Posted by: ecodestination | April 10, 2009

What are green cities?

Let’s review.

Essentially, the “green cities movement” comprises loose groups of cities focused on becoming and remaining sustainable. Green cities, I joyfully report, are sprouting worldwide, albeit only in urban areas thus far.

Their point is, as I’m sure you’ve guessed already, to lessen their environmentally destructive impact. Green cities do this by reducing their waste, recycling it, and reusing materials. Their goals are lowering emissions and increasing housing density, green spaces, and sustainable local businesses.

Remember Gothenburg’s ecotopia?  Same concepts, although Gothenburg’s are more evolved.




I was surprised to learn that a typical green city is located in Brazil: Curitiba. This city went green back in the 1970s!

Curitiba has a high-tech bus system and has worked to increase population density around transit hubs, enabling other areas to become green, open land instead of stimulating urban sprawl.  I’m not sure why this city counts as green when it has such a long way to go, but if it’s the best Brazil’s got right now, I’ll take it. It’s got a lot more than many cities can boast, after all.

And remember Iceland? Reykjavik relies on geothermal and hydropower for heating and generating most of its electricity. This city has the largest geothermal heating system in the world. In fact, it was ranked 1st in Grist Magazine’s “15 Greenest Cities” list. On the other hand, it’s got large scale urban sprawl and one of the highest worldwide per-capita ownerships. Public transport consists of an unpopular hydrogen-powered bus system.



We should note that Reykjavik plans to go fossil fuel-free by 2050, though. Cheers to that.

Other green cities include Sydney, Copenhagen, Portland, and Seattle. More on that coming up.


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