Get us in your inbox

Bosco Verticale in Milan
Image: Shutterstock / Time Out

21 amazing things cities are accomplishing to action the altitude crisis

Urban forests, board skyscrapers and 3D-printed homes: these are the beat burghal initiatives that could advice save the planet

Written by
Huw Oliver
Ed Cunningham
Sophie Dickinson

We don’t appetite to point the finger, but cities accept a lot to acknowledgment for back it comes to altitude change. The access of outsize metropolises about the apple has acutely brought untold allowances to billions. We wouldn’t accept the jobs, affairs or apple we accept after cities. But again came the carnage...

There were the copse and wildlife we absent – and abide to lose. The steel-and-concrete barrio that pump CO₂ into the atmosphere. The sewage-blighted rivers. The cartage and factories that accomplish the simple act of breath absolutely a bit harder. Oh, and accept you apparent the foxes? Accept you apparent how sad they look?

If we are to go some way to accident the accident bodies accept inflicted on the world, again absolute change is activity to accept to appear in massive burgs like London, TokyoNew York and all the rest. Happily, there’s already affluence of innovative, planet-friendly being activity on in cities large and small. Actuality are 21 ablaze account from about the apple that could advice us bottle our abundant city lives for centuries to come.

Cities arch the action adjoin altitude change

Bogotá is going on a bike-lane-building spree
Photograph: VW Pics/Universal Images Accumulation via Getty Images

1. Bogotá is activity on a bike-lane-building spree

During the pandemic, Bogotá ramped up its efforts to accomplish bike biking the norm. In Advance 2020, the burghal laid out 84 kilometres of emergency aeon lanes to advice basic agents get to work, and it will anon add addition 280 kilometres of them. Acknowledgment to this policy, the Colombian basic already enjoys the accomplished bike acceptance in Latin America – and it’s abiding to become alike added of a cyclists’ paradise in years to come.

 🚴 How Bogotá became a world-beating cycling haven

Barcelona is banning cars from entire ‘superblocks’
Photograph: Josep Lago / AFP via Getty Images

2. Barcelona is banning cars from absolute ‘superblocks’

Barcelona is abundantly grid-like, and the burghal is authoritative the best of its different blueprint to ban cartage from huge, anew created ‘superblocks’: groupings of dozens of neighbouring streets. Cars are alone accustomed to drive annular the ambit of anniversary block, about pedestrianising a all-inclusive bind of the centre (and convalescent air affection significantly). The plan is to eventually actualize 503 superblocks that amplitude appropriate beyond the Catalan capital.

🚦 How Barcelona’s ‘superblock’ plan is abstraction out a post-car future

Durban is changing lives with free cooking bags
Photograph: Wonderbag

3. Durban is alteration lives with chargeless affable bags

The All-around South is already address the burden of the altitude crisis. And women are disproportionately affected. But in the South African burghal of Durban, admiral accept begin a way both to advice the planet and action gender inequality. Aftermost year alone, it handed out 60,000 Wonderbags: essentially, big bolt holdalls you can put pots and pans in, so they abide to slow-cook aliment for hours afterwards you booty them off the stove. Lower carbon emissions, endless of baptize saved, beneath calm air pollution: win-win-win.

🍲 These eco-friendly affable accoutrements are transforming women’s lives in Durban

Milan is being transformed into an urban forest
Photograph: Libero_Monterisi /

4. Milan is actuality adapted into an burghal forest

Three million. That’s the abracadabra cardinal of copse Milan intends to bulb by 2030. That amounts to one new timberline per citizen, and the burghal is burying them on roads, in parks and alike on building balconies. Clashing abounding added ‘regreening’ schemes, the burghal is cerebration locally, pinpointing the areas with the accomplished temperatures and the places best amid to actualize ‘green corridors’ to affix absolute forests. Now it wants to affect added cities to do the same.

🌳 How Milan is actuality adapted into one gigantic burghal forest

Paris is going car-free (in the centre, at least)
Photograph: Kiran Ridley via Getty Images

5. Paris is activity car-free (in the centre, at least)

Paris added tens of kilometres of new bike lanes aftermost year, authoritative it easier than anytime to canal your car in the Burghal of Light. Now it’s acquisitive to booty things one footfall added – by banning best cartage altogether in the aboriginal four arrondissements from 2022. That would beggarly cars would no best be able to drive through a massive block of the city, addition all the way from the Abode de la Alcove to the Abode de la Concorde.

🌿 How Paris affairs to become Europe’s greenest burghal by 2030

Tallinn has made all public transport free
Photograph: M.Pakats /

6. Tallinn has fabricated all accessible carriage free

When Tallinn alien chargeless accessible carriage in 2013, the altitude crisis wasn’t the city’s capital concern. The government initially capital to access the advancement of lower-income citizens, but as the emergency has worsened, the burghal is seeing the ecology allowances too. Tallinn has laid the background for how cities can actualize a working, financially applicable arrangement that prioritises accumulation carriage over clandestine cars – a change that is all-important to badly abate emissions worldwide.

🚋 Tallinn fabricated all accessible carriage chargeless – but did it advice barrier emissions?

Basel is planting wildflowers on every flat roof
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Basel is burying wildflowers on every collapsed roof

On top of every collapsed roof in Basel – new and old – you’ll anon acquisition a advancing wildflower garden. For the accomplished decade or so, the close burghal has fabricated it a claim that all houses, offices and added barrio awning abandoned roof amplitude with biodiverse greenery. All that accustomed insulation agency lower activity bills, and the arrangement has additionally fabricated attenuate birds a added common afterimage throughout the city.

🌼 How Basel started a green-roof anarchy in Europe

Tokyo is showing other cities how to cool the eff down
Photograph: Hirohito Takada /

8. Tokyo is assuming added cities how to air-conditioned the eff down

In the lead-up to this year’s Olympic and Paralympic games, Tokyo trialled several types of cooling technology to adverse the city’s airless summer heat. From solar-blocking acrylic and misting building to cleaner forms of air conditioning and barrio fabricated out of copse rather than animate and concrete (like the aboriginal Adorn Civic Stadium, pictured), abounding of those $.25 of tech accepted acknowledged in abbreviation the ‘heat island’ effect. As the apple keeps accepting warmer, the measures alien in Tokyo are accordant to cities across the globe.

🥵 Tokyo is assuming added cities how to air-conditioned the eff down

Amsterdam is embracing a funny-named economic model
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Amsterdam is all-embracing a funny-named bread-and-butter model

In Amsterdam, the government and grassroots campaigners accept affiliated to embrace the alleged ‘doughnut’ bread-and-butter archetypal – and now it is influencing all burghal decisions and policy-making. The capital ambition is to actualize a applicable approaching for the planet, while additionally affair the needs of the animal population: this candied spot, the doughnut, is what all governments should be aiming for. The result? The burghal has adopted a bulk of aggressive targets, alignment from renewable energy and green spaces to architecture acceptable aliment systems and abbreviation consumption.

🍩 How Amsterdam is all-embracing the ‘doughnut model’ – and why added cities should too

Austin is 3D-printing an entire neighbourhood
Photograph: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

10. Austin is 3D-printing an absolute neighbourhood

Why is 3D-printed apartment eco-friendly, you ask? Put simply, the apple citizenry is exploding and we’re activity to charge endless added homes, fast. Software and machine-based architecture uses beneath energy, wastes beneath assets and builds backdrop to a college blueprint than acceptable architecture methods – so, in theory, the ambiance suffers far less. Austin in Texas is building an absolute neighbourhood of 3D-printed homes, hopefully ambience a antecedent for a added able and acceptable band-aid to the all-around apartment crisis.

 🏠 An absolute neighbourhood of 3D-printed homes is actuality congenital in Austin

Copenhagen is urging locals to grow their own food
Photograph: Anna Svetlova /

11. Copenhagen is advancement locals to abound their own food

Copenhagen’s green-fingered citizens can advice animate biodiversity while growing their own (no agnosticism awful tasty) dinner. The burghal has one of the world’s better networks of accessible burghal farms, including Byhaven2200, area volunteers and visitors can banquet amid vegetable and assemble planters. There’s additionally Øens Have, which runs aggregate from common agronomical projects to agronomics seminars and yoga lessons. Coolest of all, perhaps, is Havhøst, area seaweed is developed on the harbourfront for bodies and abyssal activity alike.

🌾 How Copenhagen became the greenest burghal in Europe

Vancouver is making big buildings out of wood
Photograph: Basin Acreage Development / Perkins Will

12. Vancouver is authoritative big barrio out of wood

Building with animate and accurate produces heckloads of CO₂. So, in Vancouver, a host of beat architects accept committed their careers to amalgam barrio with able balk instead. This copse requires abundant beneath activity to aftermath and can be sustainably sourced. It’s additionally decidedly fire-resistant. There are several notable all-embracing projects in the city, but the best absorbing charge be the 40-storey Earth Tower (pictured), which will anon be the world’s tallest board skyscraper.

Curitiba has trained an army of 7,000 ‘bee guardians’
Photograph: Shutterstock

13. Curitiba has accomplished an army of 7,000 ‘bee guardians’

In the Brazilian burghal of Curitiba, bee pollination is amenable for advancement a whopping 90 percent of bulb species. To accumulate its burghal green, Curitiba hasn’t aloof reintroduced bristles altered breed of stingless bees to added than 50 sites (including parks, schools and museums). It’s additionally boarded on a attack to brainwash all the association about the allowances of bees. Curitiba alike runs chargeless account training courses in beekeeping, which accept accomplished added than 7,000 ‘bee guardians’ in aloof two years.

Buenos Aires is powering homes with landfill
Photograph: Shutterstock

14. Buenos Aires is powering homes with landfill

Methane has 80 times the concise all-around abating ability of carbon dioxide – and one of the mains places it comes from is landfills, back aliment and amoebic decay alpha to decompose and absolution gas. The CEAMSE ability bulb in Buenos Aires pipes that methane into biogas plants, not alone preventing it from spewing into the atmosphere but additionally allowance to break the city’s activity problems.

Freiburg is leading the way on eco-friendly design
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. Freiburg is arch the way on eco-friendly design

Freiburg is apparently best accepted as one of Germany’s best acclaimed university towns, but it’s additionally at the beginning of eco-friendly burghal design. A bastion of the German Blooming Party, the burghal is transforming the way its barrio absorb activity and resources. From football aggregation S.C. Freiburg’s solar-powered amphitheater to Vauban, a ‘sustainable district’ in the suburbs (pictured), the burghal is auspiciously establishing itself as a blooming alarm in the foothills of the Atramentous Forest.

Hong Kong is making energy-efficient skyscrapers
Photograph: Shutterstock

16. Hong Kong is authoritative energy-efficient skyscrapers

Hong Kong has 1,500 skyscrapers – and they absorb about 90 percent of the city’s electricity, authoritative them appealing abundant an ecology nightmare. But the tallest of them all, the ICC, is absolutely appealing green. The building’s operators use a wireless arrangement of sensors to assignment out which areas charge ability and those that don’t. That agency there’s basically no decay (and saves 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year). Abounding new high-rises in the burghal are now afterward suit.

Helsinki is helping people go out better
Photograph: Yiping Feng / Ling Ouyang

17. Helsinki is allowance bodies go out better

Step one of planning a cruise to a new burghal is alive out the absolutely air-conditioned things to do, right? Helsinki admiral agree, so they’ve created a adviser that allows you to acquisition fun being and accomplish acceptable choices. The burghal is aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2035, and the My Helsinki agenda lists the greenest bars, clubs and cultural spaces to abutment that goal. Entries accommodate the chiefly anxious Amos Rex arcade and Flow Festival, one of the world’s aboriginal carbon-neutral music festivals.

Ulaanbaatar is educating the masses with outdoor art
Photograph: Amnat Phuthamrong /

18. Ulaanbaatar is educating the masses with alfresco art

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, is belled for its abundant assurance on coal. The city’s industries use the activity antecedent to run basically everything, so the anniversary Nogoonbaatar Eco Art Festival stepped into brainwash locals and (hopefully) affect change. The programme appearance a mix of all-embracing artists and bounded designers, and includes street art exhibitions and academy outreach, with abounding contest demography abode in debris dump-turned-park Abundance Lake. The organisers accept alike appear up with their own plan to cut carbon emissions, which the burghal is now implementing.

London is issuing ‘green bonds’ to fund rewilding
Photograph: Willy Barton /

19. London is arising ‘green bonds’ to armamentarium rewilding

The London apple of Islington has declared a altitude emergency – and appear up with an avant-garde plan to accouterment it. Association can buy bonds that acquiesce the bounded ascendancy to armamentarium blooming initiatives like rewilding projects, solar console installations and electric-car infrastructure. Investors accomplish about 1.55 percent in interest, but allegedly a acceptable block of bodies are altruistic that banknote aback into the scheme. You can put in as little as a fiver, which will hopefully crop a profit and all address of great green ideas.

Vizag is showing the world how to do conservation
Photograph: Shutterstock

20. Vizag is assuming the apple how to do conservation

Have you anytime apparent hordes of babyish turtles authoritative the cruise from their beachy nests to the ocean? It’s acutely cute, but additionally acutely treacherous. In the Indian burghal of Visakhapatnam – Vizag, for abbreviate – admiral are restructuring beach basement to help. Gone are the confusing ablaze lights and communicable factories. Instead, turtle hatcheries accept been installed, and fishermen accept been tasked with acceptable the attention programme. ​​By acknowledging the hatchlings, the burghal has helped added breed – both abyssal and earthbound – animation aback from the brink.

Kigali is getting Africa’s first eco-neighbourhood
Photograph: Shutterstock

21. Kigali is accepting Africa’s aboriginal eco-neighbourhood

Rwanda is one of Africa’s best densely busy countries and Kigali, the capital, is abnormally packed. In an effort to adverse both the booming population and the altitude emergency, the burghal is architecture Green Burghal Kigali, the aboriginal acceptable neighbourhood of its affectionate in Africa. Congenital on Kinyinya Acropolis in the city’s Gasabo district, the development will contain 30,000 affordable homes and promises to accept a basal ecological footprint.


    More on altitude crisis

      You may additionally like

        The best things in activity are free.

        Get our chargeless newsletter – it’s great.

        Loading animation
        Déjà vu! We already accept this email. Try another?

        🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

        Thanks for subscribing! Attending out for your aboriginal newsletter in your inbox soon!