10 Things that Make a Great Green City

Jennifer Hattam
Design / Urban Design
December 4, 2009

Plentiful Parks

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gulhane park istanbul photo

credit: Jennifer Hattam

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Gülhane Park, Istanbul.

With 180,000 people moving to the world's cities every day, 75 percent of the global population is expected to be living urban lives by 2050. That concentration makes cities massive contributors to overall levels of pollution and CO2 emissions, but also provides the opportunity to enact changes that can have broad and deep impact. As Ricky Burdett, the director of the Urban Age program at the London School of Economics and Political Science said at the group's recent conference in Istanbul, "If you make cities more efficient, you make the world more sustainable." Here are 10 ways to do just that:

Park are the "lungs of the city," architect Frederic Law Olmsted famously said about New York's Central Park. From the 500-year-old Giardino della Guastella in Milan to downtown Houston's new Discovery Green, parks provide both a place for harried city residents to take a deep breath, relax, and connect with nature, and a cooling counter to the heat-island effect created by all that asphalt. (Not to mention a buffer against flooding.) Green space has even been shown to improve urbanites' physical and mental health.