Sustainable Cities: Urban Centers Creating a Greener Future

The world, as a whole, is growing to understand that changes need to be made to make human civilization more sustainable.

Since the Industrial Revolution, humanity has expanded its horizons immensely. With those technological advancements, however, have come numerous environmental problems. The following cities have created their own solutions to these issues.

Sustainable Energy Solutions


Different urban centers are utilizing different methods for creating sustainable energy solutions. For instance, Munich is cultivating a number of different green energy sources that should have the city completely green by the year 2025; alternatively, Melbourne has designed a sustainable building program that gives incentives to builders that utilize sustainable designs.



Transportation solutions are of paramount importance in every city. When everyone drives cars, the air quality in the urban center plummets. Cities like Bogota are developing transportation initiatives that focus on ultra-efficient buses and taxis. Mexico City has also put systems in place that reward citizens for reducing vehicle usage; this reduction in vehicle usage has resulted in significantly cleaner air in Mexico City. Singapore also has an excellent set of solutions to the problem of transportation: they have created a metro system and traffic control system that significantly reduces the level of traffic in the city, cutting down on the number of cars stuck in traffic at any given point, and also reducing carbon emissions.

Waste Management and Emissions


Cities produce a lot of waste, and determining what to do with waste produced is a problem for most urban centers. San Francisco has a waste management program that focuses on diverting trash and waste from landfills– this program has been incredibly successful, and has resulted in less than 20% of San Francisco’s trash being sent to landfills. Copenhagen, on the other hand, is focused on reducing carbon emissions, and has done so through the use of a comprehensive carbon plan.

Long-term Solutions and Infrastructure

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Tokyo and New York City have both taken the long view on sustainability: they have both developed programs that are focused on bringing long-term changes to the city in a holistic manner. Tokyo focuses heavily on carbon emissions, while New York has seen an increase in sustainability programs of all types. Rio de Janeiro has also developed a sustainable infrastructure system that seeks to revitalize the slums of the city with new, greener technologies and building plans. Sustainable urban development strategies are now taught in some Civil Engineering graduate programs to encourage more city engineers to adopt these programs.

Without a greater focus on sustainability, humanity could irrevocably change the natural world for the worse. However, some urban centers are finding ways to combat humanity’s environmental problems and create sustainable, long-term solutions to the problems; other cities will hopefully be able to use these changes as a blueprint moving forward.

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