Aerial view of the building dubbed as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Greener, Greater Cities

Discussions about “greening” cities typically recognize the importance of sustainable infrastructure and smart urban planning. What they often overlook is that nature is the world’s original infrastructure, and nature-based solutions can help cities address some of the biggest planning challenges they face.

WASHINGTON, DC – What should a “green” city look like? Should it resemble Copenhagen, with its high rates of bicycle commuting and recycling? What about Curitiba, the capital of Brazil’s Paraná state, with its pedestrian-centered planning? Or perhaps Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, which is powered entirely by renewable energy?

With more than 50% of the world’s population now living in urban areas – a share that is rising fast – the answer to this question will shape our collective future. But it may be more straightforward than we realize: to make cities “greener” – that is, less polluted, more resource-efficient, and more environmentally resilient – we should make them literally greener.

Discussions about “greening” cities typically recognize the importance of sustainable infrastructure and smart urban planning. What they often overlook is that nature is the world’s original infrastructure, and nature-based solutions can help cities address some of the biggest planning challenges they face, such as air and water pollution, water scarcity, and extreme heat, all of which are now being exacerbated by climate change.

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