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Brussels, 4 May 2010

Environment: Europe's first Green Capital shares the secrets of sustainable urban development

Stockholm, Europe's first ever Green Capital, today showcased two visionary projects as examples of sustainable urban development. At a seminar in Brussels, Mayor of Stockholm Sten Nordin and representatives from the Swedish capital showed how cities across Europe can improve the quality of life for citizens while also looking after the environment. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik attended the seminar, organised by the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and Stockholm.

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The Europe 2020 Strategy for a long-term sustainable future calls for action at all levels, including regions and in cities. Stockholm is an excellent example of local level action and an inspiration to other cities. The European Green Capitals initiative is all about sharing. By working on urban initiatives together we can build the cities people really want to live in, as well as inspiring others to 'up their game'."

Sharing best practice

The seminar on sustainable urban development looked at how Stockholm, Europe's green role model, is combining green growth with sustainable development for the benefit of its almost 820,000 citizens.

Representatives from the city highlighted two ambitious projects. Participants heard about the challenges of transforming a run down industrial area into one of Europe's most attractive state-of-the art living environments. The Stockholm Royal Seaport project aims to become a global showcase for sustainable urban development. The city area, which will include 10,000 apartments, 30,000 office spaces and a modern port, plans to be fossil-fuel free by 2030, reduce carbon emissions below 1.5 tonnes per person by 2020 and cement Stockholm’s reputation as a truly climate-adapted city.

The second example focused on Stockholm's vision to transform large scale post-war suburbs into attractive districts with energy-efficient housing – a challenge shared by many European cities. The Järva project will develop districts bordering the Järvafältet nature reserve, which were built between 1965 and 1975, as part of the 'million homes programme' to counter housing shortages.

Guest speakers

Alongside EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik in the closing panel session were MEP and Vice-President of the Green Group Claude Turmes, Minister President of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region Charles Picqué, Mayor of Stockholm Sten Nordin, State Secretary for Urban Development and Environment in Hamburg Christian Maaß and First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso.

The European Green Capital Award

The annual award is a new initiative presented to a city in the vanguard of environmentally-friendly urban living. Cities are judged on their record in achieving high environmental standards, their commitment to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development. The title will pass to Hamburg in 2011. The competition for the 2012 and 2013 European Green Capital Awards is already in its final stages. Six finalists have been shortlisted: Barcelona, Malmö, Nantes, Nuremberg, Reykjavik and Vitoria-Gasteiz. The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony during the European Green Capital conference in Stockholm in October.

See also IP/10/410

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