Sustainability in Europe: Cities

Concerning specifically cities, what are the policy results of sustainability in Europe? Cities around the world are aiming to be more sustainable. Cities focus on different sustainability components, like public transport or sustainable energy. Other cities focus on nature or water in the city, to purify the air and to absorb heat during hot summers.

How do cities respond to sustainability in Europe? In this article we discuss five cities to portray sustainability in Europe.

Sustainability in London, United Kingdom

London is a fast growing city, with an estimated population of 10 million by 2030. The number of inhabitants automatically puts public transport and air quality on the sustainability agenda of London.

London is already trying to improve air quality by electric buses and more space for parks and water. The city is also aiming to discourage the use of the car. Other programs to fight pollution in London, are for example the Thames Tideway Tunnel, so ensure that polluted water is not being dumped into the river Thames when the sewage floods.

Sustainability in Zurich, Switzerland

Since 1990, Zurich aims to become a more sustainable city. Successfully, as the city of Zurich was named the most sustainable city in the world in 2016, by Arcadis.

A remarkable sustainability project in Zurich is the construction of green roof tops. This project is running since 1991. Ever since, the city obligates flat roofs that are not used as roof terrace, to be converted into green roofs. The main goal is to increase the biodiversity in the city. However, green roofs are also important in storing rainwater.

The city also focuses on energy in the city. They want to reduce the energy consumption to 2000 watts per resident by 2050, which is half the current energy consumption. At the same time, the city focuses more on renewable energy, and in particular generating green energy in the city.

Zurich is already doing very well in terms of transportation. The city already has an extensive public transport network. This results in a high use of bus and train and a relatively low use of the car around the city.

Sustainability in Zurich

Sustainability in Munich, Germany

Munich is one of the Silicon Valley’s of Europe, as an important technology hub. It is an important center in Germany of the production of technology, cars, energy en industrial production. In terms of sustainability, Munich scores high in sustainable measures. For example, in the use of green energy, in which an extra contribution by consumers is used to invest in local initiatives concerning green energy, like solar panels and hydropower projects.

The city of Munich aims to use only green energy from renewable sources by 2025. Additionally, Munich aims to be CO2 neutral by 2040. These are great initiatives and goals, making Munich an example in progressive sustainability goals in European cities.

Sustainability in Munich

Sustainability in Vienna, Austria

Vienna is doing well in terms of sustainability. The city mainly focuses on climate change and sustainability policies. Remarkable are the start-ups in this field that are popping up around the city of Vienna. The result is a widespread focus of local businesses on sustainability.

An example is sustainable tourism, that further stimulates sustainable stores and excursions.

Another sustainability effort in Vienna is the Smart City project. Sustainability is incorporated into plans for the development of new urban areas, new buildings and renovation projects. In this Smart City project, Vienna is exchanging knowledge with other cities on sustainability in Europe.

Sustainability in Vienna

Sustainability in Stockholm, Sweden

In 2010, Stockholm was named the Green Capital of Europe. Stockholm has a remarkable share of parks and water, which contain about 10 percent of the city. This ensures better air quality. Another measure to improve air quality in the city, in the focus on bikes instead of cars. Public transportation mainly runs on biogas and green energy. The biogas is produced from waste of the city itself.

Hammarby Sjöstad is one of the greenest areas in the city of Stockholm. Sustainability was a central part of the development, construction and design of this area. Buildings are made of reusable or renewable materials, like concrete and wood. Public spaces mainly focus on biking and walking as modes of transportation. Waste is being collected in an underground waste collection system. The heat from processing the waste of this area is being used to heat up housing units.

Sustainability in Stockholm