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Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Labs
Finance & Innovation

These Are the Greenest Cities in the World, According to a New Algorithm

Researchers in Boston have come up with a clever way to measure a city’s “greenness.”

They literally measure the levels of, well, green.

In the Senseable City Lab on the campus of MIT, data scientists created an algorithm that analyzes scenes captured from a pedestrian’s perspective using Google Street View. The program then processes each image, calculating the percentage of each scene containing plants, trees, or other green spaces.

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Treepedia” is a novel way to analyze an often overlooked aspect of urban design. Researchers have long known that increased interaction with vegetation, or green spaces, in cities are correlated with lower stress levels, and lower levels of depression among residents.

Furthermore, urban vegetation is associated with a host of environmental benefits. The EPA notes that trees and vegetation in cities can help improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, mitigate electricity usage, and lower air temperatures.

MIT’s technology therefore provides a strong prediction of which cities are likely to offer residents and visitors the best combination of these benefits. Each city in Treepedia’s analysis is awarded a “Green View Index” score that encapsulates the percentage of green canopy coverage over the entire city.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals. Innovative solutions to improving cities and urban areas, such as increasing urban vegetation, are necessary to achieving goal number 13, taking action on climate change. You can take action on this issue here.

Check out the greenest cities in the world below, ranked by their GVI scores.


10. Toronto (GVI: 19.5%)

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9. Seattle (GVI: 20%)

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8. Amsterdam (GVI: 20.6%)

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7. Geneva (GVI: 21.4%)

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6. Frankfurt (GVI: 21.5%)

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5. Sacramento and Johannesburg (GVI: 23.6%)

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4. Durban (GVI: 23.7%)

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3. Cambridge (US) (GVI: 25.3%)

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2. Sydney and Vancouver (GVI: 25.9%)

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1. Singapore (GVI: 29.3%)

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