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Top 10 cities leading in urban sustainability

10 cities around the world are leading in change to help climate change and this article looks at each city and the schemes they are running towards urban sustainability. What would your dream city look like? Maybe this blog will give you some ideas.

With climate change, it is becoming clear that countries won’t be making changes from the outside in but more from the inside out. As governments are battling over climate change policies for whole countries, cities are leading the way with innovative ideas to help us survive the future. In September 2013, Siemens and C40 (the Cities Climate Leadership Group) honoured the top 10 winners of the inaugural City Climate Leadership Awards, an award given to cities around the world that have shown a level of excellence in urban sustainability and “leadership in the fight against climate change.” Read on to find out who the top 10 are:

Bogota: Urban Transportation

The Bus Rapid Transit System in Bogota shuttles over 70% of the city’s giant 7.1 million-person population. That alone is an incredible feat. It also has an award winning taxi fleet. It puts other city public transit systems to shame.

Melbourne: Energy Efficient Built Environment

Melbourne houses a sustainable buildings program that gives building managers money and financing for energy and water appliances.

Copenhagen: Carbon Measurement and Planning

Copenhagen has a rather ambitious 2025 Climate Plan that aims for the city to be completely carbon neutral by 2025. If Copenhagen succeeds, it will be the first carbon neutral city in the whole world.

Mexico City: Air Quality

Mexico City may not conjure up thoughts of clean, fresh air, but with their ProAire program, the city has dramatically decreased their CO2 emissions and air pollution over the last 20 years. It is pretty impressive that they went from being one of the most polluted cities, to the best in under 20 years. Just shows what cities can do.

Munich: Green Energy

Munich, similar to Copenhagen, plans to power the entire city using renewable energy by 2025. Right now, 37% of the city is run on renewable sources. With the introduction of wind projects, that number is expected to jump to 80%.

Rio De Janiero: Sustainable Communities

Rio plans to re-urbanize all of the favelas by 2020 as apart of the Morar Carioca Program. This will include a combination of better infrastructure, landscaping and raised awareness/education. 20% of the city’s population live in these settlements, and this program will greatly improve their health and well-being.

NYC: Adaptation and Resilience

Hurricane Sandy shook New York City into creating the Stronger, More Resilient New York action plan that has an ambitious plan of over 250 infrastructure resilient initiatives including transport, telecommunications, parks, insurance and buildings.

San Francisco: Waste Management

80% of all rubbish in San Francisco doesn’t make it to the landfills. The city’s 11 year old zero waste program hopes to raise this to 100% by 2020.

Singapore: Intelligent City Infrastructure

Singapore has much lower congestion rates than most other cities due to its Intelligent transport System. They have an electronic road toll collection system and real-time traffic data from GPS-equipped taxis.

Tokyo: Finance and Economic Development

Tokyo has managed to prevent over 7 million tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere with its cap and trade program. Currently 1,100 facilities take place in the scheme, cutting emissions by 13%.

How incredible would it be if every city in the world used one, two, three, four of these different plans towards helping climate change?! The world’s problems would begin to diminish before our eyes. One thing worth noting here is that some of these initiatives have been in place for many years. It means all the rest of the cities are already behind. What is the situation in your city? Do you have effective environmental schemes that make a huge difference?

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