The European Green Capital award for 2021 was awarded last night to Lahti during a ceremony held in the current Green Capital, Oslo. The two Green Leaf awards 2021 reward the ambitious plans of the Covenant cities of Limerick and Mechelen.
The European Green Capital Award aims to recognise the environmental achievements of European cities and to inspire others to take positive action in making their cities fit for life. European Green Leaf Awards are awarded to towns and cities between 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants for their outstanding climate policies and their potential as ambassadors towards “smaller” cities.
We are proud to remind that all the eleven previous other European Green Capital Award winners to date are also Covenant signatories: Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol, Ljubljana, Essen, Nijmegen, Oslo and Lisbon.
It is also important to take the opportunity to congratulate the three other finalists for the climate effort that led them to this stage: Strasbourg and Lille for Green Capital and Lappeenranta for Green Leaf.
The central vision for Lahti’s 2018 city strategy is called “Bold Environmental City”.
The city is a pioneer in air quality, having set out an air quality plan in 1997, which has led to a major drop in emissions since. It also has a clear vision for green growth and eco-innovation. The Lake Vesijärvi and the Grassroot projects, for example, promote the reuse and sharing of public spaces in the city, making these spaces available to rent. These kinds of provocative ideas can lead to exciting new projects with strong citizen involvement.
The city offers its inhabitants the opportunity to enjoy nature in many different ways, 99% of people live within 300 metres of a green urban area. Lahti demonstrated a high-quality waste system, with a strong and impressive selection of treatment infrastructure servicing the city, including biogas gasification, a power plant and sorting plants. The city has co‐located facilities which exchange energy and materials resources in a symbiotic relationship. In general, the jury insisted on giving Lahti credit for its successful public-private partnership with local businesses in establishing the plan.
© photo Tiia MontoCC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons