Vienna ranked first among greenest cities in the world

Vienna greenest cities world

Photo: Pixabay


May 8, 2020






May 8, 2020





Vienna is the greenest among the 50 most visited cities on the planet, according to the study evaluating the cities’ green and sustainable solutions such as parks, the use of renewable energy sources, public transportation, water consumption, walkability, recycling and air pollution.

Resonance Consultancy, which conducted the study, added a green index to its Best Cities methodology and the Austrian capital got the highest grades. It has outstanding green areas and transportation and satisfies 30% of its energy demand from renewable energy sources, according to the study. Researchers also praised its 135 farmers’ markets with locally produced food, which helped Vienna take the lead among the greenest cities.

Vienna greenest city Brunnenmarkt
Photo: Brunnenmarkt (© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer)

The fifty most visited cities in the world were picked for the new list. Germany’s Munich and Berlin were ranked second and third, respectively. They are trailed by Madrid, Sao Paulo, Manchester, Lisbon, Singapore and Amsterdam, in that order. Washington DC is the last one in the top ten.

Resident-centered urban planning

Almost half of the population of Vienna, the champion among the World’s Greenest Cities, has an annual public transportation pass, the organization stressed. It makes it remarkably strong in the mobility segment.

Nearly half of the inhabitants of Austria’s capital have an annual public transportation pass

“The birthplace of modernism has a bounty of fresh ideas about mobility and public parks. But the commitment comes from a history of methodical city planning that has given the world everything from the English garden-inspired City Park (opened in 1862) to an actual national park just outside of town (Nationalpark Donau Auen)”, said Resonance Consultancy’s President and Chief Executive Chris Fair.

Clean power, clean air

The green cities research was also based on air pollution measured by the presence of PM10 matter, water consumption, walkability and the availability of recycling and composting facilities. In another prominent list, the Quality of Living Survey 2019, Vienna was also ranked first – for the tenth consecutive year. The city has also retained top global spots in areas like sustainability and innovation for decades now.

Austria’s government promised this year that one million roofs would be fitted with solar panels as it strives to make the country carbon neutral by 2040.

Vienna greenest city in the world
Photo: The Danube in Vienna (© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Furthermore, Vienna has just changed its building code and expanded the obligatory solar roofs rule to all new buildings. The local authority not only added residential and educational structures but made it compulsory to mount solar panels in the case of renovation. The regulations now also include mandatory chargers for electric cars in new buildings.

Wien Energie GmbH, which is controlled by the city and supplies power, gas and heating, offers residents to allow the installation of photovoltaic units on their roof and use the electricity at a discount rate.

Setting pace in energy sector

Vienna International Airport didn’t wait for orders and decided earlier to build photovoltaic plants on an office park and two garages by the end of the year. Together with the four solar power units it launched last year, annual output should exceed 3 GWh. The facility operates hundreds of electric buses.

IKEA is building its next store without a garage! Moreover, the design empire hired Querkraft Architekten to include a green façade and roof, which will be open for customers. The location is at the Westbahnhof railway station.

Vienna greenest cities world
Photo: © IKEA am Westbahnhof

When it comes to architectural design, the reconstruction of a damaged waste-to-energy facility, completed in 1992, gave Vienna a well-known landmark. Waste incineration, introduced almost six decades ago, was one of the biggest leaps forward in sustainable development. But thanks to the said endeavor, the Spittelau plant is now part of the tradition in the historic seat of the Habsburg and Austro-Hungarian empires.

Vienna renewed a heavily damaged waste incineration plant in 1992 with the most advanced technology and under famous artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s design

The waste incinerator is now part of the city’s visual identity as much as the Schönbrunn Palace and gardens or the Stephansplatz. It was designed by Austria’s art icon Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The technology was upgraded at the time of the overhaul, to set new environmental standards.

Vienna greenest city 
Photo: Spittelau waste incineration plant (Wien Energie)

Vienna has three more plants that burn waste for electricity and district heating. They were built next to parks and residential buildings.

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