Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

Essen

Essen is the ninth largest city in Germany with a population of 571,000. It is located in the Ruhr Area and is a city which has overcome a challenging industrial history and demonstrates strong urban regeneration.

Essen has built green and blue corridors within the city and is investing in green infrastructure which has been demonstrated through the development of the Krupp Belt.

The city of Essen has implemented a range of practices to protect and enhance nature and biodiversity. Future plans focus not only on the greening of the city but also on the promotion of biodiversity in new green areas and in particular on species which are resilient to climate change.

Nature and biodiversity

The current challenges affecting wildlife are principally industrial change, history and recreational use. Plans for development of municipal forest focus on woodland management directed to sustainable forestry.

Essen is acting to identify the growth of species which may be more tolerant of climate change.

Within the city the climate change adaptive value of street trees is recognised and citizen awareness has been promoted via tours.

Quality of the acoustic environment

A strategic noise map for road, rail, tram, aircraft and industrial noise sources was drawn in 2011. Citizens were heavily involved in the development of these noise plans with interesting initiatives such as an online process where they could mark locations on noise maps and provide suggestions for improvement, as well as evaluate and comment on the proposed noise reduction measures.

Strategic noise plans have been prepared with ambitious goals, one such example is to formally recognise quiet areas no further than 300 metres away from where 51% of the population live or work.