Tel Aviv, Israel, is among the greenest cities in the world, ranking No. 7 on a prestigious list compiled recently by MIT researchers in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
No. 1 on the list is Vancouver, Canada, followed by Sacramento, US, and Geneva, Switzerland. Rounding out the top five are Seattle and Toronto.
Trees and plants in urban environments have been known to improve air quality and provide shade. According to the WEF, making available significant ‘green’ living space is now virtually mandatory for cities around the world. But are they up to scratch?
To answer this question, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) teamed up with the WEF to create Treepedia, a website which measures and compares cities’ green canopies, including that of Tel Aviv.
Using Google Street View data, Treepedia could become a tool for both city planners and dwellers. Urbanites can inspect the location and size of trees in their neighborhoods, as well as input their own data and request for more trees to be planted where they live. In addition to visualizing cities’ green spaces, a metric called the ‘Green View Index’ helps city planners to evaluate and compare green canopy coverage relative to other cities around the globe.
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The initiative is designed to “help shape the cities of the future; teach urbanites a greater appreciation of the green spaces around them, and reinforce the role of the green canopy in responding to climate change,” Alice Charles of the World Economic Forum said in a statement.
260,000 trees cover 52 square kilometers
Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial center, has launched several green initiatives in recent years, including city-sponsored bicycle and car-sharing services.
According to city officials, the number of trees in Tel Aviv (excluding trees in parks) has doubled over the past decade, reaching 260,000, averaging 5,000 trees per square kilometer.
“We’ve cleaned up vacant lots to make room for parks and promenades,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement. “Today, our hard work has paid off, and our green city provides a high quality of life.”
Photos and video: Vered Versano/City of Tel Aviv, World Economic Forum