How can we make our cities more sustainable? What are the elements of green cities? These questions are important to address as both local and global leaders continue to search for answers on fighting climate change and making our cities better places to live in while keeping our environment safe. Below, we outline five key factors of green and sustainable cities. Hopefully, it can help you on your journey toward making your city greener.
1) Implement Green Architecture
We must embrace green architecture, a style of building in which construction materials are sourced locally, used minimally, or reused for future projects. This way, we can reduce our carbon footprint and avoid harming our environment. Also, when building new construction is absolutely necessary (and it almost always is), use eco-friendly materials whenever possible. The result? A city that’s cleaner, greener, and healthier than ever before.
2) Transportation and EV Charging Stations
In many cities across America, more options are coming online to power electric vehicles (EVs). Charging stations offer several benefits for EV owners. They’re often cheaper than buying gasoline or diesel fuel. They don’t require car owners to plan their trips around refueling, making them more convenient than gas-powered cars. And they help control pollution in an increasingly urbanized world.
According to GetSmarter’s website, “90% of urban dwellers are breathing oxygen that doesn’t meet the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines.” A green and sustainable city should have an improved public transportation system to improve oxygen. That includes streets designed for pedestrians and bicyclists, rather than only cars.
In recent years, many cities have been working to make their streets more bike-friendly. Some have focused on creating bicycle superhighways that connect major destinations. Others have launched green lanes to let cyclists ride safely faster than is allowed on city streets, or even separated bicycle lanes that keep cyclists away from automobile traffic entirely.
3) Access to Public Resources and Green Spaces
Research indicates that exposure to natural areas can make us healthier. According to data collected by The Trust for Public Land, access to parks, playgrounds, public open spaces, gardens, and other public amenities can contribute to improved physical health while also lowering stress levels in individuals. In addition, having easy access to these green spaces has been found to improve a city’s quality of life and economic prosperity.
4) Improve Water Conservation and Waste Management
Many companies—especially those that deal with food—also have to consider their effect on water conservation because they often rely on local water sources. More than three-quarters of US citizens believe corporations should do more to improve waste management in their communities. In addition, it’s a great way for businesses to boost their reputations among consumers who may be sensitive to environmental concerns. A 2015 study found that 73% of people are likely to switch brands due to a company’s stance on climate change.
5) Support Urban Farming
Urban farming has become a popular movement for sustainable, green cities. Urban farms are growing in cities such as Chicago and Detroit, and many other places around the world. Supporting these urban farms is important to sustaining your community while reducing food costs. In addition to supporting urban farms, it’s critical to support local farmers’ markets and other organizations that promote sustainable living. These organizations help educate people about being more environmentally friendly without sacrificing quality or comfort.
A recent study showed that an estimated 4 out of 5 Americans will live in cities by 2035. That means it is a good idea to start preparing for sustainability initiatives, like planting more trees or offering clean transportation. So how can your city become more sustainable?