2017 – Essen
Essen is the ninth largest city in Germany with 574,000 inhabitants and an increasing population density. Located in the Ruhr Area in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, its industrial history was closely linked to underground coal-mining operations which began in the early 19th century. The last colliery was closed in 1986 and since then Essen has developed into a services and financial centre which provides employment for approximately 80% of the workforce and brings an additional 140,000 commuters to the city every day.
The city is making admirable efforts to establish itself as a ‘City in transformation’ that is overcoming a challenging industrial history to reinvent itself as a ‘Green City’ and a leading example for others. The city credits its citizens and their ability to change as key to this success and this ethos is visible through their application tag line “ESSENtials – changing the way we act”.
Nature and Biodiversity
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.
Integrated Environmental Management
Essen also demonstrates a consistently strong overall performance across many of the other indicator areas including: Climate Change, Green Urban Areas, Air Quality, Waste Management and Energy Performance. An integrated initiative of particular note is the conversion of Emscher system, which has received a number of awards to date. The planned improvements to the waste water treatment system include the reduction of emissions of micropollutants and the focus on the removal of pharmaceuticals according to the watch list of the Water Framework Directive demonstrate ambition and innovation. Essen also leads by example in the field of integrated environmental management with the implementation of green public procurement and the use of initiatives such as Ökoprofit and KAKTUS.