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Top five green cities in the world in 2020

Original photo:  Architecture ” by Pexels is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you have been reading any newspaper, magazine or social media posts over the last few years, you should be familiar with environmental awareness. 

Let’s talk about what it means to be environmentally friendly and find out about the top five cities in the world that are exceeding in their efforts. 

What does it mean to be environmentally friendly?

Being environmentally friendly simply means that you keep a lifestyle that is not harmful to the environment.

It might involve “green living”, where you live with an awareness towards the environment and its well-being.


Green footprints represent sustainable lifestyles.

What makes a city green?

Things like traffic, masses of people and air pollution are associated with cities. Green cities encourage and provide for the most sustainable lifestyles. They have an active approach towards addressing climate change and being environmentally friendly.

These cities might implement things such as recycling programs, bike lanes, community parks, and have water quality standards.


Green cities in the world include environmentally friendly lifestyles.

Original photo: City Skyline” by Free-Photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Does your city help you to be environmentally friendly? Below we have listed the top five green cities in the world in 2020.

1) Vienna, Austria

Schonbruun garden, Vienna, Austria


  • Over 50% of the city is made up of green areas..
  • Almost half of the city’s inhabitants use public transport religiously. .
  • Vienna’s city-planning strategy has allowed for an abundance of city parks, walking paths around the city, and a national park on the outskirts of the town.

2) Munich, Germany

Munich tower


  • Munich is known as one of the world’s most walkable cities. 
  • Rapid-transit systems are set to significantly reduce car ownership in the city in the future..
  • It’s known to have some of the best air in an urban area anywhere in the world.

3) Berlin, Germany

Sustainable lifestyles include recycling and reusing greywater to water gardens.

Original photo: Garden Landscaping” by MALCOLUMBUS is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

4) Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain is one of the top green cities in the world.


  • Madrid is one of the world’s greenest capitals since the city made large investments in infrastructure that allowed for the mingling of architectural attractions and plant life.
  • Most of Madrid’s leisure activities have an environmentally-friendly spin – like solar-powered tour boats, and walking and biking tours.
  • There are plans to upgrade 100% of Madrid’s street lights to become more energy efficient. This will add up to an energy saving of more than 40%.
  • Since 1 January 2018, all of the taxis running in Madrid were required to be ecological, electric, or hybrid vehicles.

5) São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil is a top green city


  • São Paulo is a megacity with more than 20 million inhabitants, yet it’s one of the world’s biggest users of renewable energy. 
  • There are almost 200 farmers’ markets around the city that help to reduce the carbon emissions that come from agricultural transport. 
  • The city launched its Strategic Master Plan in 2014 which stepped up its people-oriented development, and improved public and non-motorised transport.



GVI participants walk the beach in Greece


Although you might be green with envy after seeing how much these cities have accomplished, you could follow in their footsteps and implement some of their green strategies in your local community. 

And who knows, your city might show up on the “green list” in the near future!

Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteer programs and internships. Choose from conservation projects worldwide, and add to the greening of the global community.

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