Singapore school children enjoy the greenery at Gardens By The Bay (picture courtesy Shutterstock).
Singapore has been ranked as Asia’s greenest city in a recent survey.
Of course, one upside to the current coronavirus pandemic is that cities around the world are being seen in a greener light. From dolphins cruising the Italian coastline, to porpoises popping up in English rivers and leatherback sea turtles lazing on Thai beaches, the pandemic seems to have given nature the space to spread out.
But Singapore still tops the green charts when all is ‘normal’.
Resonance, a consultancy group covering real estate, tourism and economic development, recently released its annual list of the world’s greenest cities.
The group examined the world’s 50 most-visited cities, measured by the total number of reviews each urban area received on Tripadvisor.
These cities were then ranked by nine categories, including percentage of the city dedicated to public green spaces, the city’s walkability, availability of composting and recycling programmes, the number of quality farmers’ markets, water consumption, air quality, the percentage of energy needs met by renewable sources and the percentage of the population that uses public transport to commute to work.
Top of the list came Vienna. The Austrian capital gets a whopping 30% of its total energy needs from renewable sources and half – that’s right, half – of its population uses public transport to and from work each day. The city also boasts 135 farmers’ markets and heaps of public green spaces.
In Asia, only Singapore made an appearance amongst the Europe-dominated top ten, coming in at number eight. Singapore has been working hard on its ‘garden city’ credentials, highlighted by the Gardens By The Bay city park. Hundreds of acres of reclaimed urban land has been repurposed over the last nine years as cultivated parkland, creating a green lung in downtown Singapore.
The full list runs as follows:
10. Washington DC, USA – according to the report, the US capital boasts a ‘surprising’ number of farmers’ markets and plenty of public plazas and parks, including the new US$2.5 billion mixed-use Wharf riverfront development.
9. Amsterdam, The Netherlands – with lots of walk and cycleways, as well as waterways and a tram network, this city is a nirvana for public transport lovers.
8. Singapore – garden city credentials and an affordable housing policy that protects 80% of locals took the Asian city into the top ten.
7. Lisbon, Portugal – the city boasts some of Europe’s largest number of farmers’ markets and an ambitious recycling and composting programme.
6. Manchester, United Kingdom – a surprising contender given its industrial heritage, Manchester these days is all about the pedestrian and also boasts one of Europe’s widest used public transport systems.
5. Sao Paulo, Brazil – the city is among the largest users in the world of renewable energy and its multicultural population has triggered an enormous wave of farmers markets.
4. Madrid, Spain – the capital city boasts plenty of green spaces to stretch out in, as well as lots of pedestrian-loving projects, such as making the Gran Via boulevard safer and more accessible for walkers.
3. Berlin, Germany – Berliners use the least amount of water per capita in Europe and are keen users of public transport. The city also offers plenty of parks and open spaces.
2. Munich, Germany – this is one of the most walkable cities in the world and also owns the most-used public transit system. The air quality, unsurprisingly, ranked particularly highly, too.
1. Vienna, Austria – plenty of parks and public transport-loving locals tipped Vienna into first place.