Geneva, nested between the majestic Alps and the hills of Jura, is the home of numerous NGOS, UN organisations, and international companies. For such a small city that can only physically grow so much, there is A LOT happening. So how does this affect Geneva’s carbon footprint? Can a bustling city in desperate need of more space really be devoted to staying green? We did some investigating to find out!
A lush green city with numerous parks, trees and flowers does more than add aesthetic design points, it improves the air quality and wellbeing of it’s inhabitants. Using Google Street View data, Treepedia visualises cities’ green spaces to help city planners evaluate and compare green canopy coverage relative to other global cities. According to Treepedia’s report, Geneva is one of the top cities in the world for green space. In Geneva, city dwellers can easily access green space from La Jardin Botanique and Parc Des Bastions to Le Jardin Anglais and Mon-Repos Park, to name a few. Lake Leman also provides a tranquil escape from the city traffic with its stunning views of the Alps, and greenery throughout.
Regarding public transportation, Geneva could learn a thing or two from its neighbor Lausanne. According to SwissInfo, Geneva residents are estimated to make almost half their journeys by car, motorbike or scooter, and the number of vehicles on Geneva’s roads is expected to rise by 43 per cent by 2020.
Geneva does have trams, buses and trains that make crisscrossing the city manageable without a car. However, more residents need to take advantage of Geneva’s local transport system.
Food choices are responsible for 30% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions (that’s more than all of the exhaust from transportation). And sadly, Switzerland wastes 2 million tonnes of food per year.
However, Geneva has embarked on a mission to cut that food waste with initiatives such as FoodHack. FoodHack strives to bring together individuals passionate about food and sustainability, and provide them with the space to test out and develop new ideas. Several events are regularly organised in Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich to reduce food waste in Switzerland.
Geneva and other Swiss cities are now on the right track to reach their sustainable food goals.
Geneva has become a smart canton with its new project to harness technology to provide residents with durable infrastructures and improve the quality of life in public spaces. Through the ‘Smart Canton’ project, sensors that interact with telephones and GPS devices are distributed throughout the city to collect data. This data is then analysed to improve the quality of certain services and equipment.
In Carouge, approximately 1,000 sensors will be assessing the impact on noise levels of any changes in the urban environment including a lower speed limit, a new road surface or the construction of a new building.
We’re excited to see the positive environmental impact of this project on Geneva’s infrastructures!
Geneva has historically prioritized investments in sustainable heating, rational management of electricity and water, and public lighting. In 2010, Geneva was even named one of Switzerland’s top-performing energy cities by the European Gold Label.
After our investigation, we realised that the people make a city sustainable or not. The canton on Geneva has made sustainable development a top priority, striving to create a 100% renewable city by 2050. Every city decision is driven by this goal, from renovating districts and developing city parks to supplying energy and water. Although Geneva is not perfect, the green intention is there, and we are excited to see the positive impact of these initiatives on the environment.
Photo created by On Nature