From being a city dominated by car transport the focus of Ljubljana is now on public transport, pedestrian and cycling networks and new green spaces.
Ljubljana won the European Green City (EGC) 2016 award due to a significant transformation in sustainability which has been made in last 10 years. The sustainable strategy “Vision Ljubljana 2025” set the roadmap for a rapid progress, especially in urban greening, sustainable mobility and waste management. The shift has been made in public transport and the pedestrianization of the city. Progress has also been made in preserving and protecting the green areas which characterise the city (3/4 of the city is green area, including 46% of native forest) and in the revitalisation and transformation of brownfield spaces. Ljubljana has also progressed in terms of waste and wastewater treatment and have committed to pursuing a zero-waste objective.
On green infrastructure in Ljubljana: between 2009 and 2015, Ljubljana built new parks and other green areas, resulting in an increase of 80 ha in green public areas in the city. By revitalization of brownfield sites along the Sava River, Ljubljana’s citizens got a new place for relaxation and recreation. The newly established 8 km route of cycling paths marks the first step towards connecting the Sava River from its source all the way up to the state border. In addition to public open spaces 46 ha of land is earmarked for urban gardening in the municipal spatial plan. In terms of biodiversity, beekeeping is still alive among Ljubljana’s citizens. Around 300 beekeepers maintain more than 4 500 beehives housing as many as 180 million bees.
2016 EGC program was managed by an 8-member working group and designed not only by the city administration, but also by many stakeholders: NGOs, cultural institutions, museums, schools and individuals. It was a product of cooperation and joint efforts off all the citizens of Ljubljana.
Evidence of success
This is a good example of strategy implementation (how to turn strategy in to life) and of interdepartmental, intersectoral and wider stakeholders’ cooperation (NGO’s, public and private institutions, individuals etc). The award places Ljubljana on the European and world map. It is strengthening the city’s brand, reputation and value. The award had big economic impact, promoting sustainable tourism (a record number of tourists in 2015 with over one million overnight stays).
Potential for learning or transfer
The good practice was presented to the PERFECT partnership and stakeholders during a study visit in Ljubljana. The good practice was referenced by partner Municipality of Ferrara, IT in their Action Plans as inspiration on green infrastructure.
Since getting award in 2014 Ljubljana has become a role model to other cities and an important partner for discussion on a range of innovative urban green measures, especially in Europe.
The practice encourages cities to shift towards sustainability and resilience and presents following principles:
- With a solid strategy and firm mindset (political support) changes can be quickly implemented and be made in harmony with the environment and its citizens
- Only by setting ambitious goals big changes are made
- Acknowledging that cooperation with many various stakeholders from the beginning (strategy) to its implementation is vital
- Recognising that the exchange of experiences and good practices between cities is vital.
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