“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

From the eco-friendly city landscapes to the thriving farmlands to the mandatory implementation of green practices, some cities that have become a part of the tree-hugging community can really make you green with envy. With sustainable practices sprawling into their community, we cannot really blame these cities to literally look greener on the map.

With plants and trees everywhere these communities have made the globe more vibrant through their eco-friendly efforts. Indeed, when we talk about smart cities, we’re not only referring to the high-end innovations, but we are also turning our heads to communities that are not only greener, but more gorgeous inside and out. So if you think trees have no place in this world anymore, take a virtual tour around these cities and for sure, your mind will change in a heartbeat.

What Makes a City Green? 

A city can’t really claim eco-friendliness unless it has initiated small and large-scale projects that seek to protect the environment. As we all know, the greener the city is, the higher its score on CO2 emissions is since its air is filtered by a variation of trees and plants. Furthermore, cities that have vowed to go green are characterized by highly efficient waste management, transportation options, city landscapes and of course, the overall implementation of policies that mandate people to embrace eco-friendly measures.

Simply put, the government and the people within green cities choose to stay committed to the decision of making their environment a greener place to live in—a world where the environment doesn’t need protection because sustainable measures are already assuring its longevity.

San Francisco, California

Popular for landing the top spot on recycling rates in North America, San Francisco’s eco-friendly methods have gained world recognition. Through segregating compostable and reusable wastes from other garbage types, the city scored as high as 77% in respect to recycling. Additionally, the city’s dedication in terms of the establishment of farmer’s markets has made sustainable living within its locals’ reach—proof that while San Francisco may be popular for its amazing landmarks, there is so much more to the city that can make you want to visit and experience its local sceneries.

Curitiba, Brazil

Home not only of beauty queens, Brazil can also brag about one of its cities in the south, Curitiba. In the 60’s, a highly efficient bus transit was introduced to its people to promote public transportation. Then, in the 80’s, Curitiba designed a world-renowned recycling program that seeks to ensure proper waste management within the city.

Since public transportation in the city is already functioning optimally, Curitiba has ranked highly in terms of air quality. While further improvements can be done to guarantee the longevity of its eco-friendliness, the fact that this city produces cleaner air and a greener environment to its people secured its spot on our list.

Cape Town, South Africa

Lions aren’t the only ones that continue to roar in Africa as Cape Town is also making a mark in the world because of its eco-friendly measures. With electricity generation from windfarms that initially started in the year 2008, the city also aims to concentrate more on power generation by the use of renewable sources to answer to some of the power shortages in the city.

Furthermore, the green goals of the city has also improved the way locals live as they are now more knowledgeable on the importance of sourcing out food locally. This paved the way to the popularity of farms that feature produce from farmers. As we all know, the more organic the food is, the more advantageous it is for our overall health. Likewise, paths that are friendlier to bicyclists are being developed more to lessen carbon footprints in the city. Since the city possesses green landscapes, both locals and tourists are turning to bicycling instead of using private vehicles when touring around the city.

Portland, Oregon

While bicycle programs may not be new to its locals, exercycles that are powered by electricity are also a big hit in Oregon’s biggest city, Portland. Aside from the city’s amazing green landscapes, Portland is also famous for its green food trucks. Just imagine having a spoonful of macaroni n’ cheese made up of cashew provolone, and you will surely want to try visiting this magnificent city. Plus, if you are a tree-hugger, you will surely enjoy roaming around the city streets with the view of big trees and ports at your side. Indeed, Portland is a must-visit if you are looking for something green.

Copenhagen, Denmark

You can’t really find a green city list without Copenhagen at one of the top spots. Known for its consistency in scoring highly on air quality, this European city’s popularity in terms of eco-friendly is definitely for a good cause as over 50% of its residents ride a bike for traveling short distances. In the like manner, every resident is only about 350 meters away from modes of public transport, making it unnecessary to own and use a private car on a daily basis. And oh, let’s not forget that the city is also using windmills for electricity generation. With all of these factors combined, there’s no need to wonder why the city successfully lessens its carbon footprints despite its size. Imagine waking up just a few meters away from transportation, and for sure, you’ll want to be a part of Copenhagen.

Vancouver, Canada

If you are a proponent of eco-tourism, you surely won’t want to miss out on visiting the famous eco-city in Canada, Vancouver. With beautiful community gardens, efficient pedestrian lanes and bike-friendly routes, there’s no need to figure out why the air quality within the city continues to top charts. The city doesn’t stop there as it also plans to lessen its emissions by about a third by the year 2020. This is definitely proof that no matter how successful your efforts are, you shouldn’t stop at anything especially if you’re talking about going green.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Also securing a spot in the top cities that are eco-friendly in nature, Minneapolis has gained recognition for its continuous support in bike sharing programs. In fact, it already has 170 bike stations to date, making bikes more accessible to more locals within the community. Even its shopping center, the Mall of America, is going green as it doesn’t use a centralized heating system to make sure the temperature within the area is well-regulated. It uses a renewable source of energy—yes, you got it right. It takes advantage of solar power to keep shoppers cozy no matter what season. Additionally, it is also well-known for rainwater and ice melt collection to ensure all possible resources are reused.

More than their stunning natural landscapes that became a tourist landmark, what makes green cities remarkable is their adherence to protect the environment. Indeed, the right governance, paired with an eco-conscious community, can go a long way.