Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by C. Spahrbier


Brussels is the capital of Belgium and has a population of 1,048,491. Brussels is a multinational city and home to a number of European institutions.

Brussels has developed key initiatives in climate change, eco-innovation with energy performance, waste production and management and also local transport.

 Climate adaptation and mitigation

Brussels has implemented ambitious climate policies since 2004, one which target is to considerably reduce CO2 emissions in the city (by 40 % capita by 2025). Moreover, since 2013, the Brussels Air, Climate and Energy code defines numerous ambitious new standards for the future, concerning energy performance, climate change and also air quality.

Eco-innovation & energy performance

Since 2007, Brussels is deeply engaged in an “exemplary buildings” programme. This project has continually developed and grown to produce excellent results. It has already helped reduce CO2 emissions (13,000 tons per year between 2007 and 2009), it has created employment (1,250 jobs) and in 2015, every major building under constructions and renovation will have to respect very low energy standards (it is already true for public buildings).

Brussels also aims to implement a zero carbon street! The rue de la Loi, an important street in the Brussels European quarter, will be turned into a “zero carbon” area: the buildings will minimise their energy needs by complying with the passive standard and the remainder of the energy requirements will be sourced from renewable energy produced on site or elsewhere

 Brussels Urban Law Project

Urban-Law project © Atelier Christian de Portzamparc

Waste production and management

Brussels has made significant efforts to reduce waste (20% since 2000) and to improve recycling rates (16 % in 2000 to 31 % in 2010). And they don’t want to stop there: a recycling target of 50% is set for 2020.

The city also implements measures which are more restrictive than the EU legislation for specific hazardous wastes (like oil, grease, tyres or medication).

Local transport

Through the use of sustainable urban transport planning, Brussels aims to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking, to travel in the city. This will allow, among other measures, to improve the air quality of the city. For example, one of the targets is to reduce car traffic by 20% from 2001 to 2018.