Explore the ways that 46 of the world’s most sustainable cities are leading the way to improved cities and a better planet. Then vote for your favorite, share what you love about it and tell us your ideas for making it even better.
We love to get around
Cities are transforming the way people travel. For sustainable cities, improving the way people get around also means reducing the amount of energy we use. Transportation accounts for 25% of global energy use so cities are finding ways
to change that. Car-free and car-restricted areas, electrification, more public transport, promoting cycling and pedestrian-friendly streets are just some of the better ways to travel that will lead to a healthier environment.
We love the power of nature
Cities love the power of nature and are becoming hotspots for renewable energy solutions. Right now, city dwellers are responsible for over 70% of our planet’s energy-related carbon emissions. But by becoming trailblazers for renewables, cities have the opportunity
to change that. From solar water heating, geothermal heating, biogas, wind farms, solar electricity and smart grids, renewables don’t affect the air we breathe, our water supplies and our climate system. And that means healthy, happier people.
We love green buildings
Cities are at the forefront of improving the places that we live and work. Buildings define the character of our cities. But it’s not just about what they look like, it’s about how they work too. Buildings use one third of the world’s energy, and in bigger cities
they account for up to 80% of carbon emissions. By championing new designs, incentives and standards, cities are leading the way to more energy-efficient homes, and inspiring a global trend where new buildings become energy producers rather than energy consumers.
We love clean living
By wasting less and loving more, cities are leading the way to smart waste solutions. Like turning waste into resource. Biogas, district heating, compost, fertilizer, irrigation, and recycled goods all come from waste and waste water.
And making these reources creates jobs too. By minimizing and trapping waste for material and energy, smarter urban waste management improves the economy, the environment and promotes clean living – all at the same time.
What is the We Love Cities campaign? Answer
We Love Cities is a social media campaign that allows people across the world to express support for sustainable urban development by voting on the selected EHCC finalist cities and posting improvement suggestions for these cities. It is the main public facing element of the Earth Hour City Challenge initiative with the aims:
Does the number of votes a city receives in the We Love Cities campaign have an influence the selection of the national and global Earth Hour Capital? Answer
No. The We Love Cities campaign has no influence on the jury selection of Earth Hour Capitals. The jury process is completely based on the data reported by the cities on cCR, the internationally recognized reporting platform for EHCC.
Why are there no cities from my country involved? Answer
The cities selected are those chosen as finalist cities for the Earth Hour City Challenge. The City Challenge is a growing WWF programme which is currently running in 17 countries. If you are keen for cities from your country to participate; get in touch with your local WWF office to explore if your country could be included in future runs. If your country is included but your city is not in the We Love Cities campaign this means your city did not participate in the City Challenge or that it participated but didn’t make it past the finalist pre-selection process. Whatever the case, encourage your mayor to inspire the world by developing and reporting really ambitious climate action plans next year.
Some of these cities do not look very sustainable at all, why are they included? Answer
The appointment of cities as finalists does not mean that they are certified as sustainable. WWF believes that there is no city in the world that currently can be called a 100% sustainable city and all our cities and communities have still a long way to go before they can say all their residents live high quality lives while equitably sharing our planet’s biological capacity to sustain us. But there are cities which are taking strong and replicable sustainability actions that can play a significant role in driving the transition towards a renewable energy based and sustainable future. These actions need to be highlighted and celebrated so that they can inspire other cities with similar challenges to replicate them. The City Challenge has recruited cities from across the globe and they all have their own particular local circumstances and varying capabilities to act on climate change and sustainability issues. Thus, the pre-selection process has taken these aspects into consideration and has put forward finalist cities that have some highly innovative and ambitious actions and strategies but that may at the same time be lacking strong actions in other aspects of sustainability.
My vote will not make any difference to improving sustainability in a city. Answer
Your vote and all suggestions received for improving cities will be passed directly to the finalist city representatives. In previous campaigns city representatives were highly appreciative of the feedback they received from the public and noted that they would act to be responsive to their citizens. Your vote will also be a signal to the cities that they are receiving positive acknowledgement for taking action on climate change and sustainability and would encourage and challenge them to do more to improve the lifestyles of their most important stakeholder – you!
Why are the themes picked so important? Answer
As meeting places and hotspots of creativity, finance, social and technical innovation, cities can drive progress in many areas. Given the considerable social co-benefits and big climate wins demonstrated from city action within the areas of transport, energy, housing and waste we wanted to drive particular attention to those areas. For example, cities can achieve huge emission reduction while increasing quality of life through strategies such as car-free and car-restricted areas, electrification, expanding public transport, promoting cycling, making the city more compact and pedestrian-friendly, and developing only where sustainable transport is available. Through closed-loop solutions and cradle-to-cradle approaches where waste is minimized and tapped for material and energy, smarter urban waste management can improve the economy, the environment and people’s quality of life simultaneously. By refurbishing buildings and supporting local renewable energy production cities can free themselves from fossil fuel dependency and protect their economy against future energy costs.