Green Copenhagen – three sustainability initiatives
Copenhagen has a reputation of being very eco-friendly and “green”, not least because of all the biking going on. And it’s true, there are a lot of initiatives that focus on sustainability, environment protection and eco-friendliness. Copenhageners prefer to cycle or use public transportation (or both!) to taking a car, but they also pay a lot of attention to buying “økologisk” food and taking their old paper and glass bottles to the “genbrugsstation”. And there are a number of initiatives and projects driven by the state or the “kommune”, and I’m listing three here. These are all part of the larger, ambitious plan of making Copenhagen carbon-neutral by 2025.
Electric and hybrid busses
On my way to and from work, I often take bus line 14, which is currently served by two or three brand new hybrid busses, among others. These are subsidized by the Danish transportation authority, which has done a number of tests and projects on electric and hybrid busses together with the transit company, Movia. One good example is the city bus line 11A, which goes from Kongens Nytorv to Islands Brygge and is served exclusively with smaller electric busses. Recent tests with new, fully electric busses were very successful as well.
Grønne og blå områder
Translation: “green and blue areas”, meaning green spaces such as parks or woods, as well as water areas such as the beach or a “havnebad“. Copenhagen is already full of them, with a study showing that in 2011, 63% of Copenhagen’s citizens had access to a green or blue space within a 15min walking distance. However, this wasn’t enough for the ambitious planners at Københavns Kommune, and they set the target that this number should be increased to a whopping 90% by 2015! To me, this is one of the key features why Copenhagen is so attractive: no matter where you go, you will never be far from the next water or park, and the city is doing an amazing job in integrating these green and blue areas into the central parts as well, for example with the harbor baths in Islands Brygge and Fisketorvet (dubbed “Copencabana”), but also the super centrally located Frederiksberg Gardens, which combine green spaces (even some wooded areas) with water, plus they have a castle smack in the middle (Frederiksberg Slot) AND border on the zoo!
They have become a trend in major cities all across the world, and here as well. Rooftop gardening is a favorite pastime for urban city moms and hipsters, but they also offer great spaces to relax and forget the world around. Especially in a city like Copenhagen, where buildings aren’t generally high enough to steal each other’s shade, sitting on a rooftop among flowers and plants to enjoy the sun is great. The goal is to have 150,000sqm of green roofs by 2015. You can find a full list and some examples (including Sluseholmen, where I live!) on the website of Københavns Kommune. A full publication on the topic is available for download here.
Do you know about any other great, green initiatives in Copenhagen? How about the city you live in?