• The 2020 European Green Capital and 2019 European Green Leaf Awards

    #Europe #european green capital #green cities #urban environment

    Does your city have what it takes to be the next European Green Capital or European Green Leaf winner? The competition for both awards is now open with more details on the European Green Capital Award application to be found here and the European Green Leaf Award application here.

    For the first time, in order to celebrate the 10th year of the European Green Capital competition, the Commission will award a financial incentive of €350,000 to the winning city of the 2020 European Green Capital title (cities with a population of 100,000 or more inhabitants). A financial incentive of €75,000 will be awarded to the winner of the European Green Leaf 2019 title (cities with a population of 20,000 up to 100,000 inhabitants)[1].

    The European Green Capital Award (EGCA), now in its 10th cycle, rewards cities for making positive change to improve their urban environments. The European Green Leaf Award (EGLA), established in 2015, to commend the work of smaller cities in driving environmental change.

    Previous winners

    Stockholm, Sweden, was the first city to win the European Green Capital title in 2010. Since then, winners of the Award have come from all over Europe: Hamburg in Germany, 2011; Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, 2012; Nantes in France, 2013; Copenhagen in Denmark, 2014; Bristol in the UK, 2015; Ljubljana in Slovenia, 2016; Essen in Germany, 2017; and Nijmegen in the Netherlands, 2018.

    Mollet del Vallès in Spain and Torres Vedras in Portugal were the first winners of the European Green Leaf Award in 2015. Galway in Ireland followed in 2017.

    The winners for the European Green Capital 2019 and Green Leaf 2018 will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in Essen, June 2017.

    Competition process

    Both Awards have a two-stage evaluation process. First, an international independent Expert Panel assesses each city’s application, selecting a shortlist for the next stage of the competition. Applicants are assessed based on 12 environmental indicators, and EGLA applicants on six topic areas.

    The Expert Panel evaluation is synopsised in the Technical Assessment Reports. The reports from all previous EGCA competition cycles are available here, and EGL reports can be found here.

    Finalists cities then present to an international Jury, when they must show their ongoing commitment to improving their urban environments and their capacity to act as a role model to others. You can find more information on the Jury and read Jury Reports from previous cycles here.

    Benefits of entering the competition

    Winning the EGCA and EGLA brings numerous benefits to a city, including:

    • Positive European and international media coverage;
    • Increased tourism;
    • Increased international profile, networking and new alliances;
    • New jobs – European Green Capital or European Green Leaf is more attractive to foreign investors;
    • Attracts public financial support;
    • More emphasis on environmental projects through sponsorship and grants;
    • Boosts local pride and generates a feeling of belonging;
    • Momentum to continue improving environmental sustainability;
    • Access to the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Networks of previous winners and shortlisted cities to share ideas and experiences.

    Even undergoing the application process can be of great benefit to cities, as they gain expert advice on how to improve their approach under each environmental indicator/topic area.

    Applicant Workshop

    If you are thinking of applying this for years EGCA cycle or at a later date, why not attend the EGCA Applicant Workshop? Taking place 27 June 2017 in the European Commission’s Conference Centre ‘Albert Borschette’, the workshop provides cities with an overview of 2020 evaluation and assessment process, Expert Panel guidance, key elements from winning bids and a chance to hear from previous winners.

    The workshop will be held in English with interpretation into German, French, Spanish and Italian. Detailed information on the workshop including a draft agenda can be found here. You can see presentations from past Applicant Workshops here.

    More information on the application process for the EGCA can be found here and the EGL here.

    [1] Subject to the approval of the EU 2018 Budget and approval by the College of the 2018 Financing Decision for the EU LIFE Programme

  • EU Conference: Evidence-based planning for greener cities

    #european commission #Future green city #urban planning

    Conference in collaboration with the Maltese presidency of the EU Institute of Applied Sciences, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, 13 June 2017

    Background and objectives Almost three out of four EU citizens live in urban areas and this number will further grow. All these people need an inclusive, healthy, resilient, safe and sustainable living environment. This challenge is well captured by the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDG) that include under SDG 11 seven specific targets aiming to make cities and communities better places to live. One important target is to provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces by 2030. Understanding how urban green spaces provide essential services to citizens is important to make informed decisions on maintaining or investing in green infrastructure. The EnRoute (‘Enhancing Resilience of urban ecosystems through green infrastructure’) project provides scientific evidence to help policy makers and planners with achieving this target. EnRoute is a project of the European Commission in the framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. It builds on the many positive experiences of the MAES urban pilot study1 . It aims to promote the application of urban green infrastructure at local level and will deliver guidance on the creation, management and governance of urban green infrastructure. Importantly, it will illustrate how collaboration between and across different policy levels can lead to concrete green infrastructure policy setting.

    EnRoute organises a conference with the following objectives:

    ● Evaluate how science can provide the tools to inform policy making and urban planning so that quality of life improves for every citizen;

    ● Discuss how the Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem and their Services (MAES) evidence base can help for policy-setting with respect to urban planning;

    ● Networking for scientists, planners and policy makers working on urban green infrastructure topics. 1 http://biodiversity.europa.eu/maes Conference organisers

    ● European Commission – Joint Research Centre (Joachim Maes, Grazia Zulian)

    ● Institute of Applied Sciences, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology2 (Mario Balzan) Data and Venue  The conference will take place in Paola (Malta) the premises of the Institute of Applied Sciences, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), on 13 June 2017.

    Registration: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/ConferenceEvidenceForGreenerCities


    ● Policy makers from Malta and the European Commission

    ● Stakeholders and researchers from 19 cities across Europe which are partners of the EnRoute project (Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, Utrecht, The Hague, Antwerp, Helsinki, Tallinn, Oslo, Leipzig, Karlovo, Limmasol, Valletta, Rome, Verona, Padova, Trento, Poznan and Lisbon).

    ● Local stakeholders from the Maltese environment and planning authorities ● European stakeholders (planning, research, member states)

  • Scientists reveal how Google Street View can facilitate urban sustainability

    Researchers at Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore – ETH centre, have used Google Street View to understand and map out the shade provided by trees in city areas thereby paving way for further studies using the huge Street View data set for the enhancement of green spaces for urban sustainability.

    The importance of green spaces is known to all particularly in the urban areas and yet there has never been any such development for quantification of the shade provided to the surface by trees which eventually help mitigate flood risk, cool the urban micro-climate and provide suchlike eco-system services.

    Using 100,000 panoramic images from the Google Street View researchers carried out a study to understand tree coverage at regular intervals of 50 metres on the Singaporean streets. In the study researchers covered more than 80 per cent area of the city. The high spatial resolution images facilitated researches to quantify the solar radiation proportion hitting the earth’s surface, through which the amount of shade provided by tress was estimated.

    Results of the study show that on an average the tree canopies have been able to seize 8 per cent of the solar rays, whereas at some locations the contribution of canopies in intercepting the radiations has raised up to 50 percent also. The study clearly indicates the worthy role of green spaces, particularly the trees, in urban sustainability.

  • Europe’s cities going green despite tight budgets

    European cities are successfully future-proofing against climate change despite budgetary constraints.

    That’s according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report, which highlights a range of green successes and demonstrates how they could be implemented elsewhere.Popular and relatively cost effective measures include building more green spaces and installing green roofs, both of which enhance water retention, aid cooling and provide thermal insulation.For example, the Slovakian capital of Bratislava is installing green infrastructure such as low-emission buses, planting more trees around the city, setting up green roofs and building rainwater retention facilities.

    These measures mean the city is already on the way to slashing its total emissions, reducing pollution and improving quality of life.However, a lack of funding has been cited by mayors, city managers and planners across Europe as one of the main reasons for the slow uptake of green measures.This means a range of innovative funding options to pay for the projects need to be deployed.Bratislava used a combination of EEA grants and municipal funds to leverage private investment – other ways to finance adaptation include crowdfunding, green bonds and making the most of subsidies.

    Some other cities to have secured funding for green measures include Copenhagen, which is upgrading its floodwater management and lighting systems and Paris, which is planting 20,00 trees in an effort to make the city’s public spaces more sustainable. The town of Essen in Germany is the European Green Capital for 2017.

    Source: EEA and https://www.energylivenews.com

  • International Horticulture in IPM ESSEN 2017

    #Horticulture #IPM Essen

    From January 24 to 27, 2017, the international green sector will be guests at Messe Essen. At IPM ESSEN, horticulture will find not only innovative technology, soils and substrates for efficient production but also the unique possibilities of establishing important contacts to market-leading plant breeders from all continents as well as marketing organisations and placing orders centrally in one place. The world’s leading fair will portray the entire value added chain of plant production: Around 1,600 exhibitors from 50 countries will show their new products in the Plants, Technology, Floristry and Garden Features areas. As a supplement to the extensive range available from the exhibitors, IPM ESSEN will offer a high-quality supporting programme such as the International Horticulture Forum with the Netherlands as the partner country and the teaching show entitled “LED, Iodine, Plasma, … – Cultivation Control Today”.

    With its diverse range on offer, the world’s leading fair for horticulture will be a fair for all gardeners and nurserymen. Not only the main focal points of ornamental plant cultivation and nurseries but also vegetable and soft fruit cultivation will be in the best possible hands at IPM ESSEN. Halls 3 and 7 will accommodate the necessary technology – innovative, efficient and on the highest level: from greenhouse construction via greenhouses made of plastic film and their interior fittings as well as illumination, air conditioning and irrigation systems right up to husbandry machines, weather protection and insect-repelling nets for outdoor beds. Furthermore, the trade visitors will be able to obtain information about substrate mixtures, soil conditioners as well as fertilisers and plant fortifiers and to receive competent advice. For the elimination of weeds in biological cultivation, the exhibitors will have corresponding devices or environmentally friendly beneficial organisms in stock. Young plant and herb producers will profit from a large number and wide diversity of breeding and marketing tray suppliers.

    Wide Range of Plants On Offer

    59 percent of the exhibitors will belong to the Plants exhibition area. At no other fair do the visitors find such an extensive range on offer: Plant breeders from all continents will introduce their new creations here: from bedding, balcony and vegetable plants via nursery goods, Mediterranean growths and herbs right up to house plants and cut flowers. Producing horticulture will be offered an international platform for obtaining information, exchanging specialist ideas and placing orders. It will be possible to find the Plants area not only in Halls 1 and 2, the Galeria as well as Halls 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 but also in the temporary Halls 13 and 14 and in the foyer of the Grugahalle. The Innovation Showcase in Hall 1A will be a must in order to keep an eye on the trends of the coming season. An expert jury and, in addition, the trade visitors themselves will choose the best new breeds of the IPM exhibitors.

    Meeting Place for International Decision Makers

    The marketing of the finished goods plays just as important a role as technology and the choice of the correct variety. IPM ESSEN will be a high-quality trade fair in order to come into contact with all the international decision makers in the sector. The BGI Trade Center in Hall 1 will be a good place for networking in 2017, too. Services rendered by the wholesale trade will be presented on the area of the Association of the German Flower Wholesale and Import Trade (BGI). In addition, all the marketers with worldwide activities will be represented at the fair, including Landgard, Royal Flora Holland, Flora Dania, GASA and Veiling Rhein-Maas.

    International Horticulture Forum

    The Kingdom of the Netherlands will be the partner country of the International Horticulture Forum on January 26, 2017. In cooperation with the Representation of interests of the German horticulture industry (INDEGA) and the Eugen Ulmer Publishing House, experts will provide information about chances and challenges of horticulture in our neighbouring country.

    Horticulture Info Center in the Green City

    At IPM ESSEN 2017, the Central Horticultural Association (ZVG), ideal sponsor of IPM ESSEN, as well as the co-organiser the North Rhine-Westphalia State Horticultural Association will once again present their comprehensive spectrum of services in the Horticulture Info Center in the Green City in Hall 1A and will be available to answer the questions of the member companies. Not only the professional associations but also institutions from the fields of advice, science and research as well as training and ongoing education will be represented.

    Further information: www.ipm-essen.de





  • Urbanization is a challenge to manage ecosystem services.

    #biodiversity #ecosystem

    Urban regions must take increased responsibility for motivating and implementing solutions that take into account their profound connections with and impacts on the rest of the planet

    Urban areas are expanding faster than urban populations. The total urban area is expected to triple between 2000 and 2030, while urban populations are expected to nearly double, increasing from 2.84 to 4.9 billion.

    This urban expansion will heavily draw on natural resources on a global scale, and will often consume prime agricultural land, with knock-on effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services elsewhere. Materials and energy are, and will be, drawn in great quantities from all over the world — often from large distances — to the primarily urban locus of consumption and waste generation.

    Roughly 70% of the world’s population is expected to be urban by 2050. Recent studies suggest that the global food supply will need to roughly double to meet the dietary needs of the growing population, global energy demand may increase up to 80%, and global water demand is expected to increase by 55% between 2000 and 2050.

    Despite these challenges, there are untapped opportunities for cities to manage ecosystem services globally. For example, a combination of measures can be used to decrease waste and reduce meat consumption, while at the same time invest in protecting biodiversity, water quality, local food production and key carbon-sequestering ecosystems.

    A global system of cities must operate within a framework of other actors such as national, regional, and local governments, multinational corporations, and civil society. Each of these actors has important roles to play in managing planetary resources.

    Individual cities have begun to take an increasing responsibility in the management of resources and impacts on the regional or even global scale. Actions by a consortium of municipalities or state governments operating at larger scales are likely to accomplish even more. Partnerships across urban and non-urban places are needed, extending to address multiple global environmental issues, and the inter-connections and impacts on our planet.

    Effective stewardship of ecosystem services must consider the interconnectedness of resources that link cities to ecosystems outside of city boundaries, and the multitude of actors that shape and sustain the resource flows. Urban regions must take increased responsibility for motivating and implementing solutions that take into account their profound connections with and impacts on the rest of the planet. This responsibility includes implementing the ecosystem approach of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the urban landscape and encouraging local governments to start a process for addressing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.


    Source: http://cbobook.org/

  • New CaGBC report shows environmental and economic benefits of green building

    #Benefits of green #green roof

    A new Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) report released during World Green Building Week is demonstrating how a greener built environment can combat climate change and stimulate economic growth.

    The report, titled Building Solutions to Climate Change: How Green Buildings Can Help Meet Canada’s 2030 Emissions Targets outlines the CaGBC’s response to the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which committed Canada to meeting or exceeding the federal government’s 2030 target of a 30 per cent reduction below 2005 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

    The report makes four key recommendations aimed at meeting Canada’s climate change targets while fueling the growth of Canada’s sustainable building industry. Targeting existing buildings with measures that improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions, along with innovation toward net zero carbon buildings are key in achieving national emission targets. The recommendations are substantiated by research from WSP Group and Acton White Associates, commissioned to examine the carbon savings potential of existing buildings and net zero buildings, and also to analyze the required investment and economic benefits.

  • Increase Your Home’s Value With Mature Trees

    #Benefits of green #economy #trees

    Towering trees on your property provide more than beauty — they increase the value of your home.

    Several recent nationwide surveys show that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent.

    A lush lawn with flower gardens is pretty, but didn’t add to the value of a house, the surveys showed.

    Buyers love landscaping

    The numbers don’t surprise Pat Vredevoogd Combs, immediate past president of the National Association of Realtors. “People tell us they want trees and privacy behind,” she said.

    Well-landscaped yards with mature trees and bushes that provide privacy not only fetch higher prices — they sell more quickly than houses with little or no landscaping, she said, noting that they provide the ultimate “curb appeal” by impressing buyers before they even walk into a house.

    The surveys were done in 2007 by the University of Washington and the National Gardening Association. “It’s a significant increase,” said Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist with the National Gardening Association, about the effect trees have on the value of a house. But buyers don’t stop there. “People are looking at big trees, rock walls, patios — the whole feeling,” he said.

    Nardozzi suggests that people reconsider when they neglect their yards to focus on renovating kitchens and bathrooms. “With housing values dropping in many areas of the country, having a beautiful landscape could make the difference between breaking even on your home and making some money on the sale of your home,” he said.

    Plan before you plant

    A Clemson University study found that homeowners get a 100 percent or more return on the money they put into landscaping. Nardozzi advises homeowners with bare lots to start landscaping immediately because it takes 5 to 7 years for plants to mature. A good professional landscaper will look comprehensively at the site before planting.

    Homeowners who decide to go it alone should get advice from a local gardening shop before planting “willy-nilly,” Nardozzi says, because this often results in planting the wrong plant in the wrong location. The result can be overgrown plants that cover the windows of a house or trees with roots that buckle a driveway.

    “Do your homework,” Nardozzi says, because a poorly landscaped yard negates your efforts to add value to the home.

  • Briton remains president of EU nursery stock

    #economy #ENA #trees

    Tim Edwards was reelected as president of the European Nursery Stock Association.

    This happened at the annual meeting of the ENA in Sofia, Bulgaria. Previously Edwards, one of the British nursery  stocks in Boningale,  had already stated that he wanted to remain the next two years as leader of the European nurseries.

    Jan-Dieter Bruns, Director of the German company Bruns Pflanzen, was elected as the new vice president. He succeeds the Swedish nurseryman Patrick Svensson. The Belgian grower Willy De Nolf remains treasurer, the Spaniard Josep Pagès secretary.

    This year, the ENA is 25 years old. On this occasion, a tree is planted in a city in each ENA country on October 19th.


  • Urban green space helps fight crime

    #Benefits of green #green agenda #urban green

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a green space! The new way to fight crime in cities may soon look like your neighborhood park. Recent research shows that the more urban green space in an area, the less crime.

    The city of Youngstown, Ohio did a study looking at three potential treatments for vacant lots: contracted (the city hired a contractor to mow the lots and erect fences), locally-driven (the city gave residents money to develop the lots as they chose, including fruit trees, gardens, and monuments), and no treatment.

    The city analyzed four years of data, from 2010 to 2014, and found that in areas around lots that were treated, there were lower rates of property and violent crime. The contracted lots showed a higher decrease in property crime, and the community lots showed a greater decline in violent crime. There was, however, a significant increase in vehicle thefts near the treated sites.

    Further analysis showed that the crime reduction was not caused by it simply moving to another location, as the wider area around these lots also saw a reduction in crime.

    Philadelphia launched a program in 2000 to convert roadside gray areas into vegetated plots to soak up rainwater. A study found a reduction in narcotics possession around the areas that had been greened, as opposed to those that had not been upgraded.

    A Baltimore study shows that crime rates are lower around homes with well-cared-for lawns. The most powerful indicators of a decrease in crime were having a lawn, the presence of garden hoses or sprinklers, shrubs, tree cover, percentage of pervious area, and the presence of yard trees. The factors most strongly tied to more crime were the number of small street trees, litter, uncut lawn, and a dried out lawn.

    The reason for the decrease in crime around green spaces seems to be that these spaces attract people, which causes more traffic and more people watching each other. Criminals don’t like to operate in locations where they might be seen, so they are taking their crimes elsewhere or not performing those activities at all.

    Megan Grove, author of the Baltimore study, says, “The level of maintenance of the yard is almost like a neighborhood watch sign saying, ‘We have eyes on the street and we will say something,’ There’s a physical fact, which is that people can see criminals, but also this symbolic meaning that reinforces the social order that people will act upon their own behalf and on behalf of others.”

    Communities would be wise to take note of these studies and help their residents develop and maintain the beautiful green spaces that help to drive down crime.

    Source: greenbuildingelements.com