13 June 2023 (Copenhagen, Denmark). As cities worldwide grapple with the urgent need to address climate change and create sustainable urban environments, a catalogue has been released, showcasing 12 remarkable examples of urban transformations from Nordic and Baltic cities. EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU, created this inspirational catalogue of innovative solutions to offer cities across Europe valuable insights and inspiration on how to revolutionise the use of public space while mitigating emissions, improving air quality and engaging with citizens.
Titled “Urban Climate Adaptation in the Nordics” (UCAN), this publication captures the pioneering efforts and leading solutions of cities in the Nordic and Baltic region for transforming urban public spaces to be greener, more sustainable and more liveable. Aimed at city officials and planners, the case studies featured in the catalogue – which include Copenhagen, greater Stockholm, Helsinki, Aarhus, Helsingborg, Riga, Vilnius and Tartu – present different measures that cities can take to strengthen their resilience to the changing climate, from planting trees and greening streets to building water reservoirs and improving stormwater management, while improving quality of life for their inhabitants.
From Copenhagen’s visionary redesign of an important square and street in the neighbourhood of Østerbro, which ingeniously combines stormwater management, pedestrianisation and green infrastructure, to Nacka’s solutions that effectively and sustainably address the challenges of rapid urbanisation while enhancing public spaces, this catalogue exemplifies the power of long-term thinking and holistic approaches.
Moreover, the catalogue highlights the transformative potential of seemingly small interventions. Cases from Helsinki, Riga and Vilnius demonstrate the remarkable impact of repurposing car parking spaces, breathing new life into urban areas, reducing car traffic and promoting active mobility. Such agile interventions have proven they can be the catalysts for larger transformations, igniting a wave of positive changes. Read the case studies here.
The catalogue also features 11 policy recommendations on how city governments can transform public space in ways that enable climate adaptation and fossil-free mobility, while ensuring the involvement and support of citizens, especially younger people. By following these recommendations, cities can progress towards sustainable urban mobility and climate adaptation while fostering citizen involvement and benefitting from the guidance provided by European initiatives.
Anders Bengtsson, Head of Innovation Hub North at EIT Urban Mobility: “We need to see a much bigger sense of urgency from politicians and city planners. Whether from an environmental, a public health or a social inclusion perspective, Europe’s cities need to change and become much more sustainable, notably by building resilience to our rapidly changing climate. Cities are at the heart of what we do at EIT Urban Mobility, and the case studies and policy recommendations in this catalogue can help guide them in this crucial transition.”
Anna Maria Gran, Senior Adviser, Coordinator of the Nordic Working Group for Climate and Air (NKL), Nordic Council of Ministers: “The vision of the Nordic Council of Ministers is to make the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030, which includes supporting solutions for climate neutrality and adaptation as well as giving civil society, and especially children and youth, a platform for participation. The Urban Climate Adaptation in the Nordics (UCAN) project of EIT Urban Mobility fruitfully contributes to this purpose, and we hope this catalogue can inspire and help other cities in the Nordics and across Europe in their green transition.”
Recognising the vital importance of citizen engagement, the catalogue emphasises the inclusion of diverse perspectives, with a particular focus on young people. EIT Urban Mobility’s new youth engagement initiative “Transform your street!” successfully brings real-life challenges into the classroom, inspiring a new generation of urban innovators. By involving children and young adults in the decision-making process, cities can create more inclusive and sustainable public spaces that meet the needs of all members of society.
This project has been co-funded by the Nordic Working Group for Climate and Air (NKL) under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic Vision is to become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The co-operation with the Nordic Council of Ministers must support this purpose. This project supports the vision of green transition and Nordic solutions within the areas of climate neutrality and climate adaptation. Read the catalogue here: https://pub.norden.org/nord2023-015/