7 Hidden Eco-gems: Under-the-Radar Cities Worth a Visit

Downtown eco-complex planned for Singapore.

3. Singapore

According to Ethisphere, the greenest cities of 2020 will likely be located in India and Asia -- and not the developed world. If Masdar City's ambitious plans become the norm, this sounds about right. In any case, Singapore has a head-start in Asia -- the city claims nearly 50 percent of its land is in green space. With nearly five million inhabitants, it's a very clean and relatively conservative city (chewing gum and cigarette butts are legally banned!), with the pace, the tropical weather, and a fabulous food culture to keep things interesting. Singapore has embraced high tech along with its clean ethos and its focus on urban greenspaces. What may be a challenge is to add two million more citizens to what is already a dense urban space. Cool projects include the new downtown eco-complex city block design by Foster + Partners.

4. Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador

Disaster became opportunity in Bahía de Caráquez, which suffered damage from natural disasters including an earthquake in the 1990's, but bounced back with a plan for greening and was declared an "ecological city" in 1999 after putting sustainable ideals into law. Since then, the city has become home to the first certified-organic shrimp farm, replanted thousands of native trees, and established an urban "wild corridor" (Ecuador has granted nature rights in its constitution). The city also takes its zero waste goals seriously, improved its human-scale transport, and has generally evolved into a small urban sustainability oasis, though volunteers for the Planet Drum sustainability efforts in Bahía warn that efforts have declined in recent years. Clean water for all city residents is still a huge problem, and Planet Drum believes that to continue its great momentum, Bahía needs more eco-education of citizens.

Our list of green cities nobody talks about continues on page 3!

Tags: Cities | Ecuador | Green Building | Seattle | Singapore | South Africa | Sweden | Toronto | Tourism | United Kingdom | Urban Life | Urban Planning


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