As we explained yesterday, the eco-city concept describes a project in which a community is rebuilt so it becomes more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Following a more or less clear and strict criteria, the Eco-Cities Initiative Organization identified 178 significant projects worldwide, in different stages of implementation.
In this article, we introduce to you 5 of the most successful projects, from 5 different countries around the globe.
Curitiba is the only eco-friendly city in South America and has one of the highest air qualities on the planet. The amazing results in reducing gas emissions (conventional fuels are a real threat) are due to a very extensive and efficient public transport system that dates back in 1960s. In this eco-city, the bus takes you rapidly almost everywhere in the city so people use less their personal cars.
In addition to low gas emissions, it has a well-developed recycling system and also the Farmers markets move around the city, in order to encourage organic products sell. Of course, there are a lot of things to be done yet, and the leaders have big plans for Curitiba, including the built of a modern metro system and a bike route of about 300 km long.
However, these kinds of projects take time and a lot of money which Brazilians don’t have for now so while they wait for funding they still take the bus and eat organic local food every day.
Freiburg is one of the first German cities to restrict access to cars in the city center. Starting in 1970s, when the traffic had reached a worrying level, the local council decided that the city center should be a place for meeting and for encouraging people to interchange ideas and experiences so they closed the area for traffic.
People can reach city center by foot or by tram. Moreover the streets were paved using natural stones and the speed limit in the whole city is 30 km/h. As a result, the use of cars in Freiburg has reached a number of 423 cars/ 1000 people the lowest degree of motorization in Germany. In 1990, in the city started the construction of a new sustainable district, designed for 5000 people in which all the buildings were designed to use renewable energy resources (based on solar, wind and water energy) and the design of the district is centered on pedestrians and cyclists.
A tramway links the district to the city center and the people living here have a “car free” philosophy as 70% of the residents had given up their cars by 2009. The Vauban District has become a model of sustainability for communities around the globe.
This Eco-city started as an experiment supported by UNESCO and Government of India in which people can live together, free of religious, economic and ethnic boundaries. In time, the community has become an example of social and environmental sustainability. In their efforts to live more environmentally responsible, people have created an online portal where the residents can express their opinions and ideas in order to improve the environment and to reduce pollution.
Currently, in Auroville live 2000 people from 43 different countries and the town has become a world leader in rainwater harvesting, solar and wind energy and compressed-earth building techinques.
Copenhagen has definitely won the prize for the greenest city in Europe, being eco-friendly in almost every aspect. The entire city is bike-friendly, the residents are passionate about recycling and conserving energy and most of them live within 350 meters of public transport.
Because most of them regularly use the bicycle, the city has a very low CO2 emission and very healthy locals. The newest project in Copenhagen is called The Green Path – a 9 kilometer long path for biking and walking, filled with benches, parks and playgrounds. Also the scenery changes along the path due to using different terrain.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is also making constant efforts to shift to an environmentally friendly community, by pushing energy conservation and the use of renewable resources. Moreover, farmers markets are very popular here and even restaurants promote using local organic ingredients. Slowly, the city is becoming more bike-friendly too, as the newly built bike routes encourage the residents to use their car less.
These cities are only some examples of eco-cities which prove that their efforts not only help the planet, but also bring many benefits to residents too.