Changing Planet

10 Green Ways to Improve Our Cities

We’ve been writing a lot recently about how cities can transform themselves by going greener, from rooftop gardens, to buildings made of shipping containers, or even making entire floating cities. (Learn more at our new innovation hub.)

At the recent Aspen Environment Forum, Rohit Aggarwala said most major world cities have plans to address climate change and lighten their environmental footprint. Aggarwala, the special advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with C40 Cities, works with civic leaders around the world to solve environmental problems at the local level.

Aggarwala pointed out that many of the services that have a direct impact on the environment are handled locally, such as building codes, zoning, waste removal, street planning, and so on. He added that mayors usually don’t have to contend with agriculture or other dominant industries.

This infographic made for an education website shows some of the ways cities are going green, so we thought we’d take a look:

Top 10 Ways to Make Cities Greener
Source: Best Sociology Programs


Brian Clark Howard is an Environment Writer and Editor at National Geographic News. He previously served as an editor for and E/The Environmental Magazine, and has written for,,, Yahoo!, MSN, Miller-McCune and elsewhere. He is the co-author of six books, including Geothermal HVACGreen Lighting and Build Your Own Small Wind Power

  • Brian

    Do something about this heat! Some say it is global warming. I am 54 years old I have never seen a year like this. It would be nice if our government would give some incentives to business to use products that already proven to be affective. I stayed in a hotel in Ohio over 4 July and could not believe the wasted energy in the unoccupied rooms. The air conditioning continued to run in hotel rooms while vacant. I stay in hotels often and this is very common. I also have stayed in Hotels in Chicago that have sensors that turn off all energy when unoccupied. Now that is smart! I have seen lights at outside events turn down to low when games are over. There are things that work, this is what our government should focus on to lower energy use at this time.

    Thanks for your article. Please write more

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