Green Cities Fit for Life

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2021 EGCA

EGCA 2021 Applicant Cities The winner of the European Green Capital 2021 competition has been announced!

Lahti, in Finland was announced as the EGCA 2021, in a unanimous decision by the Judges.

Three cities made it to the final stage of the competition: Lahti (Finland), Lille (France) and Strasbourg (France).

They each made presentations to an international jury on 20 June 2019 to outline their overall commitment to sustainable urban development, their capacity to act as a role model for other cities, and their strategy for communicating and engaging with their citizens. The winner was announced at an awards ceremony on 20 June in Oslo.

The Jury for the EGCA 2021 Award said that green cities are healthier and happier places for people to grow, live and work in, and for visitors too. All finalists have shown that the green transition is affordable for all and results in more socially inclusive and connected cities. They also demonstrated that the behavioural changes required to be a sustainable city is becoming the norm for their citizens, businesses and decision makers. The winning cities are eager to demonstrate to all cities in Europe, frontrunners or not, that they can achieve meaningful and measurable progress in their journey to a sustainable development.

Lahti is particularly strong in the fields of air quality, waste, green growth and eco-innovation, as well as governance.

  • The central theme and vision for Lahti’s 2018 city strategy is “Bold Environmental City”. It brings together several programmes and plans including those focusing on smart, clean and circular economy, mobility, environment, energy, urban regeneration and citizen science.
  • As a pioneer in air quality the city set out an air quality plan in 1997, which has led to a major drop in emissions since. Engaging local businesses in air quality monitoring, and additional air quality regulations the city has established on its own particularly impressed the jury.
  • The city has a clear vision for green growth and eco-innovation. The Lake Vesijärvi and the Grassroot projects, for example, promote the reuse and sharing of public spaces in the city, making these spaces available to rent. These kinds of provocative ideas can lead to exciting new projects with strong citizen involvement.
  • In Lahti, 99% of people live within 300 metres of green urban areas. The city enables its inhabitants to enjoy nature in many different ways, offering leisure activities such as skiing, fishing and wild berry and mushroom picking.
  • Lahti demonstrated a high-quality waste system, with a strong and impressive selection of treatment infrastructure servicing the city, including biogas gasification, a power plant and sorting plants. The city has co‐located facilities which exchange energy and materials resources in a symbiotic relationship. This is an impressive example of industrial symbiosis.

For more information about the European Green Capital 2021 competition and evaluation process to date, please continue reading below.


About the Award

The European Green Capital Award pays tribute to European cities where innovative urban environmental management and initiatives have taken hold. Award winning cities lead the way in setting higher standards in sustainable urban development, listening to what their citizens want and pioneering innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

An international Expert Panel performed a detailed technical assessment of each applicant on the basis of 12 environmental indicators covering climate change: mitigation; climate change adaptation; sustainable urban mobility; sustainable land use; nature and biodiversity; air quality; noise; waste; water; green growth and eco-innovation; energy performance; and governance. Following this technical evaluation, the Expert Panel selected the finalist cities.

The Jury assessed the finalists based on the following evaluation criteria:

  1. The city’s overall commitment, vision and enthusiasm as conveyed through the presentation.
  2. The city’s capacity to act as a role model, inspiring other cities, promoting best practices and further raising awareness of the EGCA model.
  3. The city’s communication strategy and actions, which should address:
  • Citizen communication and involvement to date in relation to the 12 environmental indicators, effectiveness via changes in citizen behaviour, lessons learned and proposed modifications for the future.
  • The extent of the city’s partnering (local, regional and national) to gain maximum social and economic leverage.
  • How they intend to fulfil their role of EU Ambassador, inspiring other cities.

If you would like more information about the European Green Capital Award, please send an email to: