‘Green Your City Competition’

Singapore the ‘Garden City’

Green Your City Competition

Over the past century we witnessed a constant trend, shifting the lives of people increasingly away from rural settings to the urban sphere. Whereas, currently around 54% of the world population lives in cities, this number is expected to rise to a full two-third of the human population (Hawley 2014). In the eyes of the ubiquitous threat that climate change poses not only for the continuation of vital ecosystem services, but for the very livelihood of our cities. It is indispensable prerequisite to adapt our cities in a sustainable fashion in order to be prepared for whatever changes the future might bring. Singapore, also known as the ‘Garden City’ is a prime example of a sustainable city, that has despite its growing population, managed to incorporate various types of biodiversity, such as green roofs, cascading vertical gardens, and many other forms of greenery, into its urban landscape. Singapore sets a benchmark for all cities to strive for, but how can this be achieved if a city has considerably less financial means?

The ‘Green Your City Competition’

The Green Your City Competition brings together citizens, eco-tourism agencies, municipalities, and many other stakeholders in cities all over Europe, in a combined effort to green our cities. How will this be done?

In a close collaboration with an environmentally conscious search machine, such as Ecosia that plants a tree for every search you do, through its ad revenue. By expanding this concept from solely deforested areas to cities, the energetic capacity of our society can be used in a communal effort to restore the biodiversity that has once been lost in our cities.


European Cities that are interested in participating will work in close collaboration with city specific agencies that are willing to put advertisement on the search engine. This could for example been done by eco-tourism agencies that have a high interest in attracting more people to their city. It is then the job of the municipality and environmental agencies to campaign the initiative to its citizens, in order to incorporate a wide-spread use of the ‘green search engine’. Specifically, for this purpose the ‘green search engine’ will be adapted next to its original purpose to a city specific context, in that once the citizens connect to the browser they will have the opportunity to type in the name of their city. This way it will be clear how much of the revenue created in the form of trees, greenwalls, green roofs etc. will be devoted to each city.

Which form will this endeavour take?

The municipality together with its citizens will make a business plan, deciding on the part of the city that need improvement, and in what form this will be done. Thus, depending on the problems the city is facing, they could for example decide to plant more trees in parking spaces, or construct green walls to counter the heat island effect of highly paved areas. Indeed, this can be realized in any way that seems appropriate for the city-specific case. Once enough revenue has been collected the city will receive the money for the assertion of the project. This will be done under close supervision by the ‘Green Your City’ committee to ensure the correct usage of the money. Lastly, the surplus of funds initially aimed on greening related projects ought to be used for the continued maintenance of those newly planted areas.


By mobilizing the energetic society through an incentive of a better living environment, facilitated through the little effort of simply using a new search engine, the cities will not only be able to carry out their vision for a sustainable future, but this will set an incentive for cities all over the world to follow their example.

For further information concerning sustainable search engines, look at: https://info.ecosia.org/what


Work Cited:

Hawley, Kate. 2014. “Transforming Cities For Sustainability: Facts And Figures”. Scidev.Net. https://www.scidev.net/global/cities/feature/transforming-cities-sustainability-facts-figures.html.



5 thoughts on “‘Green Your City Competition’”

  1. Hi there
    It seems like quite a thought out plan. Have you got any background info on how Singapore succeeded in keeping its city green? Where they funded by the government?
    How do you think you can get cities to participate in this project? For them, it may be quite a hassle to use this plan to ‘green’ their city. They might think of easier ways that may cost more money, but it is not depended on sponsors.
    What are your thoughts on this?


  2. Singapore is comparatively a really rich city with a high quality of life, and, in spite of what many developing nations or even developed nations did in putting economic growth before environmental preservation. They perceive those two as being inexorably linked, thus forming and integral part of their City planning. Indeed, they have 100% green construction policy in that they biodiversity that has been destroyed in the process has to be replaced. I think it is vital that the municipalities and environmental organisations do a proper job in advertising it, as at the moment especially in advanced capitalist countries there is a steady trend towards sustainability. And since it really doesn’t take much from the citizens themselves, but actually benefits them if they start seeing changes in the city, I reckon quite a few people would participate. Well, they might indeed but at the moment a main issues of implementing green walls, etc. into cities is that the municipalities or the home owner do not want to put that much money into it. And at the end it will be a project and if they should not be happy with the results, they could still go for a completely other way.


  3. Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog! I think it is well written, and your idea seems already quite thought through. I especially like the idea itself, because with a search engine everyone is able to participate in this idea (or at least everyone who uses the Internet). It is a good idea to allocate the revenue of the search engine towards making the city more green. To make a city, for instance, Leiden, greener it is crucial to find several revenue streams. I think that yours could be a really good one. However, I think in order to actually accomplish it, a portfolio of revenue streams is necessary. The idea of a search engine could be one of them, however, we will need more to transform a whole city. I think this especially holds for smaller cities, as a low number of citizens makes that less revenue can be created than in big metropolitan areas as for instance Amsterdam, or Singapore. What are your thoughts on that?


  4. I’m really glad that you liked it. But no I think you are absolutely right with saying that this might be difficult to apply to small cities I actually also mainly thought about bigger metropolitan cities. I think if a smaller city would like to participate in the ‘competition’ then the municipality or maybe the government itself should subsidies their advertisement. Or I’m not sure how it currently works, if the government is providing a certain amount of money for the cities themselves for ‘green’ investments. If this should be the case and lets assume the idea should work, then the government could redirect some of funds for bigger cities to smaller ones. This way they would gain an advantage and it could equalise the difference in green development between small and big cities.


  5. Hi, I really like this idea. Especially how you approach it from both the global and the local scale. I was wondering however if it could be a good idea to include the citizens into the process of planting trees etc. That with the revenue of the search engine, seeds are bought which are then (at least partly) distributed to citizen projects who will plant them across the city. That would increase the identification of citizens with their city as well as with the goal of the project.


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