10 of the Most Eco-Friendly Cities in the World
(And What We Can Learn From Them)

By: Miovision Team | Mar 25, 2024
Buildings in Copenhagen, Denmark at sunrise

Image source: Canva

 

While there is a lot to be concerned about when it comes to the environmental sustainability of many major cities, some eco-friendly cities are leading the charge against climate change and deserve to be recognized. 

The most eco-friendly cities in the world span many countries, from western Canada to South Africa. They’re generally classified based on having efficient transportation networks, dependable renewable energy systems, and an overall commitment to sustainable living. While they might be thousands of miles apart, they’re united in their vision to put their greenest foot forward and make the world a better place. 

In this blog, we’re going to highlight 10 of the most eco-friendly cities in the world right now, and, perhaps most importantly, what we can learn from them. 

 

1. Reykjavik, Iceland 

Despite being one of the smaller cities on the list with a population of only 140,000, Reykjavik is a beacon for sustainability worldwide. Known for its breathtaking sights and hot springs, this Icelandic haven is paving the way forward through eco-friendly transportation. 

The city, which intends to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, has made serious investments in cycling paths. Its government has also taken strides to make electric vehicles more accessible through free parking and tax benefits

 

2. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is the crown jewel of western Canada; its sights are rivaled only by its commitment to being eco-friendly. They’ve achieved such environmentally-focused success by investing heavily in their green jobs economy. 

This sector, in which one in every 15 Vancouverites works, encompasses local food, green building design and construction, clean technology, and more. The city is proof that sustainability is achieved internally by creating opportunities! 

 

3. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki—a beautiful Finnish city and a beloved tourist destination—is one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world. The evidence is in how people move: 77% of all trips taken in this city are by foot, bicycle, or public transportation. 

The city is proof that if you can provide attractive alternatives, people will be more than willing to stop driving their polluting cars. Getting more people to use public transit requires the kind of unwavering commitment and effort Helsinki has put into its networks. 

 

4. Cape Town, South Africa 

Cape Town is known for its culture but also deserves to be known for its forward-thinking approach to technology development and deployment—the city is home to the Atlantis Special Economic Zone for green technology manufacturing. 

Similar to Vancouver, Cape Town is proof that true sustainability often comes from within. When cities invest in eco-friendly technologies and opportunities for their people, they can lead by example and help all the communities around them. 

San Francisco’s city line seen through the Golden Gate Bridge

Image source: Canva

 

5. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is one of the largest eco-friendly cities on this list with a population of over 800,000. This Bay Area gem, perhaps best known for the Golden Gate Bridge, is leading the change when it comes to sustainable waste management. 

After making big strides since an initial pledge in 2002, the city has since set its sights on reducing solid waste generation by 15% and disposal to landfill or incineration by 50% by 2030. They’re laying the groundwork when it comes to waste! 

 

6. Portland, Oregon

Forget about doing well in just the United States; Portland has become one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world in recent years. The city’s commitment and investments in making biking more accessible have been a driving factor. 

The challenges of sharing the road with motorists often deter would-be cyclists, which is why Portland has developed 2,810 cycle paths within the city. They’re another reminder that people will embrace sustainable transportation if you build the infrastructure. 

 

7. Berlin, Germany

Berlin isn’t just one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world—it’s one of the most famous cities in the world, too. Amazingly, its government has chosen to use this fame for good and turn it into a landmark for all things sustainability. 

One thing Berlin has done exceptionally well is to make driving electric vehicles more convenient and accessible through the installation of over 3,000 charging ports. Removing barriers to entry is the key to incentivizing people to switch to EVs and thus reducing car emissions

 

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, truly a sight to behold, absolutely belongs on this list of eco-friendly cities thanks to its commitment to reducing fossil fuel usage. Few other cities have been as aggressive or determined to adopt renewable energy and lower their carbon emissions. 

The city’s goal is to be completely fossil-fuel-free by 2040. They’ve created a blueprint for the rest of the world to follow: lowering overall energy expenditure by setting standards on new buildings and shifting away from natural gas in favor of biogas. 

bikes leaning against a walking bridge in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Image source: Canva

 

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Netherlands has seemingly always been at the forefront of sustainable development, with Amsterdam being the heart and soul of it all. It’s one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world for several reasons, primarily its approach to transportation. 

The Netherlands’ bike infrastructure is incredible. They’ve made biking the preferred mode of travel by improving convenience through storage spaces near public transit and also made it much safer through the use of protected intersections. Take notes! 

 

10. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is last but certainly not least on our list of the most eco-friendly cities in the world. It could very well be considered the most environmentally sustainable city in the world if it reaches its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025

It’s become one of the greenest cities by doing so much right, from protecting green spaces to encouraging cycling and sourcing food organically. Copenhagen is proof that achieving lofty climate goals is possible if you have the courage to set them. 

 

Technology to Build More Eco-Friendly Cities

From Vancouver to Copenhagen, the most eco-friendly cities in the world are setting an example for the rest of us to follow. This is especially true when it comes to building the infrastructure needed to reduce transportation-related emissions. 

The road to building an eco-friendly city starts with the roads themselves. Miovision provides the tools and data cities need to correct inefficiencies in their road networks causing excess air pollution. Our products and platform give transportation planners and professionals what they need to make impactful changes. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we’re helping create eco-friendly cities!