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Green cities and municipalities

Cities account for approximately 50% of the global population but over 75% world’s greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014). The increasing trend towards urbanisation occurring across the globe means that both numbers are likely to rise. In the Nordic countries, over 97% of population growth over the past 20 years has occurred within the 30 largest functional urban areas (Smas & Grunfelder 2016). Given this, it is perhaps no surprise that the urban dimension receives considerable attention in the Nordic green growth agenda. Broadly speaking, the key policy areas that influence green growth in an urban context are: land use planning; transport; buildings; energy; waste; and water (Tepecik Diş 2014). 

The cases highlighted here are unique in that they combine all of these elements (and in some cases more!) to increase the green profile of the city or town as a whole.  The cases highlighted here range from large Nordic cities (e.g. Case 41. Copenhagen, Europe’s latest “green capital”; Case 42. Malmö City, the bustling brother down south), to smaller, less well-known municipalities (e.g. Case 45. Växjö, Europe’s greenest city; Case 47. Carbon neutrality in the northern municipality of Ii) and even islands (e.g. Case 44. The “bright green island” of Bornholm). We also highlight several examples of collaborations between municipalities that aim to support increased green activity (e.g. Case 43. Cities of the future, Norway; Case 46. HINKU Forum, Carbon neutral municipalities of Finland).    

All green cities and municipalities cases: