Every new generation thinks more and more about the environment and our planet. We realised that it is our only home and that we have to protect it at all costs. Living eco-friendly is not just a term now, it is a part of our normal lifestyle, and moreover, everyone strives to live in a greener and more eco-friendly city.
What about the greenest and most eco-friendly cities in Europe? Not only that they are green and eco-friendly, they proved to be some of the best student cities as well.
There are many different factors, but we have come up with 4 that seem to be the most important ones for students:
Nowadays, there isn’t a perfect eco-friendly city, but some are getting really close to this title and are working towards the goal to become the greenest city in the world. They are increasing their budgets in order to develop new cycle lanes, to make the public transport totally CO2 free, to clean the harbors and the rivers and to reduce air pollution. Planting more trees and creating more green spaces is now mandatory for each city.
Copenhagen has won so many prices for an eco-friendly city that it starts to be something normal. The rich infrastructure dedicated to cycling and the possibility to swim in the harbor waters are really amazing. Queen Louise’s bridge has the highest bicycle traffic in Europe - over 35 000 people cross it during rush hour. Copenhagen aims to be the world’s best city for cyclists. The goal is to have more than 50% of the population using bikes to go to work or school.
Copenhagen sets the goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. The city will achieve a CO2 reduction by increasing its renewable energy sources and expanding the central heating to all city districts.
Bristol is one of the top ranked green cities because of its clean environment, few greenhouse gases and a lot of trees and green spaces. City authorities are investing €500 million in eco-friendly public transport and €300 million in sustainability and renewable energy, and this is the budget only until 2020.
Despite its growing economy, the city is constantly reducing CO2 emissions. Bristol is on the path to become a European hub for the low-carbon industry, creating 17 000 new jobs by 2030 in the creative, digital and low carbon sectors.
The city is the greenest place in England with a very good air quality. In the last years, the number of cyclists doubled. Bristol is working to increase its renewable energy sources and decrease its CO2 emissions by 80% in 2050.
To transform from one of the most industrialised cities in Germany to one of the eco-friendly capitals of Europe, Hamburg went through a lot of changes. People call the city “The German Venice”, because of the harbor on the banks of the river Elbe, and the importance of Hamburg as an industrial, cultural and scientific center in Germany.
One of the main goals of the city is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% in 2020 and by 80% in 2050. The public transport is so well developed, that it is accessible within 300 meters, no matter where in the city you are. It gives you an optimal accessibility to green places and parks.
The air quality is one of the best in the world taking into account that the city has a population of about 1.8 million.
Nijmegen has been awarded the title of European Green Capital 2018. A well-deserved award after tireless work on sustainability and greening the city. An interesting fact is, that there are 1400m2 of green roofs on top of municipal buildings and almost 1500 solar panels. The city’s busses run on regionally produced biogas.
There are about 250 000 bicycles in the city and 65% of them make the trip from Radboud University of Applied Sciences to the city center. There are 60 km of cycle roads and 20 km more under construction.
You won’t believe it, but 67% of the waste is recycled and by the end of 2020 the number should be increased to 75%. What is not recycled is converted into energy for district heating.
Considered as one of the cleanest and most eco-friendly cities in Europe, Reykjavik is a leader in sustainability and green technologies. The public transport drives on hydrogen! Central heating and electricity come from geothermal power stations – all the energy comes from the Erath 100% green and renewable. The city is about to get the title “A city without greenhouse gas emissions” by the year 2040. The city government is promoting and working on different projects to increase walking, cycling and using the eco-friendly public transport and electric cars.
Speaking of electric cars, the city offers free parking spaces for their owners and is making the sidewalks bigger and bigger, so they can fit more pedestrians.
The city that has more bicycles than people! There are more than 450 km of bike lanes – the best transportation tool during peak hours. But even without a bike you can move easily from place to place - there are plenty of pedestrian areas filled with trees, parks and canals.
Maybe no need to mention it, but Amsterdam is filled with vegan, organic and bio places all around the city. The people in Amsterdam are proud of their locally produced vegetables.
Amsterdam is filled with trees, ponds, flowers and green areas – there are over 30 parks in Amsterdam. There are places for BBQs and events in the parks. Moreover, don’t miss to visit the botanical gardens (they were established in 1638 and are one of the oldest in the world)
The “Green View Index” is a rating that quantifies each city's percentage of canopy coverage based on aerial images. The ranking below is based on this rating: