article-2140780-12F73BE5000005DC-311_964x619Siemens Green City Index is an on-going world research unit that compiles the world’s greenest cities.  Scores are marked on CO2 emissions, transportation options, waste management and governance environment.

Which cities scored highly and why?  These are:

Vancouver, British Columbia
Compared to other cities of its size, it scored well in C02 emissions and air quality due to the city’s emphasis on promoting green energy and its use of hydro power.

Other world cities build super highways that promote driving and sprawl, meanwhile Vancouver is committed to urban living.  Large networks of bike routes make cycling around town easy, especially West 10th Avenue, where people regularly cruise on bikes, electric scooters and even unicycles.

Curitiba, Brazil
After building one of the planet’s first large-scale, rapid-transit bus systems in the 1960s and developing a world-leading recycling program in the 1980s, this southern Brazilian city continues to be environmentally forward-thinking. The heavy use of public transportation means Curitiba has one of the highest air qualities in the index.

Copenhagen, Denmark
, and fellow Scandinavian cities Oslo and Stockholm are very close behind, but Copenhagen still ranks as Europe’s greenest city. Nearly all residents live within 350m of public transportation and more than 50% regularly uses bicycles.

The City has spent a lot of money creating “Den GrønneSti, which translates to ‘The Green Path’, a 9km-long path for walking and biking.

The Green Path allows cyclists to get through the city along beautiful scenery. But the path isn’t just a part; it’s also filled with parks, playgrounds, benches and different terrain, so the scenery shifts at every turn. GrønneSti ends four kilometers outside of downtown in Valby, a district popular with families for its parks, schools and safe streets.

Copenhagen residents are also passionate about recycling and composting, as well as conserving electricity and heat.

San Francisco, California
San Francisco ranks as North America’s greenest city in the index. It had a long history of environmental consciousness stretching back to the founding of the Sierra Club environmental group in the 19th Century. The City has a superb 77% recycling rate, one of the highest in the world.

Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa’s second-largest city is making huge environmental strides in Africa by pushing for energy conservation and greater use of renewable resources. In 2008, Cape Town started using energy from the country’s first commercial wind farm and now aims to get 10% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.These efforts are transforming life in the city.

More bike routes are becoming available, a welcome change for locals who tend to be outdoorsy. According to Leonie Mervis, founder and director of the urban cycling campaign Bicycle Cape Town, the most bike-friendly areas to live within the city are Sea point and Green point. Though the city center it doesn’t have as many dedicated cycle routes, bikes are allowed for free on the My CiTi rapid bus service, making the city easy to get around in without a car.

Anyone reading this list would be green with envy.