A newly-released list of the world's greenest cities aims to provide direction for cities in best practices for urban design in a post-COVID-19 world.

A father and two children sitting on the grass
The list of greenest cities aims to provide direction for cities in best practices for urban design © Maskot via Getty Images

Resonance Consultancy has used its 'Best Cities' methodology to find out which cities are leading the way towards a greener future, based on criteria that seem particularly relevant to the meaning of density and the future of urban planning in the context of the coronavirus and government-mandated social distancing. These are its top ten cities.

Belvedere Gardens in Vienna with trees on both sides of the driveway
Vienna is one of the world's greenest large cities © Helen Cathcart/Lonely Planet

1. Vienna

Vienna is one of the world's greenest large cities and has a bounty of fresh ideas about mobility and public parks. It is also the European benchmark for public transit, with almost half of the city’s population holding an annual transit pass and using it religiously.

People watching ducks swim in a pond at Olympic Park in Munich
Munich has some of the best air to be breathed in an urban centre © Mariia Golovianko/Shutterstock

2. Munich

Munich is one of the world's most walkable cities and also has an enviable transit system. Recent mobility infrastructure investments like the U-Bahn rapid transit system will only lower car ownership, and the city has some of the best air to be breathed in an urban centre anywhere.

Two woman sit on the grass by a lake in Berlin park Tiergarten
Berlin has an abundance of open, public spaces © Svetlana Turchenick/Shutterstock

3. Berlin

Berlin has an abundance of open, public spaces and city parks, and is made for walking. Berliners are also incredibly mindful of their impact on the planet, using among the least water per capita in Europe and opting for public transit use.

The manicured gardens of Buen Retiro Park in Madrid
Madrid has plenty of green space in its urban core © Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

4. Madrid

Madrid has plenty of green space in its urban core, and is incredibly accommodating to pedestrians. Recent big-budget projects include making the central Gran Vía boulevard far safer and pleasant to stroll.

Aerial view of Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo
Aerial view of Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo © Nelson Almeda/AFP via Getty Images

5. São Paulo

São Paulo has massive energy needs but is among the largest users of renewable energy globally. This is partly attributable to the culinary delights produced by its large Italian, Japanese and Arab communities. While it's a big city, it has green areas like Ibirapuera Park and its buzzing cultural centre is topped with a vibrant living roof.

Manchester Town Hall is a Victorian, neo-gothic municipal building in Manchester
Manchester a pedestrian gem with a fascinating streetscape © Shahid Khan/Shutterstock

6. Manchester

Manchester is flat and compact, and it’s a pedestrian gem with a fascinating streetscape that blends history and the arts. There is a widespread adoption of public transport and the city’s culinary pride is responsible for plenty of farmers’ markets and a palpable commitment to food security.

Peple in the district Principe Real in Lisbon
Lisbon has plenty of green spaces to enjoy © Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo

7. Lisbon

Lisbon is a tactile, multi-sensory experience best explored on foot with no particular agenda. It has plenty of green spaces and some of Europe’s largest number of farmers’ markets, as well as ambitious recycling and composting programs.

Sunrise over Singapore and clouds formation
Singapore  is a leader when it comes to providing green spaces © Jacobs LB/500px

8. Singapore

Singapore isn’t content with cultivating green spaces for aesthetic reasons only. City leaders are evolving the copious parklands into ‘therapeutic gardens’ designed for the elderly.

Flowers in a street in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has always been a city that thrives on discovery by foot, bike or boat © lcarney/Budget Travel

9. Amsterdam

Amsterdam has always been a city that thrives on discovery by foot or by bike. Its widely-loved public transport system involves boats, which just adds to its appeal for locals and residents alike.

Cherry blossoms blooming in Washington DC
Washington, DC, is peppered with public plazas and parks © Hanlun Wu/500px

10. Washington, DC

Washington, DC has always been an underrated green oasis, peppered with public plazas and parks. It has a large amount of farmers’ markets, and the massive Wharf has given the city fresh office, residential, marina and retail space, as well as parks and public spaces.

To check out the full list of the world's greenest cities, please see here.

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

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