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Exploring the Concept of Green Cities: Strategies for Pursuing Sustainable Metropolitan Development

Exploring the Concept of Green Cities: Strategies for Pursuing Sustainable Metropolitan Development

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
11.03.2024 13:15

"Green cities" are not just a myth being spread by eco-radicals. It is possible to strike a balance between the use of modern technology and the preservation of the environment.

Urban areas are synonymous with fast-paced living, with extremely small apartments, exorbitant rental and property prices, and unforeseen challenges at every corner. However, living in a modern-day city doesn't necessarily mean living in a polluted environment. The concept of green cities has attracted the attention of urban planners and residents alike, who consider ecological and climatic factors when selecting a place to live.

The concept of green cities has gained popularity due to rapid urbanisation. Towards the end of the 20th century, people realised the need for balance as urban centres grew rapidly. The ideal state was to be found in places that combined the advantages of the city with the qualities of the countryside, such as access to nature and clean air. Today, green cities are those that act in an environmentally friendly manner and take steps towards combating the climate crisis.

Improving living conditions in Poland's greenest cities

When studying the greenest cities in Poland, several aspects are taken into account:

  • individual electric transport,
  • public transport,
  • air quality preservation measures,
  • local community,
  • public health.

Many factors that could enhance the standard of living in a city depend on its residents, but they are also linked with the management of the city by the authorities. The availability of public transportation is crucial for people to choose it over individual transport. Only big cities like Warsaw or Poznań have efficient public transportation networks in Poland. Smaller towns and cities still lack proper public transportation systems, which hurts the environment. Apart from that, the consciousness and awareness of the local community are also critical, such as proper waste segregation, conservation of resources, and responsible water usage.

In 2021, Lublin was awarded the title of the greenest city in Poland. This city is located in the country's southeastern part and is the Lubelskie Voivodeship's capital. Lublin stands out for its high level of care for public health and the activity of the local government. Additionally, Lublin has made significant progress in areas where it has not performed well in the past, such as electromobility. The Europolis report also indicates that Katowice and Łódź are Poland's second and third greenest cities, respectively.

Exploring the Concept of Green Cities: Strategies for Pursuing Sustainable Metropolitan Development
Exploring the Concept of Green Cities: Strategies for Pursuing Sustainable Metropolitan Development (canva)

Romania's green cities. Sustainable development improves the quality of life

Romania is making a considerable effort to improve the quality of life in its urban areas. The cities of Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, and Sibiu are leading the way in terms of green initiatives, but Galati has also made significant progress, boasting the cleanest air in the country.

Residents are doing their part to make their cities more sustainable by separating their waste and using geothermal energy to heat their homes. The government is also taking a top-down approach, transforming degraded land into green spaces, building bike paths, installing solar panels on public buildings, improving public transportation, and reducing parking spaces and car traffic.

Why collaboration between authorities and residents is crucial for making Lithuanian cities greener?

One of the greenest cities in Lithuania is Alytus. Its authorities boast that the city is simultaneously developing both economically and environmentally.

"Economic growth usually leads to more intense urban expansion, growth of transport infrastructure, increased development of land, higher consumption of natural resources and increased pollution. Most economic activities have an impact on the environment. Therefore, to ensure proper protection of the environment and achieve sustainable development goals, it is necessary for the economy to develop according to the principles of sustainability, which means balancing environmental, economic and social goals while minimising environmental damage," explained Vida Macerniene, the head of the Department of Environmental Protection at the Alytus City Administration.

Macerniene stresses the importance of collaboration between the city and its residents when it comes to taking action for the environment. She believes this partnership is crucial and that people should be informed of the reasons behind every action.

According to her, raising awareness and knowledge of environmental issues in the local community is essential. This includes informing them about their environmental impact and allowing them to choose more sustainable activities.

Source: Europolis: "Zielone miasta. Polskie miasta na rzecz klimatu, środowiska i zdrowia mieszkańców"

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