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Grenoble crowned green capital of Europe

The French city was praised for its pioneering approach to climate management that includes a strong commitment to systemic change and an innovative participative approach to city governance.

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Grenoble receives €350,000 financial incentive to kick-start its European Green Capital year
Grenoble receives €350,000 financial incentive to kick-start its European Green Capital year

The French city of Grenoble has won the European Commission’s European Green Capital Award 2022. The award is presented to a city with more than 100,000 inhabitants that is judged to be at the forefront of sustainable urban living.

 

The European Green Leaf 2021 award, which recognises the environmental efforts and achievements of smaller towns and cities with 20,000 to 99,999 inhabitants, is shared by Gabrovo (Bulgaria) and Lappeenranta (Finland).

 

Grenoble will receive a €350,000 financial incentive from the European Commission to kick-start its European Green Capital year. The winners of the European Green Leaf 2021 title will each receive €75,000. A total of 36 cities competed for the awards, which is the highest number in the competition’s 13-year history.

 

Pioneering approach

 

Grenoble was praised for its pioneering approach to climate management that includes a strong commitment to systemic change and an innovative “participative democracy approach” to city governance. Grenoble’s ambitious plans for its European Green Capital Year impressed the jury for how it will reach cities and citizens across Europe to inspire solutions.

 

The city achieved top ranking in the areas of climate change mitigation, sustainable urban mobility, sustainable land use, noise and energy performance. With a terrain that limits urban sprawl, the city has no choice but to rely on urban regeneration and rehabilitation, efficient public transport and quality public spaces to renew itself.

 

Other factors that earned Grenoble the top spot included:

  • a strong commitment to climate change mitigation and improving energy performance. Grenoble was the first French local authority to adopt a climate plan, in 2005. The city reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent from 2005 to 2016 and is working towards a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.
  • addressing noise pollution with designated quiet areas in the city, promoting cycling and reducing speed limits in the city
  • Grenoble’s eco-neighbourhoods have won national awards and the city takes an innovative approach to maximising its limited green space, by encouraging private gardens to open, vertical greening, and an ambitious tree planting programme
  • the city has achieved ‘impressive’ cycling rates through incentives, reimbursements and pedestrianisation.
Lappeenranta: recognised for its commitment to becoming a model green city
Lappeenranta: recognised for its commitment to becoming a model green city
Gabrovo: commended for its commitment to energy efficiency and clean tech
Gabrovo: commended for its commitment to energy efficiency and clean tech

At the virtual ceremony, broadcast from Lisbon, the current European Green Capital, commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “The winners and finalists of the green city awards have proven to be resilient and shown that, even in the most difficult circumstances like this year’s, rapid changes are possible.

 

“These success stories also show that sustainability and green transition provide solutions to cope with sudden crises and create better and healthier urban areas for EU citizens. As we continue to adapt to a new normal, our award winning cities will continue to play a leading role in implementing green solutions and creating cities that are fit for life.”

 

Green Leaf 2021 winners

 

The international jury said that the European Green Leaf 2021 winners of Gabrovo and Lappeenranta stood out for their approach to environmental management, as well as their communications and engagement, that makes them role models to inspire other cities.

 

Gabrovo was commended for its commitment to energy efficiency and clean technology implementation over the past decade. This has resulted in initiatives with citizen involvement, focused on the provision of sustainable transport and maintenance of green areas. Gabrovo has a wide variety of natural habitats and species and has ongoing measures in place to protect and conserve these biodiversity assets.

“As we continue to adapt to a new normal, our award winning cities will continue to play a leading role in implementing green solutions and creating cities that are fit for life”

Lappeenranta was recognised for its commitment to developing into a model green city and ranked highly in all the award indicators. The city is home to a world-class research and innovation university which contributes to the city in areas such as clean energy research, sustainability, circular economy and water technology.

 

Guided by the Lappeenranta 2033 Strategy, it was the world’s first city to start solely using EKOenergy certified renewable electricity.

 

The European Green Capital 2022 winner Grenoble, and finalists Dijon, Tallinn and Turin, have each earned a place in the European Green Capital Network to share best practices and motivate other cities.

 

Similarly, the other European Green Leaf 2021 finalists, the Danish cities of Elsinore, Nyborg and Ringkøbing-Skjern will join Gabrovo and Lappeenranta and previous winners and finalists in the European Green Leaf Network.

 

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