green city: London (a sustainable metropolis)

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green city: London

London, England, is one of the most famous cities on the planet – and one of the brightest examples of a sustainable metropolis. How does a city with the busiest airplane traffic in the entire world and a population of over 12 million (for the entire metro area, as of 2014), become exceptionally sustainable? The city has maintained over 35,000 acres of public green spaces (around 40% of the city's entire area). London boasts one of the greatest sustainable mass transportation systems in the world. Through encouraging public transit and cycling, London will strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as, or more than, 60% by 2025.

Public Transit (and the benefits of the congestion charge)

In order to encourage alternative forms of transit and discourage car use, there was a tax imposed on cars entering Central London on weekdays (introduced in 2003). The revenue is then used to fund public transit and related infrastructure. Electric vehicles and some plug-in hybrids (cars emitting less than 75g/km CO2) qualify for an exemption from the charge. As a result of the London congestion charge, there have been daily reports of over 70,000 fewer cars in Central London, over 6% more bus journeys, and over 5% more travel via The Tube. There are also reports that bicycle trips in London have more than doubled. Such a plan does come with its skeptics, however the ratio of Londoners in support of the plan was almost 1-to-1. This is an example of the kind of solution that will produce the paradigm shift needed to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

London boasts the largest bus system in the world, with over 8,000 buses, running 24 hours a day, and serving over 6 million passengers on weekdays. The city strives toward the goal of 60% greenhouse gas reduction by 2025. London has invested in diesel-electric hybrid buses, which deliver around 40% CO2 reduction, along with a few other types of alternative fuel buses now serving the city.

The London Underground Railway (known as The Tube) features over 250 miles of tracks, second in length only to the Trans-Siberian Railway (almost 6,000 miles). London also offers a large sub-urban rail service, connecting many of the city's areas. In addition, there are high speed trains linking London to Paris and Brussels as well as a high speed domestic line, connecting London to Kent.

London recognizes the importance of new technology in contributing towards carbon emission reductions and has set a further target of supplying 25 per cent of London’s energy from decentralized energy (DE) by 2025. Current Greater London Authority (GLA) planning policies require relevant developments to consider: 1) connecting to local district heating networks or 2) installing their own Combined heat and power (CHP), and 3) meeting 20 per cent of the site's energy demand from renewable energy sources. 

The London Olympics were a perfect example of sustainability...

2012 London Summer Olympics