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Iceland Mag

Nature

Reykjavík is the greenest of 50 major cities worldwide, thanks to large Nature Parks

By Staff

  • From Heiðmörk A large protected area on the outskirts of the city, Heiðmörk has countless walking and biking paths. Photo/Fréttablaðið

One of the first things you notice about Reykjavík is that it's a colorful city: The colorful houses, large murals and the endless blue of the ocean and mountains on the horizon add to the charm of the northernmost capital city in the world. But according to analysis by the Dutch tourism company TravelBird the dominant color of Reykjavík is actually Green.

The company analyzed the ratio of inhabitants and green areas in 50 major cities worldwide, to find that Reykjavík is the greenest of them all. 

Read more: Reykjavík nominated as one of 10 cities that are shaping the future of urban living

The company says that in an effort to open a dialogue around sustainable tourism it constructed the Green Cities Index. The Index recognizes "the cities currently making large efforts to be sustainable by preserving ecological areas, as well as those increasing their man-made green locations." The choice of cities, focused on prominent city break destinations.

The amount of area within the city limits which can be characterized as "green space" is then divided into three categories, natural, man-nade and areas dedicated to food production. The amount of land dedicated to one of the three uses is then measured and compared to the population size, calculating the square meters of green space per inhabitant. Doing this permits us to better see how the green spaces in these cities might impact a traveller’s experience.

"The study reveals not only the best urban areas for residents in terms of environment, but also pinpoints the perfect vacations for eco-conscious travellers."

According to the calculations of TravelBird Reykjavík has 410 m2 (4,413 sq ft) of overall green space per inhabitant, compared to Auckland, which comes in second place with 357 m2 (3,842 sq ft) green space per inhabitant. The other five top cities are Bratislava in third place with 332 m2 (3,573 sq ft) of green space per inhabitant, Göthenburg with 313 m2 (3,369 sq ft) and Sydney with 235 m2 (2,529 sq ft).

Read more: Microplastic pollution in Reykjavík drinking water only a fraction of global average

What boosts Reykjavík up to the top of the list is the relatively large size of Nature Reserves: Reykjavík has 223 m2 (2,400 sq ft) of Nature Reserves per inhabitant. Sydney, which has second largest nature reserves per capita has 70 m2 (753 sq ft).

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