewable energy sources.

3. Bristol, South West England

Bristol is a city in South-West of England with a population of close to a half a million people. In 2015 the city committed to a sustainable improvements plan with a budget of €500 million for transportation needs and an additional €300 allocated towards renewable energy causes.

From 2005 to 2010 Bristol was able to reduce domestic energy use by 16%. The eco city’s target is to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Bristol is second in the world based on environmental performance, addressing climate change, and recycling practices.

4. Portland, Oregon

Portland is continuously focusing on sustainability and environmental lifestyle. By taking the lead in usage of renewable energy and carpooling, the city has earned the reputation of one of the greenest cities in America. Portland has to offer almost 250 miles of bike paths and 25% of the city’s population uses bikes to get to their workplaces. In addition to this, Portland is a national leader in renewable energy. The city uses 33% renewable energy compared to less than 15% national average. Portland was one of the first cities to ban plastic bags and the city has a recycling plan in place which helps to recycle almost 60% of all generated waste.

5. San Francisco, California

In a study conducted in 2011 by Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Siemens, 27 major cities in North America were compared for sustainability and San Francisco left behind cities like Denver, New York, Seattle and Vancouver. The study took into account parameters such as CO2 emissions per unit, electricity consumption per unit, green spaces, energy efficient buildings and standards, percentage of workers traveling to workplaces by public transit, water consumption and quality policy, waste reduction policies and other. The city was at the top in most categories of the study which made San Francisco (in 2011) the most sustainable city in North America.

6. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is one of the densest cities in Canada, which doesn’t prevent it from being one of the top greenest cities in the world. Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson said: “Cities around the world must show continued leadership to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, and the most impactful change we can make is a shift toward 100% of our energy being derived from renewable sources. The future of Vancouver’s economy and livability will depend on our ability to confront and adapt to climate change. Moving toward 100% renewable energy is another way that Vancouver is working to become the greenest city in the world.” The city put in place a plan according to which Vancouver should become the greenest in the world by 2020. The plan concentrates on climate and renewable energy, green buildings, green transportation, zero waste, clean water, clean air and green economy.

7. Malmo, Sweden

In the last few years, the city is looking forward to a bright environmental future. There are many redevelopment projects scheduled that will take care of brownfields and treat soil contamination. The city put a plan in place according to which the whole city will run on renewable energy by 2030. Malmo is concentrating on reducing greenhouse emission and optimization of transportation facilities, waste management, and proper urban planning.

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen set a goal to become carbon free by 2025 and since 1995 was able to reduce carbon emissions by 50%. Every 10th meal sold in Copenhagen is organic. Copenhagen maintains a developed public transit system and free city bike program which greatly shortens commuter time in this relatively small city.

9. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm was the first city to be awarded the title of the European Green Capital by the EU Commission. The city put in place new standards for cleaner water, had taken an excessive measure towards noise pollution and an outstanding 95% of the population live 300 meters or less from green areas. And now the city has a new target – to be fossil fuel free by 2050. Stockholm features 1000 parks, seven nature reserves within city’s boundary, 12,000 trees in the city center!

10. Oslo, Norway

Oslo produces the least CO2 emissions of all European cities and was one of the first to give up oil heating in buildings in favor of renewable energy. The city’s public transportation system is very developed and a bike rental system makes it very accessible. Oslo received The European Sustainable City Award in 2003 and in 2007 Reader’s Digest ranked Oslo as number two on a list of the world’s greenest, most livable cities.

Building an intelligent city takes a highlevel strategy of economic, social, political, regional and ecological policies and effective governance.

Green Growth

For a green growth, the UCI Urban Sustainability highlights five indicators :

  1. Basic Needs
  2. Resource Efficiency
  3. Environmental Health
  4. Density
  5. Commitment

    1. Link land use planning to industrial restructuring
    2. Support dense liveable environments through transit-oriented ecological development
    3. Use transparent standards and pricing to incentivize behavior
    4. Invest in re-cyclical economy projects
    5. Restructure local government bodies to enable coordination.


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