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Becoming a European Green Capital: A Way towards Sustainability?

From Sustainable to Resilient Cities: Global Concerns and Urban Efforts

ISBN: 978-1-78441-058-2, eISBN: 978-1-78441-057-5

Publication date: 25 November 2014



Today three out of four Europeans live in towns and cities. Urban areas are concentrated with most of the environmental challenges facing our society, but also bring together the commitment and innovation needed to resolve these challenges. The European Commission has long recognised the important role that local authorities play in improving the environment and their high level of commitment to genuine progress; in this regard, it launched the European Green Capital Award (EGCA) in 2009 as an initiative to promote and reward cities making efforts to improve the urban environment and move towards healthier and sustainable living areas. The EGCA is given each year to the city deemed to be most deserving on the basis of 10 environmental parameters: the local contribution to global climate change, local mobility and passenger transport, the availability of local public open areas, the quality of local ambient air, noise pollution, waste production and management, water consumption, waste water treatment, environmentally sustainable management of the local authority and sustainable land use.


This chapter has been composed on the basis of materials found in the literature and on websites, and thanks to contacts created with some departments of the municipalities considered.


Stockholm, Hamburg and Copenhagen represent the winning cities in 2010, 2011 and 2014, respectively. This chapter focuses on the successful experiences of these cities, which show how the convergence of the environmental and economic development is important in order to reach sustainable development.


This chapter shows that environmental protection must not be thought of as a cost for our society. On the contrary, it illustrates how it can support economic development in urban contexts if well planned, managed and participated in at a municipal scale.



Beretta, I. (2014), "Becoming a European Green Capital: A Way towards Sustainability?", From Sustainable to Resilient Cities: Global Concerns and Urban Efforts (Research in Urban Sociology, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 315-338.



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