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The Greenest Cities Mapped - Essential Living

The Greenest Cities Mapped

Blog Insight
19.08.20

In an increasingly urbanised world becoming more environmentally friendly is a worldwide effort. But which UK and European cities and London Boroughs are leading the way when it comes to green space for residents to enjoy?

Using regional and worldwide data on elements such as air quality, pollution, quality of life, life expectancy and green spaces, we’ve found the UK and European cities which are the best for green living. Plus, the London Boroughs that have the most green space overall.

We’ve used a weighted ranking system. The Green City Index assigns a score to calculate just how much green space there is in the immediate area.

Out of a possible score of 60, the weighting takes 6 factors into account to reveal the greenest cities and boroughs:

  1. Number of Parks
  2. Number of Gardens
  3. Number of Nature and Wildlife Areas
  4. Number of Playgrounds
  5. Bodies of Water
  6. Number of Forests

From parks and gardens to pollution rankings there are so many factors that make a city green. But you might be surprised at the cities topping the list for each of our categories.

London’s Greenest Boroughs, Revealed

The London boroughs were judged on the following criteria:

  1. Green Outdoor Space Per Borough
  2. Green Space Percentage
  3. Happy With Green Space Percentage
  4. Happy With Air Quality Rating Percentage
  5. Happiness
  6. Anxiety

Taking all of the factors into account, Richmond upon Thames came out as the greenest London borough scoring 48.84 out of 60. The borough ranked high for percentage of green space and also how happy each resident felt about the amount of green space in their immediate surroundings.

Hillingdon and Hammersmith & Fulham scored highly on green outdoor space per borough while the best air quality happiness can be found in Merton.

Havering (which didn’t make the top 10 overall) also scored highly for the boroughs overall green space percentage, as well as Wandsworth which ranked highly for both green space percentage and happiness.

The results revealed an equal split between the boroughs north and south of the river.

Top 10 greenest London boroughs:

  1. Richmond
  2. Hillingdon
  3. Bromley
  4. Enfield
  5. Ealing
  6. Southwark
  7. Morton
  8. Croydon
  9. Hammersmith & Fulham
  10. Westminster

The Greenest Cities in the UK

Central London Crowned the Greenest City in the UK

Central London came out as the greenest UK city scoring 36 out of 60. The borough ranked highly on the number of parks, gardens and playgrounds.

Birmingham and Leeds came in second and third positions, respectively. Both cities scored highly on the number of nature and wildlife areas.

The results show that the larger the population, the more green space there is available.

Each of the UK’s four nations was represented in the top six, with London, Birmingham and Leeds taking first, second and third positions. Cardiff coming fourth,Glasgow taking fifth spot and Belfast taking sixth.

The UK Cities With the Most Green Attractions

Urban green spaces such as parks, woods, lakesides, and gardens give people the space for physical activity, relaxation, peace, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of cities. Green space can help to reduce stress and boost mental and physical health.

Our study reveals that Leeds, Cardiff, Belfast, Bristol and Nottingham all have the most green attractions within their cities.

Hull and Southampton had the least amount of attractions suggesting these cities could do more to make their areas more green.

The UK’s Pollution Ranked

Sheffield has ranked as the best UK city for the lowest pollution rates followed by Central London in second position.

The worst UK city for pollution is Stoke-on-Trent which scored highly on the pollution rankings.

Surprisingly, Leeds came in second place as the UK city with the highest pollution rates even though the city came in third place in the overall study and had the most green attractions. This suggests that more green initiatives are needed in the city to cater for the growing population in order to bring down the pollution ratio.

The Greenest Cities in Europe, Revealed

Taking all of the factors into account, Paris, the City of Love, came out as Europe’s greenest city, scoring 40 out of 60. The city ranked highly on the number of parks, gardens and playgrounds plus the body of water.

With urban highways in the heart of Paris converted into promenades and entire neighbourhoods turning into pedestrian zones on Sundays, the city is working hard to build the eco-community of the future.

Amsterdam takes second place as one of the greenest cities in Europe. The city is famed not only for its abundance of parks and green spaces, but also its eco-friendly attitude to transport and daily life.

The capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, are in joint last place as Europe’s least greenest cities – with both scoring low on the number of playgrounds, forests and bodies of water.

Ranking Europe’s Most and Least Polluted Cities

The Irish capital of Dublin took first place in the study for pollution rankings followed by Tallinn in Estonia and Bucharest in Romania.

Tallinn ranked second for pollution but last in our overall European index. Interestingly, this suggests that a city with a low number of green spaces does not automatically mean that it will be heavily polluted.

And here’s why.

Tallinn was the first European capital to offer free public transport to its citizens. By implementing more sustainable modes of transport, they have been able to reduce the use of cars throughout the city and in turn reduced the amount of air and noise pollution.

Methodology

Data correct as of 6th August 2020, combining information from a range of reputable sources such as Numbeo, Tripadvisor and the ONS.

We used a weighted ranking system, the Green City Index assigns a score to calculate just how much green space there is in the immediate area.

Out of a possible score of 60, the weighting takes 6 factors into account to reveal the greenest cities and boroughs:

  1. Number of Parks
  2. Number of Gardens
  3. Number of Nature and Wildlife areas
  4. Number of Playgrounds
  5. Bodies of Water
  6. Number of Forests

The London boroughs were judged on the following criteria:

  1. Green Outdoor Space Per Borough
  2. Green Space Percentage
  3. Happy with Green Space Percentage
  4. Happy With Air Quality Rating Percentage
  5. Happiness
  6. Anxiety

Sources:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/, http://citypopulation.de/, https://www.ons.gov.uk, https://www.gigl.org.uk/, https://liferesidential.co.uk/, https://www.numbeo.com/

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