ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat



News (May, 2017)


25 May 2017

Helsinki to open world’s first eco-efficient restaurant terrace in 2017

The City of Helsinki (Finland) is looking to insulate al fresco diners against the cool Nordic weather, launching a competition to find an eco-efficient concept that could prolong the restaurant terrace season.

"We are delighted with the extensive publicity that the competition has gained, for example, in social media. We also got a delightfully varied participant group, as entries were submitted by design companies, architects' offices, garden and terrace companies, student groups as well as by active citizens," said competition jury member Anne Stenros.

The competition was arranged as part of the Climate Street project, which seeks functional solutions for the built urban environment that can be used to cut greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Design company Urban Gardens was awarded for their "GUT Green Urban Terrace" concept, as well as WSP Finland's entry "terassi.hel.fi". The "GUT Green Urban Terrace" design includes a green roof and wall that can be established temporarily in a parking space, and certified wood furniture. The "terassi.hel.fi" project is a platform for restaurant entrepreneurs to design their own terraces. Instead of a single solution, this system produces tailor-made, ecological solution proposals.

For more information, click here.


24 May 2017

Hamburg to benefit from electric bus investment

From 2020 onwards, Hamburg (Germany) bus operator Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH has stated that it will only procure buses with battery-powered electric motors.

10 million Euros will be invested by the bus company, covering both the purchase of new buses and the creation of new infrastructure, such as garages, charging stations, and dispatch systems.

"We will continue to become more digital and invest in smart charging in order to turn our vision into reality: a clean, quiet, and emission-free bus system for the City of Hamburg," said Jan Görnemann, technical manager of Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein.

For more information, visit vhhbus.de (in German)

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23 May 2017

Abstracts invited for GREEN SURGE conference on connecting people and nature

Researchers, decision-makers, and others working in the field of nature-based solutions are encouraged to submit an abstract to the GREEN SURGE conference by 15 June.

Titled "Urban Green Infrastructure - Connecting People and Nature for Sustainable Cities", the conference will take place from 20 - 21 September 2017 in Malmö (Sweden).

The conference will look at emerging issues and future challenges facing sustainable urban development, and will feature a series of keynote talks and technical visits.

Speakers include Dr Gil Penalosa, who has worked with more than 200 cities across the world; Dr Cathy Oke, who has over 20 years of experience in the sustainability sector; and Professor Cecil Konijnendijk van den Bosch, who has studied, taught and advised on the role of trees and green spaces in cities and towns.

Since 2013, the EU-funded GREEN SURGE project has produced evidence on how green spaces and their biodiversity are interconnected with a host of issues crucial to local sustainable development, from housing costs and land use questions to public health and demographic changes.

For more information, visit greensurge.eu


22 May 2017

Barcelona to add 62km of bike lanes

The City of Barcelona (Spain) has approved the construction of 62 km of bike lanes as part of a strategy to encourage locals to embrace cycling as a sustainable and efficient means of transport.

The decision, according to Councillor for Mobility Mercedes Vidal, also aims to make cycling safer by improving and expanding relevant infrastructure.

Over the past years Barcelona has increased the number of cycle lanes by 21 percent, from 116 km to 141 km. The city’s goal, according to its sustainable urban mobility plan, is to reach a total of 308 km of bike lanes.

The city will begin the construction of the lanes this year, with the first lanes expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2018.

For more information, click here.

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18 May 2017

Cities pledge to transform societies towards sustainability to create a more cohesive Europe

Local governments affirmed their willingness to take major, transformative steps towards greater sustainability at the ICLEI European Membership Assembly, vocalising the need to engage all sectors of society in this transition to prevent European democracies from fracturing further.

Over 100 participants attended the ICLEI-organised event, which took place at the BEL conference centre in Brussels over two days. The Membership Assembly was convened to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the ICLEI European Secretariat.

Spanning all regions of Europe, the ICLEI Members in attendance brought local perspectives to global issues, sharing their approaches and learning from others.

“To make the transformation towards sustainability a success, we have to make sure that we take care of vulnerable groups and those that are negatively affected – our focus needs to be on inclusion and leaving no one behind,” said Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director of ICLEI Europe.

The twin threats of social inequality and social exclusion figured prominently in the discussion, with radical and innovative solutions - such as an unconditional basic income - debated.

”Europe is being transformed as we speak, and we need to decide in which direction we want to go. We should see this period of change as an opportunity to create more cohesive societies - sustainability is not only about becoming fossil fuel-free, it’s about creating a society for all. Cities are leading the way in this transition, from linking mobility and energy sustainability to fostering social and societal sustainability,” said Åsa Karlsson Björkmarker, Deputy Mayor, Växjö (Sweden) and Chair of ICLEI Europe’s Regional Executive Committee.

The role of technology in this transformation to greater sustainability was explored, with speakers concluding that although technological innovation has a major role to play, the answer can never be to let technology set the agenda - it must be set by citizens around Europe.

The topics under discussion were inspired by the Basque Declaration, which outlines new pathways for European cities and towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient urban areas for a liveable and inclusive Europe. The document, which aims to support and accelerate socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation, was acclaimed by the participants of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, held in the Basque Country from 27-29 April 2016.

An award to celebrate cities carrying out transformative actions was launched this year, recognising ongoing or concluded innovative local and regional initiatives that achieve a socio-cultural, socio-economic and technological transformation of societies by using the pathways identified in the Basque Declaration. Cities, regions and civil society organisations are invited to submit their applications for the first ever Transformative Action Award by 19 June 2017.


17 May 2017

Smarticipate app to amplify citizens’ voices in urban planning

A new app will give citizens the ability to engage in the urban planning process like never before, according to an animation released by the smarticipate project. The short video shows a Father using smarticipate to incorporate a day-care centre into the existing plans for a co-working space.

Using the smarticipate 3D model-maker, the Father sketches a day-care centre next to the co-working space, but he is automatically informed that the land use regulations do not permit it. Instead, the app tells him that an extra floor can be added to the co-working space building, which can function as a nursery.

The idea is then shared with other local residents, who use the smarticipate app to make suggestions and to add improvements. Following an in-person meeting between the council and residents, the idea for the nursery is submitted to experts within the council, who make necessary technical changes. The plan, which started on the smarticipate app, is now ready to be implemented.

To view the video, click here.

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16 May 2017

ICLEI Europe celebrates 25 years in Freiburg with Sustainability Days event

The City of Freiburg (Germany), ICLEI and the One World Forum will organise a panel discussion titled ‘Global goals, local strategies – why do cities need the SDGs?’ on 19 May as part of Freiburg’s Sustainability Days.

Welcoming several cities from the surrounding regions (both German and international), the event will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of ICLEI Europe in Freiburg.

With a programme of more than 60 actions performed within 96 hours in 12 locations, the aim of the Sustainability Days campaign is to make sustainability actions visible and tangible to local residents. The event will showcase a cross-section of the city’s sustainable development work and its council’s actions in the field.

During the campaign there will be a wide range of activities on the theme of sustainability throughout the city, run by local organisations.

For more information, visit the campaign website (in German).

To view the programme for the panel discussion on 19 May, click here (in German).


15 May 2017

Cities send the message at Open European Day to “Go ahead and act!” on climate change adaptation

Deputy Mayor of Bonn Reinhard Limbach opened Open European Day 2017 on 3 May 2017 in Bonn (Germany) with the observation that “what used to happen once in 100 years now happens once a year". 104 representatives from cities in Europe and as far abroad as Buenos Aires (Argentina) attended Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities along with climate change adaptation and resilience experts from the academic community, the private sector, financiers and EU institutions to attend two panels and nine workshops focusing on the key themes of innovation, co-creation and transformation. Stephanie Lindenberg of the European Investment bank provided details of how cities can successfully apply for funding of between €1 million - €50 million for climate change adaptation projects through the Natural Capital Financing Facility.

Lykke Leonardsen explained that the city of Copenhagen (Denmark) joined the 4th Open European Day “to share the knowledge that we have in Copenhagen with other cities, but also to learn from other cities, because a lot of European cities are facing the same challenges... And because the same cities participate, then you can actually get to follow the development they are going through.” Bilbao, a partner city of the event’s co-organiser, the RESIN project, showed how they included a chapter on climate change in its Master Plan and started work on its SUMP. Sirpa Hertell, Committee of the Regions spoke from her experience as Espoo city councillor to stress that cities and regions need the support of researchers and universities to assess their climate risks and vulnerability.

New ICLEI Member Guimarães (Portugal) shared their successful flood management project in a historical part of the city, which has helped to eliminate flooding in the area since 2015. Finally, Nuno Lopes, city of Almada (Portugal) reflected on the support that ICLEI gives to cities: “The importance of ICLEI with Almada has been huge... It has been a fantastic help for us to find out some climate regulation solutions that we might use in our city in the next years.” Open European Day was organised by ICLEI Europe and the European Environment Agency.

For more information, visit resin-cities.eu/newsroom

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12 May 2017

Less than one week until ICLEI European Membership Assembly 2017

From 17 – 18 May the ICLEI European Membership Assembly will take place in Brussels (Belgium), providing ICLEI European Members a forum for exchange of innovative solutions and a venue to debate ideas with peers.

Exclusively for ICLEI Members, the Membership Assembly will offer participants the opportunity to discuss ICLEI’s strategic direction.

This year the event will look at identifying innovative solutions to urban sustainable development challenges from a social and economic perspective. The focus will be on an integration of policies and ensuring societal participation in the transformation to sustainability in a time of digitalisation.

Through a mixture of panel discussions and roundtables hosted by ICLEI Members, participants will have the chance to exchange with others. The study visits on 18 May will show how Brussels is putting sustainable development principles into practice.

For the latest programme, click here. For last minute registration please contact events.europe@iclei.org (places are limited).

For more information, click here.


11 May 2017

American Resilience Roadtrip aims to document community action in a divided nation

The American Resilience Roadtrip series is an initiative from ICLEI USA that will see discussion on the critical role that local governments and organisations play in addressing sustainability and resilience issues, and an exploration of the importance of the local level in championing and progressing on these issues.

Concerned about the increasing division within the United States on topics such as climate change, the environment, health, and women, Ben Colombo, a citizen, reached out to ICLEI USA with an idea to embark on a year-long, 50-state tour to find out how city governments, citizen groups, nonprofits, and others are making their communities more sustainable, more resilient, and better served.

The American Resilience Roadtrip series will last one year and will reflect a more sustainable, more compassionate USA thriving at the ground level. Follow Ben and ICLEI USA on the ICLEI USA website, on ICLEI’s CityTalk Blog, and on Twitter and Instagram.

To find out more about the American Resilience Roadtrip, click here.
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5 May 2017

GREEN SURGE to host free forum on cities’ transformation through urban green

Green infrastructure provides cities with many opportunities to make neighbourhoods more attractive, but how can local governments strategically and successfully use urban green to transform their cities and make them more cohesive in the face of shrinking budgets and a lack of housing?

GREEN SURGE partners are organising the third and final GREEN SURGE Stakeholder Dialogue Forum on urban green infrastructure on 10 May 2017 in Essen (Germany). The European Green Capital 2017 Essen as well as next year’s European Green Capital 2018 Nijmegen (The Netherlands) will, together with Malmö (Sweden) and Oradea (Romania), showcase how neighbourhoods were regenerated through urban green. The GREEN Technical University of Berlin will contribute their latest research findings on the topic.

The third Stakeholder Dialogue Forum will be held at the Regional Association of the Ruhr Region from 8.30-16.00. It is free of charge and coffee and a lunch will be provided. The event provides the unique opportunity to visit one of the many successful examples of urban regeneration in Essen in the afternoon before finishing up in the European Green Capital information centre.

For a detailed programme, click here.

Registration is available on the ICLEI Europe website and on the project website.

For more information, contact greensurge@iclei.org

4 May 2017

Heat Roadmap Europe 4 workshop at DecarbHeat Conference

Don't miss the next Heat Roadmap Europe 4 (HRE) workshop, which will take place during the EHPA DecarbHeat Forum, on 11-12 May in Brussels (Blegium) at the BEL. The session, titled “DecarbCities: addressing the renovation challenge”, taking place on 11 May, 14.00 – 15.30, will discuss solutions for turning cities into sustainable living areas using a combination of building renovations, best available heating and cooling technologies and low carbon energy sources.

As one of the keynote speakers, HRE project leader Professor Brian Vad Mathiesen will highlight the importance of energy planning for connecting electric and thermal infrastructures and using energy most efficiently in future cities. Session speakers, joined by ICLEI's Carsten Rothballer, will sit on a panel to discuss the best way to help local authorities making informed decisions on how to exploit the available heat sources and reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption in their cities.

#DecarbHeat 2017 will collect ideas from energy stakeholders on the next steps towards the vision of a 100 percent decarbonised heating and cooling sector by 2050 (80 percent by 2040). The conference addresses the future of heating and cooling policy and will explore scientists and policy makers' visions for a 2050 energy system, including what cities can do to help, the effects of digitalisation on the heating and cooling industry, and perspectives from the industrial sector. The Heat Pump City of the Year Award, for which ICLEI is a jury member, will be awarded at the event.

For more information and to register, please click here.
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