Responsible for almost half of greenhouse gas emissions according to the UN, cities face multiple environmental challenges, including energy, water and waste management, air quality and green spaces. Focus on the five most advanced cities in these areas.
Zurich, 2,000 watts by 2050
It’s no coincidence that Zurich is the first city in the list of the most environmentally friendly cities. The city is rich in green spaces, large forests and a 42 km long lake that supplies the inhabitants with quality drinking water. But in addition to this privileged environment, Zurich has implemented a pioneering approach to fighting climate change: the “2,000-watt society”. The objective? To halve Zurich’s electricity consumption by 2050. In order to achieve this, the city grants a bonus to energy-efficient companies and supports the thermal insulation of buildings. At the same time, it conducts regular operations to raise public awareness of energy savings.
Stockholm, haro on CO2 emissions
Stockholm has long been committed to environmental issues. The Swedish capital has even been designated Europe’s first Green Capital by the European Commission in 2010. And with good reason: the city has been able to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% since 1990. It produces only 3.4 tonnes of CO2 per capita, compared to an average of 10 tonnes for other major European cities. In Stockholm, the habit has been established: every major project is preceded by rigorous environmental impact analyses.
Geneva, “100% renewable” strategy
Heating and construction of buildings, water and waste management, public lighting, greenways offering an alternative to motorized travel… Geneva is committed to a strategy of “100% renewable by 2050”. Through the signature of a Pact’Air memorandum of understanding, the city is also working to regain air quality by carrying out targeted actions in the fields of heating, urban planning, agriculture, construction sites…. Thanks to an efficient public transport network and targeted awareness-raising actions, the population is increasingly leaving the car in the garage.
Vienna, the rise of a Smart City
Vienna is ranked first in the 2018 list of the best cities to live in, according to The Economist magazine. In addition to vast green spaces, Viennese people enjoy spring water at the tap, green electricity (hydroelectric power stations), an efficient public transport network, including zero-emission buses in the city centre, more than 1,300 km of cycle paths, a fleet of clean cars for hire, etc. Vienna makes extensive use of digital technologies to optimise the operation of these services and has made the Aspern district a demonstrator of intelligent solutions: home automation, geothermal energy, solar panels, sensors on buildings to monitor temperature and air quality…
Frankfurt, the city of sustainable mobility
Germany’s fifth largest city and Europe’s fourth-largest financial centre, Frankfurt enjoys natural areas that account for more than half of the city’s surface area. The city has placed great emphasis on sustainable mobility and is seeking to drastically reduce the share of private motorised transport. It has a “low-emission” zone where the circulation of polluting vehicles is prohibited, limits the number of parking spaces, develops its public transport network and encourages the use of bicycles and electric cars.