Urban jungles—concrete sidewalks, high-rise buildings, miles of paved roads, and traffic—proliferated in the 20th century. But in more recent decades, many cities have been more aggressive about reintroducing nature into their landscapes as well as sustainable design. "Green spaces," including parks and community gardens, can promote better mental and physical health, according to the World Health Organization, and they offer environmental benefits.
Flip through our slideshow to discover how some cities around the globe are greening up.
Green Spaces and Sustainable Structures in Cities Around the World
Parkroyal Collection Hotel
An eco-friendly hotel-in-a-garden in Pickering, Singapore (2017).
People escape a period of extreme pollution in the Jiutian Greenhouse in Langfang, Hebei province, China, where they play board games, stroll, and rest (2016).
"Bosco Verticale" means vertical forest in Italian. The residential tower is located in the Porta Nuova district in Milan, Italy (2018).
Sharehaus Refugio Rooftop Garden
People seeking refuge in a new country live alongside German residents in the Sharehaus Refugio community in Berlin, Germany (2015). Neighbors in the five-story, century-old building meet for meals al fresco, and dine on their garden bounty.
Gardens by the Bay
Visitors wander along an elevated walkway connected by "supertrees" at Gardens by the Bay, a horticultural attraction in Singapore.
Urban Beekeeping in Vienna
Felix Munk, head of the beekeeper organization Stadtimker, holds a honeycomb next to bee hives at the rooftop of the Austrian Chancellery, in Vienna, Austria (2012). Urban development is one of the reasons why bee populations are in decline around the world.
Urban Beekeeping in NYC
On a rooftop building in New York City, urban beekeeper Andrew Cote replenishes bee hives (2021).
Bon Marche Rooftop Garden
Charlotte Arnoux waters plants on a 7500 square foot rooftop garden atop the Bon Marche, a store whose employees grow 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, zucchini, mint, and other herbs. The urban garden enjoys a sprawling view of Paris, France (2016).
Passengers ride a plant-filled bus on a special route that ran for 5 days to promote the idea of integrating more green space into cities, in Taipei, Taiwan (2017).
A sculpture containing 7,000 recycled plastic water bottles with LED lights, 20 metres in diameter and 10 metres high, shines at Hong Kong's Victoria Park (2013). The "Rising Moon" giant lantern was created to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in September. Designed by four local architects, it promoted environmental conservation.
Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew
A Buddhist monk looks out of the window of the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple, built with more than a million glass bottles (2008). The temple is situated in Thailand's Sisaket Province, about 370 miles northeast of Bangkok. Everything on the premises of the Buddhist temple is made of bottles, including a crematorium and toilets.
Dandora Community Garden
Charles Gachanga, CEO of the Dandora Transformation League, poses for a photo in a community garden in the Dandora suburb of Nairobi, Kenya (August 2021).
Dandora Community Garden From Above
An aerial image, taken by a drone, of the Dandora community garden in Nairobi, Kenya (2021).
A woman and child walk through fallen leaves in Clarke's Gardens in Liverpool, United Kingdom (2015).