The noise, the smoke, the hustle, and the bustle. Most of us would not call cities “eco-friendly,” but Lisbon has beaten off competitors to win the European Green Capital Award for 2020!
What does this mean for Lisbon? Well, on top of the obvious kudos, the city receives €350,000 to “kick-start its green capital year.” So, we should see some more eco-innovation.
Lisbon received the title on Friday at a ceremony in the Netherlands. The EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said of Lisbon and other European Green Capital winners:
“With best practice environmental management, good urban planning, and citizens at the heart of their green transformation, they showed how to turn environmental challenges into opportunities, and make their cities healthy and enjoyable places to stay, live and work in.”
The decision comes from a panel of experts who judged cities around Europe and found Lisbon as the leader in “urban sustainability.” Firstly, Lisbon is not a city of cars. In fact, it is near impossible to drive in this city, and the municipality’s ability to “prioritise cycling, public transport, and walking” was noted as a key factor for the win. The introduction of bike-sharing is playing an important role, and despite some hiccups with external companies, GIRA’s charging stations seem to be becoming ever more common throughout the city.
If bikes aren’t your thing, “93.3% of people in Lisbon live within 300 m of a frequent public transport service,” according to the European Commission. So hop on one of the city’s many trams, buses, trains, or funiculars. If you insist on driving, at least you can do it a little greener in Lisbon, which has one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charging stations in the world.
Furthermore, according to the European Commision, Lisbon reduced C02 emissions by 50% between 2002 and 2014, energy consumption by 23%, and water consumption by 17% between 2007 and 2013. This culminated in the city being the first European capital to sign the New Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change and Energy in 2016.
Finally, the European Commision states that “76% of people in Lisbon live within 300 m of green urban areas.” And what a fantastic fact that is. The many parks throughout the city offer respite to its residents, but also counteract pollution. The crowning jewel is undoubtedly Monsanto, but the entire city is littered with little parks and hidden gardens.