Why Cities are better for Green Living than Suburbs

Many people moving to suburbs have the notion that suburbs are “greener.” When parents, teachers and mentors told us so often that “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence,” it turns out they were on to something. Cities actually are greener and there are a variety of reasons why cities are better for green living than suburbs.

Pollution and Transportation

Pollution is one problem that people in suburbs often think they are getting away from. Actually, just the opposite is true. Those living in suburbs are more likely to have to hit the freeway to drive to and from work, to the grocery, pharmacy, general shopping and visiting family and friends. Commutes in cities are shorter. There are more automobiles on the road at any given time in suburbs, as compared to cities. A vehicle is definitely a requirement in the suburbs and if more than one person works outside the home, one vehicle may not be enough. Recent government initiatives have brought “green” buses to public transportation departments in many cities. These buses are cleaner and greener than constantly driving vehicles all throughout suburbs.


Many people move to the suburbs because they think it will be more convenient. Often, even people living in cities think everyday tasks and running errands would be more convenient if they lived in the suburbs. This is not true either. People in suburbs must have an automobile in good working order to get anywhere. There are not many corner stores or pharmacies in the suburbs. When living in the suburbs, the nearest grocery store, department store, convenience store, or pharmacy may be several miles away. In the city, there are many corner convenience stores, dollar stores, gift shops and pharmacies where one can usually walk to. Even grocery stores and malls are more easily accessible to those living in cities where people will drive less to get to them or can take public transportation. That means less use of vehicles, less congested traffic, people getting more exercise and less stress of all the extra required driving  when one is living in the suburbs.


Housing is an issue that some suburbanites have raised as an issue to living within city limits. They claim there is not enough affordable housing in cities for them. Many cities and states, as well as federal agencies have responded with the tearing down of old houses that were eyesores in cities and rebuilding “green” homes in the exact same spot. In some cases, entire blocks and neighborhoods have been made “green” by this effort which is increasing the availability of affordable “green” housing in cities. Additionally, houses in cities tend to be smaller than those in suburbs. That means smaller utility bills for city dwellers than for suburbanites.

Green Space

Many cities have designated “green spaces” within their communities. Community gardens, nature areas, parks, playgrounds, new schools and buildings all make cities more eco-friendly. In the suburbs, play areas are often in the backyard on expensive play equipment, or the play area of a condominium or townhouse complex, none of which have the benefits of “green” initiatives of cities.

While many people want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and also think it is healthier to move to the suburbs, it appears that cities are better for green living than the suburbs.