The World's Most Eco-Friendly Cities Featured

Now more than ever, urban planners are looking for innovative ways to transform cities, and sustainability-driven designs have inspired the creation of a modern aesthetic. Here are the top 5 eco-friendly cities that are paving the way for the rest of the world.

by 27 April 2018


The Dutch capital is known to house more bikes than people, and it's for this reason that it ranks high as one of the world's most eco-friendly destinations. For those who don't like to travel by bike often go by electric car, where there are more than 300 charging stations across the city. In 2009 the Dutch city launched an innovative project named 'Amsterdam Smart City' that encourages residents to think about their carbon footprint and how they can live more efficiently. Today a large portion of the city's population produce their energy from solar panels, small wind turbines, to reduce their electricty consumption. 

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Copenhagen has often been called the Green Capital of Europe for its environmentally-conscious living and consistent dedication to developing sustainable solutions for their city. In Copenhagen, environmental awareness is not only an extremely popular lifestyle choice, but also public policy. The city is full of enviro-hotels, green spaces, eco-labels that allow residents to shop sustainably. Copenhagen has even eliminated many of its ugly industrial warehouses and factories by transforming the concrete silos into residences and community spaces. Green living is so well integrated into the culture that it’s extremely difficult to name even one commercial property in Copenhagen that isn’t eco-friendly.

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Chicago is largely considered the leader of the environmental movement in the United States. Aside from the fact that most of the population either walks, bikes, or uses public transportation to get to work, much of Chicago’s buildings are LEED recognized, meaning they adhere to the adhere to the high standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council. ne of Chicago's LEED buildings is the Aqua Tower. An 82-story concrete structure, which is partly private residences and partly hotel rooms for the Raddisson Blu Aqua Hotel. its sustainable features include refined terrace extensions that maximise solar shading, water-efficient irrigation, and energy-efficient lighting.

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Dubai is known around the world for its innovative, modern architecture, but many do not realise that the urban framework of the city is extremely mindful of the environment and sustainability. The State of Qatar, just up the Persian Gulf is home to the one-of-a-kind cactus building. Inspired by the cactus and the dessert vegetation native to the area, urban planners through design decided to cultivate a connection with the environment instead of overpowering it. The exterior of the building is covered in smart shades which are reactive to the sunlight—they open and close based on the strength or lack thereof of the sun. It also consists of an ancillary botanic dome, and fittingly serves as the headquarters for the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture.

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Related: The World's Healthiest Destinations


The 1000 Trees project, which is locally called Moganshan, is currently in the works in the city of Shanghai. Moganshan takes on the form of tree-covered "mountains” with terraced columns, atop of which are tree planters. The thousands of trees here will in turn lends green air to the city which is heavily dominated by industrial space. In terms of public functionality, Moganshan is also built to serve as residences, commercial offices, retail space, a hotel, and a school. Along with The Seed Cathedral, a massive building constructed in 2010 from solar-powered fibre-optic filaments with embedded seeds, Shanghai is on its way to becoming one the most eco-friendly and eco-focused communities in the world.



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