Becoming a European Green Capital: a way towards sustainability?

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Today three out of four Europeans live in towns and cities. Urban areas concentrate most of the environmental challenges facing our society but also bring together commitment and innovation to resolve them. The European Commission has long recognized the important role that local authorities play in improving the environment, and their high level of commitment to genuine progress. In this regard, the European Green Capital Award has been conceived as an initiative to promote and reward cities making efforts to improve the urban environment and move towards healthier and sustainable living areas. Stockholm, Hamburg and Copenhagen represent the winning cities in 2010, 2011, and 2014, respectively. Since years Stockholm has been considered the least polluted city in the world, and now it is involved in trying to maintain its high environmental performances, at the same time candidating itself – at international level - as a very attractive city from a professional and economic point of view. Differently from Stockholm, in the past Hamburg was an industrial urban centre; at the end of the 20th century it decided to change direction towards a responsible growth and a green economy. Finally, in Copenhagen you can see a complete convergence between the environmental and economic development models, with key-words as ‘eco-innovation’ and ‘green jobs’. These three cities have invested in the environmental sustainability as the right way to social and economic sustainability, reaching very important results from all points of view. In particular, they engaged against atmospheric pollution and climate change, showing that environmental protection does not represent a cost necessarily, but it should become a way towards the urban economic and social recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Sustainable to Resilient Cities: Global Concerns and Urban Efforts
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • green cities
  • urban sustainability


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