Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, is considered one of the most liveable cities on the globe, with a series of ground-breaking projects that have helped earn it the title of European Green Capital back in 2016. After taking on this role, Ljubljana continues to thrive as an example of sustainability, spearheading movements like the digitalization of bus stops in the city center.
The city of 3 million has developed a hub whose main goal is to inspire leaders and agents of change continue the development of both Kiev and Ukraine. In addition to creating a healthy city environment that caters to (and fosters) innovation, the city is looking for one key component to drive forward development: its citizens.
As the country’s largest city continues to grow, it’s looking to achieve the title of “green capital” and become a model of sustainable development. As part of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2012-2020, Sofia is laying down a series of steps to help with everything from energy management to transport and waste management—and looking to technologies from around the globe to aid the process.
Essen has transformed itself from a mining city of coal and steel into the third greenest in Germany. By working with partners to implement a highly replicable, integrated environmental management system.
In the UK, air pollution is the cause of nearly 40,000 deaths each year and contributes to serious, long-term health issues for hundreds of thousands of people. Declared a national crisis, London mayor Sadiq Khan is looking to improve quality of life for Londoners by preventing air pollution—starting with traffic in Central London. The mayor is extending the city’s low emission zone to cover a wider span of London, extending from the center to the North and South Circular roads.
Plenty of positive change is underway in the Polish city of Krakow, the capital of the Malopolska Region. This science and education hub that’s home to 23 higher education institutions and 180,000 students has been stepping up its game to become a more modern—and green—city for citizens to live in. Start-ups and incentive companies are moving headquarters to post-industrial areas and infrastructure is improving thanks to the construction of the first subway line.
In addition to developing a wastewater treatment policy generating energy from wastewater, the city has also designed a mobility policy that focuses on the increased use of a clean transportation system. Lille plans to replace 20 to 40 percent of the energy for road transport with biogas-powered vehicles, saving nearly 120,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxide per year.
The region of Murcia along Spain’s Costa Cálida is known for its balmy weather, boasting over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, as well as picture-perfect beaches that double as open-air spas. The university city of Murcia—and region’s capital—is home to nearly 440,000 inhabitants and is slowly gaining a reputation as more than a resort locale.
The small city of Alba Iulia in central Romania is undergoing big changes, attracting the most European funds in the country for projects that are helping to seriously boost tourism. First on the list: the restoration of the 18th century Alba Carolina citadel. Twenty projects alone were devoted to rejuvenating the tourist attraction, and now the city is using the rest of its regional development funding to improve infrastructure, building roads, bike paths and additional tourist attractions.
In Germany, the “car capital” of Stuttgart—one of the most polluted cities in the country—continuously reached levels of 82 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air, more than double the EU’s allowed limit. Covered in a blanket of smog, Stuttgart is now referred to as Germany’s “Beijing” because of its air pollution.