Can Europe be expected to have at least 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030, whose development will not affect the environment? Answers to this and other questions important for the cities of the future were sought at the Scandinavian Days Forum “Sustainable Cities. The Nordic Experience”. The event was honored by participation of H. E. Ambassador of Finland Arja Inkeri Makkonen, H. E. Ambassador of Sweden Inger Buxton, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Denmark Jakob Greve Kromann, Honorary Consul of Norway in Kaunas Vytautas Valaitis and Kaunas Deputy Mayors Mantas Jurgutis and Andrius Palionis. They presented good examples and experiences in dealing with emerging challenges.
The Swedish cities of Växjö and Linköping, one of the first Kaunas partners, presented their development plans and the challenges they face at the Scandinavian Days Forum. Currently, both are condensing the city center to make it an attractive place for people to work, live, get services, and be conveniently connected both on foot and by bike. The Finnish city of Tampere is moving in a similar direction, and it also has ambitious plans – more services and entertainment are concentrated in the city center. Another Finnish city, Rovaniemi, also known as Santa’s Birthplace, is implementing a Child-Friendly City initiative. And a representative of the Swedish organization Global Challenge presented the Her City Toolbox initiative at the forum, which promotes the involvement of women in the development of urban projects both in Sweden and in other parts of the world.
Green city course
According to Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis, the Nordic countries are a good example to follow for how a city must develop harmoniously and sustainably, and it is cooperation with the cities of these countries and sharing of accumulated experience that helps Kaunas to achieve its goals.
“Growing Kaunas has one goal – to become a city good for everyone. I will make no secret of the fact that we often want to align with Scandinavian cities. Currently, projects focused on ecology, sustainability and the development of social relations are being implemented in Kaunas. In this way, we aim to become a city of innovation, where it is convenient to live and work. Kaunas is a compact and green city. By implementing the Sustainable Mobility Plan, we aim to create a convenient infrastructure for moving in a city without cars. We are also creating pedestrian and bicycle paths, managing parks and green spaces, and renewing the public transport network,” Kaunas city mayor V. Matijošaitis briefly introduced the direction of the city to the forum participants.
Cooperation is a huge benefit
Helén Nilsson, Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania, who took part in the event, shared her thoughts on the global issues currently facing the world and how the Scandinavian countries are dealing with them. She has no doubt that each city can become a sustainable and role model for others.
“From a global perspective, one of the biggest challenges is to create a sustainable and inclusive environment. Although cities are strong drivers of economic growth, they face a range of challenges: crime, housing shortages, youth unemployment, segregation, and a significant impact on the climate and the environment. The Scandinavian region can offer high-quality solutions to cities based on strengths such as good governance, public-private partnerships, design traditions, environmental and social awareness or strong technological solutions”, said H. Nilsson.
The director of the Nordic Council of Ministers office in Lithuania added that knowledge sharing, learning and close co-operation bring great benefits to everyone.
Anyone can become an example
Helén Nilsson, Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania, shared her thoughts on the global challenges facing the world today and how the Nordic countries are dealing with them. She has no doubt that each city can become a sustainable and role model for others.
“From a global perspective, one of the biggest challenges is to create a sustainable and inclusive environment for the growing urban population. While cities are strong drivers of economic growth, they do experience several problems, such as crime, housing shortages, youth unemployment and segregation also having substantial climatic and environmental impacts.
The Nordic region can offer high-quality urban solutions based on Nordic strengths such as good governance, public-private partnerships, design tradition, environmental and social awareness as well as robust technological solutions”, said H. Nilsson.
The director of the Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania added that knowledge sharing, learning and close co-operation bring great benefits to everyone.