The smallest patch of green to arrest the monotony of asphalt and concrete is as important to the value of real estate as streets, sewers and convenient shopping
– James Felt (20th Century New York Real Estate Developer and Environmental Champion)
European Green Capital City Award
Today more than two thirds of Europeans live in towns and cities. Urban areas concentrate most of the environmental challenges facing our society but also bring together commitment and innovation to resolve them.
The idea of a European Green Capital Award was created at a meeting of European cities in May 2006 in Tallinn, Estonia. The initiative came from 15 European cities (Tallinn, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Ljubljana, Prague, Vienna, Kiel, Kotka, Dartford, Tartu and Glasgow) and the Association of Estonian cities, who submitted the a Memorandum to the European Commission, proposing the establishment of an award rewarding cities that are leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living.
The aim of the Award is to recognise and reward local efforts to improve the environment, the economy, and the quality of life of growing urban populations.
Green Innovation as a Place Icon
The award can therefore provide an incentive for cities to innovate and share best practices, while at the same time engaging in friendly competition. The cities lead the way in setting higher standards in sustainable urban development, listening to what their citizens want and pioneering innovative solutions to environmental challenges. For a city that competes for or wins, participation can be used to mobilise green technologies, smart city capabilities and sustainability project initiatives.
To participate in an Award competition is an example of landmark branding and cluster building, where the devil is in the details. Preparations are usually are devised over a relatively short space of time and that means preparation and investment costs are immediately measurable, whereas income may trickle in over many years or decades to come after, in concrete results of environmental improvements and in the value of the new or emphasised alignment of the place brand. To successfully compete in awards such as the European Green Capital requires well coordinated and skilful place management and close collaboration between the public and the business sectors.
How it works
All cities across Europe with more than 200,000 inhabitants can be a candidate for European Green Capital. The award is open to EU member states, candidate countries (Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Iceland), and European Economic Area countries (Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein). In countries where there is no city with more than 200,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.
The award was launched in May 2008, and each year one European city is selected as the European Green Capital of the year.
- 2010: Stockholm, Sweden
- 2011: Hamburg, Germany
- 2012: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
- 2013: Nantes, France
- 2014: Copenhagen, Denmark
- 2015: Bristol, England
- 2016: Ljubljana, Slovenia
For my native Stockholm, the award was the culmination of many years of successful environmental work which turned Stockholm into one of the world’s cleanest and most beautiful cities. Nearly every resident (more than 90 percent of the population) today lives within 300 metres of a green area and 25% of the waste produced by Stockholm citizens is recycled, while 73.5% is turned into production of district heating. The cities achievement programme for the Award year can be viewed here.
Entries are assessed on the basis of 12 indicators: local contribution to global climate change, transport, green urban areas, noise, waste production and management, nature and biodiversity, air, water consumption, waste water treatment, eco-innovation and sustainable employment, environmental management of the local authority, and energy performance.
The deadline for submitting entries to the European Green Capital for the 2017 competition cycle has now expired and according to the European Commission, the following cities have entered the competition:
|Bursa (Turkey)||Lahti (Finland)|
|Cascais (Portugal)||Lisbon (Portugal)|
|Cork (Ireland)||Nijmegen (Netherlands)|
|Essen (Germany)||Pécs (Hungary)|
|‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)||Porto (Portugal)|
|Istanbul (Turkey)||Umeå (Sweden)|
The 2017 selection process
An international Expert Panel will perform a detailed technical assessment of each entry, on the basis of 12 indicators covering ambient air quality; climate change, mitigation and adaptation; eco-innovation and sustainable employment; energy performance; green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use; integrated environmental management; local transport; nature and biodiversity; quality of the acoustic environment; waste production and management; wastewater treatment; and water management. Following the technical evaluation, a number of cities will be shortlisted for the 2017 title.
In June 2015, the shortlisted cities will be invited to make a presentation to an international Jury. The Jury will evaluate their commitment to continuous environmental improvement, the level of ambition of their future goals, their communication activities for citizens, and the extent to which they could act as a role model and promote best practice in other European cities. In addition to being an inspiration to others, the winning city will raise its profile, enhance its reputation as a place to visit, work, play and live.
The winner will be announced at an Award ceremony in June 2015 in Bristol, UK, the 2015 European Green Capital.