European Green Capital Award 2019 and European Green Leaf Award 2018 Technical Assessment Synopsis Reports
Applicant cities are evaluated by an independent international Expert panel. The resulting Technical Assessment Reports provide a comprehensive description on each of the shortlisted cities in terms of the assessment criteria.
The European Green Capital Award
The expert panel assesses each EGCA applicant city based on 12 environmental indicators. Some of the initiatives, projects and policies of the five shortlisted EGCA cities are summarised below with more expansive assessments available to read in the document available here.
Ghent has set ambitious climate change targets, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050. Measures introduced to achieve this include ‘Thursday Veggies Day’, a campaign to reduce meat consumption. It is also taking numerous steps to reduce car use by increasing pedestrianised areas and encouraging more sustainable modes of transport. Its promotion of alternatively-fuelled cars also contributes to greenhouse gas reductions and improvements in air quality.
Ghent showed strong public engagement, including actively involving its citizens in the monitoring of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). There are many neighbourhood initiatives, such as communal gardening, collective renovations and collaborative energy projects. These bottom-up approaches feed into ‘2030: Space for Ghent’, the new structural plan for Ghent which is currently being developed.
Lahti has experienced rapid industrialisation and population growth, presenting it with challenges in environmental protection. Lahti has met these challenges through engaging with its citizens. For instance, the Lake Vesijärvi project was a collaborative effort between students, residents, and local companies to improve the water quality of the lake, which has been impacted by the city’s rapid urban growth.
It has also adopted innovative approaches to land use planning, such as the use of the KEKO eco-efficiency tool. The city has also ensured that residents are involved in green space management.
Lisbon has made great strides in changing its consumption patterns, halving its CO2 emissions between 2002 and 2014, and reducing its energy use by 23% and its water consumption by 17% from 2007-2013.
Lisbon has one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charging points and a third of the city’s car fleet is electric. The city has added 60 km of cycle paths and five pedestrian and cycle bridges have been built.
Lisbon was commended for its focus on green infrastructure, helping it reach its target of increasing biodiversity by 20% by 2020. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, aimed at rewilding injured and displaced animals, is also a positive step towards biodiversity conservation.
Oslo placed a strong focus on Climate Change. Its climate financing scheme, ‘Climate Budget’, is just one part of its comprehensive plan to cut greenhouse gases 50% by 2020 and 95% by 2030. Oslo has also made vast Improvements to cycling and public transport infrastructure and introduced measures to ensure 30% of all new cars sold in the city are electric, further contributing to its climate change and energy targets.
Oslo was commended for its air quality management and its knowledge on the situation of pollution in the city. It has ambitious plans to reduce air pollution, for instance, by implementing car free zones. It has also developed a comprehensive Noise Action Plan to reduce noise pollution.
Tallinn has made huge progress in its waste management. Its waste segregation system, piloted in 1999, has yielded great results. In 2015, 66% of waste was recycled, with only 2% going to landfill.
Tallinn scored high in terms of water management, resulting in improvements in the quality of drinking water. It has also developed a strategy to reduce the both the risk of flooding and pollution from storm water.
Tallinn was commended for its approach to improving the acoustic environment, involving its citizens in noise monitoring and reporting. It has also taken positive steps towards reducing noise levels along main roads and in residential areas.
The European Green Leaf Award
EGLA applicant cities are assessed by the expert panel in six environmental topic areas. Short summaries of the three shortlisted cities applications are described below with the Technical Assessment Synopsis Report available in full here.
Leuven has a rapidly growing, diverse population, presenting both opportunities and challenges in relation to its urban environment.
In 2011 Leuven set ambitious targets to be climate neutral by 2030. It also reinvests gains from energy efficiency into new sustainable energy measures. It has a strong participatory approach for its climate and energy projects, including citizens of all ages.
Leuven has made a concerted effort to increase sustainable transport, developing new cycle lanes, bike stands and encouraging car sharing and car free zones.
At the governance level, Ludwigsburg has demonstrated a strong effort to promote sustainable development, reorganising its administrative governance structure and establishing an interdepartmental unit for sustainable urban development.
Ludwigsburg provides a good example of public participation. For instance, its community panels, or ‘Future Conferences’, are held every three years to provide a platform for citizen engagement.
Ludwigsburg is also exemplary in terms of land use planning, using green space to improve the quality of its urban areas. This is also done in collaboration with its citizens.
Växjö is one of Sweden’s leading cities when it comes to environmental sustainability: it was one of the first Swedish cities to begin implementing Agenda 2030. Växjö made a commitment to be fossil-free as far back as 1996 and was the first city to use biomass for district heating.
Växjö also provides a good example of biodiversity and sustainable land use, containing an impressive number of protected areas and developing a clear strategy on preserving its green space despite a growing population. It also increased accessibility to green space through the creation of cycle ways and footpaths.