Citizen Today: cities in focus
Copenhagen's secrets of success
"The ambition to become a carbon neutral city by 2015 has influenced everything we do." – Pia Allerslev, Mayor of Culture and Leisure, Copenhagen
Ask a mayor which city they most admire and the answer is often “Copenhagen.” Here, city leader Pia Allerslev explains the secrets of their success.
When it comes to sustainability, the world’s eyes have for some years been on Copenhagen.
"The ambition to become a carbon neutral city by 2025 has influenced everything we do, especially in the field of urban development,” says Pia Allerslev, Mayor of Culture and Leisure for the city. “Copenhagen strives to deliver sustainable urban solutions that combine environmental, social and economic benefits."
- Since 1993, all buildings in the city have been required to join the district heating system. It supplies 98% of the city and 500,000 inhabitants with reliable and affordable heating and is one of the most carbon-efficient ways to produce and supply energy locally.
- To further reduce Copenhagen’s reliance on fossil fuels, the use of energy generated from waste and the integration of renewable fuels has been prioritized. The city owns public companies within waste management, transmission and energy that share the primary goal of reducing CO2 emissions. The current focus is on waste disposal.
- At least 55% of Copenhageners use their bike as their main means of transportation. “We have 412km of cycle lanes and try to make it easy to get around by bike,” says Mayor Allerslev. The city is also developing a system of interconnected green bicycle routes, which will cover another 100km.
- The next phase of the city’s underground metro system, which was opened in 2002, is scheduled to open in 2018 with the introduction of a new city circle line.
- Copenhagen is increasingly operating in partnership with its neighbor, the Swedish city of Malmö. The combined twin-track railway and dual carriageway bridge across the Øresund strait between the two cities symbolizes their joint approach.
- Copenhagen is also expanding its collaboration with the German city of Hamburg. Focusing on areas such as cleantech, energy, tourism and the creative services, the partnership will be strengthened by the opening of the Femern Bridge, which is expected to be completed by 2020.
- The focus on quality of life was a driving force behind the cleanup of the city’s harbor. “We initiated a cleaning program that has improved the water quality so much it is now possible to swim in the harbor.” Housing areas in the harbor areas have been revitalized, new commercial and cultural ventures have sprung up and apartment prices have increased by 57% between 2002 and 2011.
For Mayor Allerslev, creating a sustainable city is not only about creating green solutions. "It is also about securing social sustainability and a livable city," she says. With such a variety of initiatives and programs, as well as deep commitment to the environment from city leaders and citizens alike, there seems little doubt that Copenhagen will continue to blaze a green trail in the years ahead.
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