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Metro Cities: How transit agencies are greening up the daily commuter grind

A look at transit stations around the world that bring a sense of outside inside.

These Toronto students (from left to right:  Samantha Tam, Michael Tsui and Anna Peng) have a pitch to make subways greener. It's still a pipe — or should we say tunnel — dream in Toronto. But other cities around the world are making strides in greening their transit systems.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

These Toronto students (from left to right: Samantha Tam, Michael Tsui and Anna Peng) have a pitch to make subways greener. It's still a pipe — or should we say tunnel — dream in Toronto. But other cities around the world are making strides in greening their transit systems.

Forget dusty old tunnels with rats scurrying by, transit systems can have — or at least remind us of — green space. And it’s not just plants that can help bring a more natural feel to stations.

That's the message from a group of Toronto students who have a pitch to make that city's transit more green.

Although there's no plans to do an extreme makeover on Toronto's subway stations at the moment, there are many stations around the world that have already done this. Here are some stations around the world that make the trudge to work more like a tip toe through the tulips.

Central Park Station Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Central Park Station Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Wikimedia Commons

Central Park Station Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

This station gives a preview of the nearby Central Park with grass covering a sloping courtyard, dotted with windmill shaped flowers. With a subway like this you almost don't even need to visit the actual park.

Atocha Train Station in Madrid, Spain

Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain.

Torstar News Service

Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain.

Commuting from this train station, Madrid's largest, is a little like visiting a greenhouse. Tropical plants, including towering palm trees on the concourse, add a splash of green to an otherwise dreary work day.

Kungsträdgården, Stockholm, Sweden

Kungsträdgården station in Stockholm, Sweden.

Fotograf Hans Ekestang

Kungsträdgården station in Stockholm, Sweden.

This station of the Stockholm metro has exposed rock face on the walls to make commuters feel like they are in a giant cave or grotto instead of just heading to the 9-5. Greenery covers some of the rock face and artifacts from the city are scattered throughout the station.

Näckrosen, the water lily station, Stockholm, Sweden

Näckrosen, the water lily station, Stockholm, Sweden.

Wikimedia Commons

Näckrosen, the water lily station, Stockholm, Sweden.

Another Swedish delight. This one doesn't use actual plants, but instead brings the calming, tranquil energy of a water lily garden to the underground through art.

Tozai Line, Tokyo Metro

The underground farm run by Tokyo Metro.

Japan Agri News

The underground farm run by Tokyo Metro.

Tokyo Metro is going green as a way to grow green — money, that is. The system is financially healthy now, but facing a declining population it diversified income streams, the head of strategy told PRI. So the transit agency set up hydroponic farm under its Tozai Line in 2015, selling the produce to local restaurants.

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