Pinpointing a single thing as the “least green” is difficult, as there’s no particularly definite set of metrics designed for measuring “greenness”. However, I’d argue that the emissions from transportation — at least in American cities, where people tend to drive individual cars — is probably the least green thing. Emissions in general (mostly carbon dioxide) from transportation and industry concentrated in cities is probably the biggest contribution a city makes to global warming, and thereby would seem to be the “least green” thing about a city.
I agree with rickken that it is hard to tell the most un-green thing about a city, but I believe that sprawl is a major issue in urban development. It is a term that describes the inefficient and unsustainable way urban spaces are designed, addressing ineffective road layouts, single-use buildings, large land use, and low housing diversity. This makes people depend on vehicular transportation for travel and increases the need to drive and commute longer to get to various destinations. Sprawl prohibits land and habitat conservation since it thrives on land expansion and removal of natural environments.
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