5 Cleaning Strategies from 5 of the Cleanest Cities in the World

What exactly are the cleanest cities in the world doing to keep their districts so clean?

Zoom out for a moment and discover 5 strategies for cleanliness taken from 5 of the cleanest cities in the world.

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1. Think small like Singapore.

The city-state of Singapore maintains its cleanliness by considering the little things. Stickers in bathrooms remind citizens to always flush the toilet. Littering fines are high and well communicated. Chewing gum sales are forbidden to avoid gum stuck to public subway stations or benches.

While you probably won’t be outlawing chewing gum anytime soon, Singapore has established a high level of cleanliness with consistency in minor actions.

Every scrap of litter adds up. Small actions, like reminding the public to avoid dropping a straw wrapper on the sidewalk or tracking mud onto public transportation, can lead to big results.

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2. Recycle well like Adelaide, Australia.

By emphasizing recycling, Adelaide drastically reduced their dependence on landfills, leading to a much cleaner living environment. The city encourages citizens to consider giving quality, unwanted items to charity and to urge each other to rely on the city’s recycling services.

Look into your city’s recycling options. Work with your city and neighboring cities to pursue more recycling initiatives and minimize waste.

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3. Remove graffiti quickly like Minneapolis, Minnesota.

We are especially proud to see Minneapolis on so many “cleanest cities” lists, as Block by Block works hard everyday to keep the city clean. Minneapolis’ stance on vandalism and graffiti is to remove it within 24 hours. This reduces new graffiti and keeps areas looking welcoming.

Make it your goal to erase graffiti within 24 hours. Read more graffiti fighting techniques here or watch the video below to hear more from Minneapolis.

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4. Aim for cleaner and more public transportation like Zurich, Switzerland.

Zurich citizens often choose to travel via public transportation. They have many options available including tram, bus, boat and train. Public transportation reduces carbon emissions by decreasing the number of individual cars in transit everyday. The city keeps their systems well kept and reliable.

You can encourage the use of public transportation by keeping your cities public transportation options as clean as possible. Create carpools to decrease carbon emissions.

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5. Spread environmental awareness like Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik discovered that once it decided to implement green cleaning programs in its government, environmental efforts became a more attractive proposition in the local economy. Many businesses in Reykjavik now implement environmental policies to encourage employees to consider cleanliness in their everyday work and commutes.

Set a good example by establishing environmental awareness campaigns at in your district. A movement toward a cleaner city can only start with someone like you taking action and inviting others to join.

Along with these strategies, most cities that regularly rank on “cleanest cities in the world” lists have organizations working hard to prioritize efficient and effective cleanliness measures.

As a business improvement district, rally together and implement these 5 cleaning strategies to re-energize your city on cleanliness and how it can improve standard of living.

Remove Graffiti and So Much More


Remove graffiti, and you could end up removing negative perceptions of your district or even vandalism itself.

In the minds of your residents, tourists and stakeholders, fun and welcoming areas of your district can quickly become “shady” and “run-down,” almost overnight. How? All it takes is a few scribbles of graffiti to create those negative perceptions that are much more difficult to erase than the graffiti itself.

Build your graffiti-fighting techniques

Chances are, you’ve felt the sting of graffiti before. Avoid getting “tagged” with negative perceptions and keep the sound reputation of your downtown intact by adding these graffiti-fighting best practices to your repertoire.

1. Act fast

Locate and remove graffiti as quickly as possible. Quick removal is important for a few reasons:

  • Allowing graffiti to linger in your district often rapidly breeds more.
  • If taggers regularly see their work removed immediately, they will likely move to another area.

Make it your goal to have all graffiti tags removed within 24 hours — before public perception even has a chance to be affected.

2. Get strategic with landscaping

Plant shrubs or thorny plants around the base of open walls, signs and other surfaces that could become graffiti targets. It makes access more difficult while still beautifying the area.

3. Start a graffiti hotline

Starting a graffiti hotline can expand your eyes and ears substantially. It allows you to enlist the help of business owners, residents and workers in your district to spot new graffiti. This can help you identify new tags immediately, which will also help you reach your 24-hour removal time.

There are plenty of ways to make this fun for your community, such as recruiting an anti-graffiti street team or awarding prizes for consistent graffiti spotting.

Learn more

Download our free Graffiti Tip Sheet for a better understanding of why, when, and where graffiti occurs as well as 5 more strategies to prevent and reduce graffiti in your city.


3 Steps to Eliminate Graffiti in Your Downtown District

3 Steps to Eliminate Graffiti

The cost to eliminate graffiti to your downtown district is huge. Not only does it cost business and property owners money in property damage, it costs the community by having a negative impact on the environment. It intimidates residents, deters tourists and shoppers, and invites other vandals and crime in general.

Your district cannot afford to let graffiti be an issue. Read below for three steps to developing a comprehensive graffiti management program for your downtown district.

1. Eradicate

Remove graffiti as quickly as possible. Allowing graffiti to linger in the area can rapidly breed more. Also, if taggers regularly see their work removed immediately, they will eventually move to another area. Make it your goal to have all graffiti tags removed within 24 hours.

2. Enforce

Work with your local law enforcement to ensure taggers are penalized. Partner with your local government to advocate for laws pertaining to graffiti. These laws should include penalties for those who do the tagging. Property owners must also be required to remove graffiti in a timely fashion.

3. Educate

One of the most successful, yet least used strategies, in graffiti management is education. Let the community know that graffiti is a serious problem. Inform them about what is being done to stop it. Finally, educate them on what they can do to help.

>Your Turn

What steps has your district taken to eliminate graffiti?

What tactics has your district used to educate the community about the graffiti issue?

Download our free graffiti tip sheet to explore options to eliminate graffiti in your downtown.

Cleanup Squad Strives for Downtown Upgrade


Who Ya Gonna Call? The Cleanup Squad

They’ve removed more than 3,500 graffiti tags and stickers, power-washed countless wads of gum from the sidewalks, returned $4,000 in lost paychecks and given thousands of directions to tourists.

The 30 “ambassadors” of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District patrol the streets, handling cleaning and hospitality duties under a city-first program that has property owners paying annual fees to help create a cleaner, safer and more welcoming area.

Team leader Miguel Acevedo, an ambassador since the program started in May 2011, relishes the role.

“I enjoy the city,” said the college history major, who turned 27 today. “I pride myself on the city history and knowing about the buildings, and I like to get into conversations with the tourists and even Bostonians. I get to meet people from all different places.”

Read more about how the Cleanup Squad rolls out the welcome mat at The Boston Herald.

Jackson Heights BID Delivers On Promise, Merchants Say


Jackson Heights BID Bring New Levels of Improvement with Ambassadors

The Jackson Heights BID shopping strip is looking a lot prettier these days with news trees, benches and cleaner streets. It’s a far cry from what the 82nd Street business improvement district or BID used to look like. Now it’s got a new look, new leadership and a new name. It’s now called the 82nd Street partnership and business owners appear to like it.

Retail businesses are members of the BID and many of the store owners had complained to local leaders that under the old Business Improvement District there wasn’t a lot of improvement.

“It’s something Councilmember Ferreras and I have been working very hard for a long period of time and we are finally beginning to see it realized,” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm.

Read more at NY1.