When I moved houses a few months back, before I got into turning my place into a Smart Home, I had to find the perfect house. This sparked a whole conversation about the best place to live. The discussions were rapidly hijacked from “which is the best part of the city to live in?” to “which are the best cities worldwide?”, which is what I needed to find out! This criteria of “best” seemed to be reduced to how eco friendly a city is. The logic has strong arguments and I guess I must accredit this awakening to my multi-cultural colleagues who seem to focus on the bigger picture.
In any case, the conversations were rich but no one seemed to be able to agree on which city was the most eco friendly. So I delved into the subject to get the bigger bigger picture and you can understand where the quality of life if far above average.
The Methodology: Here at Trovit, we went through as many articles we would find on the topic as well as major studies. We then brought it together to get an average score on which city was most Eco-Friendly.
The Results: Northern European cities dominate the results by far. With just one entry from North America and a surprise entry from Brazil.
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen rose to the top of the ranking as the world’s most eco-friendly city. It is no wonder that Danish people are known to be the happiest nation in the world. This seems just to show how the environment can affect its citizens. More than just being eco-friendly, Copenhagen sets the standard for bicycle friendliness. This green vision clearly comes from the top as the government aims to be carbon neutral by 2025.
2. Stockholm, Sweden
The fact that Stockholm was the first city in Europe to win the European Green Capital Award shows why it is here at number 2 of this list. Stockholm is also cleaner than most other cities. The seamless integration of nature and city through the countryside, the archipelago and the lack of heavy industry and pollution make for clean, crisp air perfect for enjoying the outdoors by boat or by bike.
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Famous for being the city with more bikes than people, Amsterdam has earned its title for the most bicycle-friendly capital. Priority is given to this type of transportation that is definitely a major factor in its greenness. Not only does biking ensure better physical health, it also means the quality of life is superior to most places.
4. Curitiba, Brazil
The surprise contender in this list is the Brazilian city of Curitiba. Besides having developed one of the biggest bus and public transport systems, Curitiba’s environmental agency has been studying the effect of its CO2 emissions and the CO2 absorption rate in the municipal green spaces. Armed with this knowledge, they also implemented an innovative recycling program which allows its poorer residents food and transit in exchange for recyclable collection. About 90 percent of residents recycle, which is far greater than many of other powerful developed countries.
5. Vancouver, Canada
The only contender from North America, it is no surprise that Vancouver caps off this list. With its proximity to the mountains as well as the Pacific, the city has naturally embraced its surroundings. Vancouver made the top 5 of this list for the smallest CO2 emissions of any city according to The Green City Index.
At the end of the day and the conversations I had, I ended up in Barcelona which didn’t make the Top 5 but is known for its greenness and its quality of life. Not much to complain about!