Top 10 European cities where citizens are most satisfied with the green areas

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The climate crisis is one of the biggest issues that the whole world is constantly fighting against. In 2020, the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives established by the European Commission got approved with the main goal of making the EU climate neutral by 2050.

Besides the introduction of circular economy, reduction of greenhouse gas emission and the overall sustainability, cities across Europe and the rest of the world are heavily investing in creating, developing and revitalizing their green areas as per the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11.7 which explicitly aims to provide “universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces”.

The Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGLOBAL, recently analysed more than 1,000 cities in 31 European countries and concluded that up to 43,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year if these cities were to achieve the WHO recommendations regarding residential proximity to green space. The World Health Organization says that there should be a green space measuring at least 0.5 hectares at a linear distance of no more than 300 metres from every home.

Besides longer life expectancy, the green areas insure fewer diseases, both physical and mental ones. Furthermore, the greenery is a great protection against air pollution, heat and noise levels.

Naturally, some cities are greener than others. However, all of them are working on expanding their green areas. For example, Athens has been building numerous pocket parks across the city and Toulon is finishing the new 16,000 m2 park in the heart of the city. Bratislava is conducting an extensive revitalization project of Sad Janka Kráľa, one of the oldest central European parks and Palma has recently presented their plan of park renovation and investment of four million euro in 57 parks in the city in 2022.

But how are the citizens throughout Europe satisfied with the parks in their cities?

Eurostat conducted a perception survey across 100 European cities to investigate the overall citizens satisfaction with green spaces (public parks and gardens) in 2019.

The percentage of people who are very satisfied with green areas is the highest in the Swedish city of Malmö (66,00%).
The third largest city in Sweden is also the fastest-growing one out of the three major cities in the country, states Malmö official website. The city has many parks and some of the most famous ones are Pildammsparken, Slottsparken and Kungsparken.
According to Green Surge/University of Copenhagen, the urban area of Malmö consists of over 50% of green areas, including parks and green spaces in residential areas.


Pildammsparken park in Malmö. Photo: Wikimedia

The German city of Munich ranked second with 61% of people who are very satisfied with green spaces. In 2015, Munich ranked third with 60% of very satisfied people on the same subject. The public parks in Munich extend over approximately 5,680 acres.
The “Englischer Garten” (eng. English Garden) is the largest park in Munich, Hofgarten park is the most central one, while the Botanical Garden is the most diverse park since it is home to 14,000 plant species.

The third and the fourth places are reserved for Austrian capital Vienna and the UK city of Cardiff with 58% of very satisfied people with green spaces.

Approximately 50% of Vienna (about 200 km2) are green spaces and a large part of those is free for the public use. The most popular ones are Volksgarten, Türkenschanzpark and the oldest publicly accessible park, Stadtpark.
In the previous Eurostat survey conducted in 2015, the city of Cardiff was ranked sixth, meaning that the city improved for two places in four years which is a great result.

The Polish city of Bialystok remained on the same position as in 2015, however the percentage of very satisfied people with green spaces in the city increased for 3% (55% in 2015 and 58% in 2019). Besides big and famous parks in the city, Bialystok also started with creating pocket parks – small areas with lots of greenery and flowers which serve for people of all ages to slow down their pace a bit and relax in the city centre.


Regent’s Park, London. Photo credit: Mark/Flickr

According to the 2013 report by City of London Corporation, London is the greenest major city in Europe and the third greenest city of its size in the world. It has over 35,000 acres of green spaces. In other words, over 40% of London’s total surface is green. There are more than 3,000 parks in London. 55,70% of citizens declared they are very satisfied with green areas in the UK capital city. This percentage has placed London on the 6th place of the Eurostat 2019 perception survey.

Some of the most popular London parks are Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath, Battersea Park, Hyde Park, Clapham Common, Saint James’s Park, Kensington Gardens, St Dunstan in the East, Holland Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park, Chelsea Embankment Gardens…


The city of Kassel, located in northern Hesse in Germany, ranks seventh. The city is home to Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another famous Kassel’s park is Staatspark Karlsaue, which is part of the European Garden Heritage Network, an NGO which brings together garden experts, government services, foundations, and tourism agencies to preserve, develop and promote gardens of historic interest within northwestern Europe.

Glasgow is another UK city where the citizens are very satisfied with green spaces (53%). According to the People Make Glasgow website, there are over 90 parks and gardens in the city. One of the most famous is also the oldest one, Glasgow Green, which is home to the largest terracotta fountain in the world.

The ninth place is reserved for the German city of Leipzig (52,50%), while Dublin concludes the TOP 10 list with the same percentage (52,50%).

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) research, green infrastructure makes up on average 42% of the city area in 38 EEA member countries. The city with the highest proportion of total green space (95,8%) is Cáceres, Spain.
Ever since the urban green spaces became heavily recognised as contributors to sustainability in both international frameworks and European policies, the investments in greening the cities keep on going and, hopefully, this will be the case for a long time. (photo credit: upklyak/Freepik)