The world is getting greener, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Luckily, there are plenty of cities where sustainable living has become part of the culture and planning models. We looked at 100 cities around the world to find those that have made sustainable development into an art form and ranked them based on their performance in four categories: economy, environment, equity, and health. Here are our top 10 most sustainable cities in the world:
Vancouver is the most sustainable city in Canada, and it’s not even close. Its LEED-certified buildings are on every block, and its infrastructure loops back into itself like a sustainable ecosystem. The city has bicycle-friendly streets, public transit that takes you anywhere you need to go, and a network of parks that makes walking around pleasant year-round.
Vancouver has been working toward this status for decades: It made history as the first North American city to ban plastic bags in 2011; it also has free wifi at all of its parks—a major bonus if you’re traveling with your whole family!
Copenhagen is one of the most sustainable cities in the world. It has been named the world’s most livable city by Monocle magazine, and it has a strong cycling culture.
Copenhagen also has an excellent public transportation system as well as a number of parks and green spaces.
Stockholm is a leader in sustainability, and you’ll find that the city has been a pioneer for many years. The city is at the forefront of developing innovative technologies such as smart energy grids and traffic control systems, and it also has among the highest levels of biodiversity in Europe. Stockholm’s green spaces make up over 40% of its total area, which means that residents are able to enjoy plenty of time outdoors enjoying nature. These parks also help enhance Stockholm’s reputation as one of Europe’s most livable cities: It has an exceptionally high quality of life and low crime rates compared with other large cities like London or Paris.
Oslo is the world’s most sustainable city. Its high level of biodiversity, innovation, and education make it a great place to live.
Oslo has a long history of environmentalism that dates back to ancient times. In 1909, Oslo passed the first law regulating air pollution in Europe; in the 1970s and 1980s it became home to the first car-free zones in Norway; in 1989 it was recognized as one of Europe’s first cities with a metro system; and in 1993 it became one of the first European Union cities with its own recycling program.
Helsinki is a city known for its architecture, culture and history. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, has a population of over 600,000 people and is located on the sea coast in southern Finland.
The city was founded in 1550 by Swedish king Gustav Vasa as a trading post to expand his empire from Sweden into northern Europe. Helsinki became an important part of Finland during the 19th century when it became the intellectual center for Finnish nationalism; this led to a period of rapid growth for both Finland and Helsinki after its independence from Russia in 1917. Today Helsinki is well-known as being one of Europe’s most livable cities due to its high-quality healthcare system and other factors like safety levels while also providing great opportunities for leisure activities such as sailing or swimming at sea during summertime months with temperatures reaching up past 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) even during winter months where temperatures only reach up around 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit)
Amsterdam is one of the greatest cities on Earth. It’s also a great place to visit, live or do business—and it’s an especially sustainable city. With high bike use and clean water, Amsterdam has long been a leader in sustainability. And those who visit can see how this city—with its museums, parks and architecture—has maintained its status as a cultural hub since being founded in 1275 AD by people from nearby Utrecht.
Curitiba is the capital of Paraná state and is the second-largest city in Brazil. The city was founded on March 24, 1693 by Manuel Cordeiro de Sousa Manoel da Silva, and was first called Vila de Nossa Senhora das Neves do Bom Jesus do Campo dos Padres Jesuítas (Town of Our Lady of the Snows of Good Jesus).
The name honors Brás Cubas (born 1581), a Portuguese baron who took possession of lands in Brazil from which he made large profits. He was made Baron of Curitiba by King Joao V and had his title confirmed by Philip II of Spain in 1657.
Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan and home to more than 2.7 million people, Chicago is a leader in sustainability and innovation. The Windy City has been ranked as the greenest city in America, according to WalletHub’s 2019 report on Best & Worst Cities for Families. The city also boasts strong economic growth—it has a diverse population with over 100 languages spoken in its public schools alone—and is home to more than 200 colleges and universities with nearly 350,000 students enrolled across them all. There are also more than 12 million square feet of green office space available for lease in Chicago!
Sunnyvale is a city in Santa Clara County, California. It is located on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay and borders Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View. The city is home to many high-tech companies such as Yahoo!, Oracle Corporation, and NVIDIA Corporation (a graphics processing unit design company).
Sunnyvale has been recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable cities in America by SustainLane.com.
Switzerland as a country
Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality in Europe, but it’s also one of the most innovative and sustainable countries in the world. With its small population of just 8 million people and an economy that relies on exports, Switzerland has one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world at $81,000 (USD).
Switzerland is consistently ranked among the top 25 countries worldwide for human development. Its low unemployment rate is partially due to its high-skilled workforce. The country has also been recognized for its excellent health care system, which provides free medical care to all citizens; there are no private clinics or hospitals allowed to charge patients for services not covered by health insurance.
These cities have found innovative ways to incorporate sustainability into their development models.
Sustainability is a term that refers to the ability of a city to provide the resources its residents need without compromising the planet’s natural resources. Cities are important because they’re home to major economic activity and also have an outsized impact on global climate change—so it’s crucial that we find ways to make them sustainable. Innovation plays an essential role in sustainability: it can help us develop solutions like solar panels or electric cars, or simply change how we use energy in our homes.
Sustainable cities will have access to clean water, good public transportation systems, reliable power grids, and other amenities that most people take for granted but aren’t available everywhere around the world.
It’s important to remember that there is no one “right way” to be sustainable. The 10 sustainable cities in this list have all developed their own strategies for sustainability, but what they have in common is an appreciation for the environment and a willingness to invest resources in protecting it. In addition, each city has its own unique set of challenges when it comes to greening its infrastructure—some experience more extreme temperatures than others or must deal with pollution issues from nearby industries. What we can take away from these examples is that sustainability doesn’t just happen; rather, it requires long-term planning and commitment from both citizens and policymakers.