How often do you look around town and judge what improvements could make it a green city? In Chicago, I wondered why there were so many green roofs but not an adequate recycling system. And in Seattle, I wondered why there were so few public transportation options. Alas, city planning decisions are not up to any one person, but politicians might listen if a large enough group calls for change.

While it may be inconceivable to turn the entire United States carbon neutral in the immediate future, city-level changes can be implemented to decrease environmental footprints. Around the world several cities are being built for carbon-neutral living, but modifying existing cities is much more difficult. Established cities already have structures that are costly to modify without significant incentives for property owners. While buildings are a large source of emissions with several possible improvements, including solar panels and green roofs, there are other types of improvements cities can implement.

We’ve already seen cities enact many green efforts — from Denver’s urban farm to New York’s bike-sharing program — so there are certainly feasible improvements for every city out there. Total cost is often a selling point, and current examples show a way around some of those issues. The New York bike program, for example, is fully sponsored by Citibank and Mastercard. And cities that use hybrid taxis have experienced significant reduction in gas expenses along with carbon emissions.

Here are 10 ways to green our cities:

Top 10 Ways to Make Cities Greener
Main image credit: sookie/Flickr; infographic credit: Best Sociology Programs