Clean, Green And Have To Be Seen: The World's Most Spotless Cities

In the film Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro said that "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets". We're not sure that this is quite what he had in mind, but here are some of today's tidiest and most environmentally sound urbanisations.
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Calgary - Canada

Population: 988,193

Metropolitan area: 3,173 square miles (5,107 square km)

Located in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, among the grasslands of Alberta, Calgary has become a thoroughly progressive modern city. On target to cut local CO2 emissions to half 1990 levels by 2012, the region has also made eco-tourism the main focus of its visitor economy.

Honolulu - Hawaii

Population: 377,260

Metropolitan area: 169 square miles (272 square km)

With the lowest CO2 emissions in the US and a commitment to produce at least 70% of the island’s power from clean sources by 2030, Honolulu is not just a beautiful city, but a truly clean one too. All new build homes are now required by law to contain solar powered water heating.

Helsinki – Finland

Population: 564,908

Metropolitan area: 115 square miles (185 square km)

A world leader in environmental design and efficiency, Helsinki regularly tops any list of cities with a high standard of living. Featuring large areas of protected green space throughout the city and tap water so clean it is even bottled and sold abroad, Helsinki is a model city in a modern world.

Ottawa - Canada

Population: 859,704

Metropolitan area: 1,726 square miles (2,778 square km)

Carpooling, organic waste recycling and an anti-idling law that makes it illegal to leave a stationary car running for more than three minutes are all just standard practice in Ottawa. The Canadian capital is also surrounded by a greenbelt, administered by the National Capital Commission for conservation and leisure and comprising mostly of forest, farmland and marshland.

Minneapolis - USA

Population: 382,618

Metropolitan area: 94 square miles (151 square km)

Known as the most literate city in the US, Minneapolis has a reputation for progressive city management and its park system has been called the ‘best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in America’. Surrounded by a network of lakes, there are 770 square feet (235 square metres) of parkland for every resident.

Even the fast food here is environmentally friendly with local institution, Max’s, offsetting the 1.8 kilos of carbon that comes with your cheese and bacon burger by planting trees in Africa.

Olso – Norway

Population: 548,411

Metropolitan area: 282 square miles (454 square km)

Oslo is a truly sustainable city. The Norwegian capital won the European Sustainable City Award in 2003, and since then has established a reputation for reducing greenhouse gases, offering electric car charging stations and enhancing public transportation.

Stockholm - Sweden

Population: 780,818

Metropolitan area: 22 square miles (35 square km)

In 2009, Stockholm was awarded the title of First European Green Capital by the European Commission and over 60% of the city is made up of waterways and parks. Even the fast food here is environmentally friendly with local institution, Max’s, offsetting the 1.8 kilos of carbon that comes with your cheese and bacon burger by planting trees in Africa.

Zurich - Switzerland

Population: 366,809

Metropolitan area: 57 square miles (91 square km)

In a recent public referendum, the people of Zürich voted for a law ensuring a cut of one tonne of CO2 per person per annum by 2050. The city also has plans to turn kitchen and garden waste into biogas by 2013, predicting production of around 5.5 million cubic metres per year. Enough to heat 5000 apartments.

Katsuyama - Japan

Population: 26,961

Metropolitan area: 157 square miles (253 square km)

The smallest of the cities on this list, Katsuyama targets tourism to bolster the local economy and has focussed heavily on cleaning up its city. Aided by its mountainous geography and naturally clean air, Katsuyama is a thoroughly clean and pleasant city.

Montreal – Canada

Population : 1,620,693

Metropolitan area: 244 square miles (393 square km)

Visitors will discover a vibrant, eco-conscious city with bike-friendly streets, local markets and environmentalcommunity initiatives. In 1987, Montreal was also the city in which the Ozone Regulating Protocol was signed, phasing out the production of ozone depleting substances.

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