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Europe is a Union of cities and towns; around 75% of population of the EU have chosen urban areas as their place to live. But impacts of urbanisation extend, beyond city borders. Europeans have adopted urban lifestyles and they use city amenities such as cultural, educational or health services. More
- Key facts and messages
- Urban growth is driving land-use change in Europe, with peri-urban areas developing at four times the rate of towns and cities. Integrated urban management could increase the environmental resilience of Europe’s cities, particularly in the... more
- The role of cities is critical in achieving Europe's objectives for a low carbon, resource-efficient and ecosystems resilient society. more
- Urban areas in developing countries will absorb most of the global population increase, with 67 % of people living in cities by 2050. Most of the growth is expected to be in megacities, particularly slums. Compact cities are the most efficient... more
- 75% of Europeans — and more in the future — live in or around cities. The quality of life therein depends much on the environmental conditions. Insufficiently managed urbanisation leads to an increase in 'land take', soil sealing, fragmentation... more
Cities across Europe must step up their adaptation efforts if they are to handle the increasingly complex challenges caused by climate change such as more extreme flooding or prolonged heatwaves. A European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today stresses the benefits of investing in long-term preventive measures that cities should take to improve their resilience.
There is growing evidence that urban sprawl is having an increasingly negative effect on the environment and on the quality of life across Europe. Existing actions to prevent, contain or control such development have had limited results. Better targeted measures are necessary. That is the main conclusion of a joint European Environment Agency (EEA) and Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) report published today.
Cities play an increasingly important part in our lives. Urban areas are where we live, work, rest and play. The European Environment Agency (EEA) invites you to participate in the ‘My City’ photography competition and share the moments you captured in European cities.
We need freshwater for human consumption and economic activities such as food production and industry, but does Europe manage this valuable resource in a sustainable way? An indicator assessment published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on World Water Day takes a look at the use of freshwater resources across Europe.
Our cities are under pressure like never before from increasing populations, traffic gridlock and climate change. How can we make them easier to get around, more liveable and sustainable? One urban design firm is helping transform the way we plan cities. We talked to Helle Søholt, founding partner and CEO of Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, to find out.
From walking and electric cars to massive freight vessels and high speed trains, a wide range of transport options exist. Many factors, including price, distance, availability of infrastructure and convenience, can play a role when selecting a transport mode. Car rides are the preferred mode for passenger transport in Europe. But even then, some options are cleaner than others. How can we opt for greener choices?
Ingredients for the meals we eat at home or in restaurants come from near and afar. In an increasingly urbanised and globalised world, the food produced in the countryside needs to be transported to the city. Much focus has been put on reducing ‘food miles’, which can be a relevant but sometimes limited concept. A smarter and cleaner transport system would solve only part of the issue. A wider systemic analysis of the entire food system is in order.
Green infrastructure offers attractive solutions to environmental, social and economic issues, and as such needs to be fully integrated across different policy domains. As the EEA prepares to publish a report on the role of green infrastructure in mitigating the impacts of weather and climate change related natural hazards, we spoke to its lead author, Gorm Dige, project manager for territorial environment, policy and economic analysis.
This report builds on and complements existing products and initiatives on urban adaptation in Europe. It focuses on the state of actions in the field and progress achieved since the first EEA report in 2012, and it considers this analysis in relation to current challenges: Do existing actions lead to attractive, climate-resilient cities and if not, what needs to be changed? The report aims to broaden perspectives and provide input to a review and subsequent adjustment of urban adaptation to climate change by local governments and by supporting regional, national and European institutions, researchers and other relevant stakeholders.
This report provides a comparable measurement of urban sprawl for 32 European countries at three levels (the country level, the NUTS-2 region level and the 1-km2 cell level) and for two years (2006 and 2009). The analysis is based on the Copernicus system which monitors the Earth and collects data by different sources. This data provides information about a number of thematic areas, including land. Under land a pan-European component delivers information about various areas, including the level of sealed soil (imperviousness), through high resolution layers taken from satellite imagery. The analysis uses new urban sprawl metrics taking into account the way built-up areas are laid out and how they are used. It also looks at the factors which contribute to an increase or decrease in urban sprawl. The results confirm the conclusions of earlier EEA reports namely that in many parts of Europe current levels of urban sprawl have contributed to detrimental ecological, economic and social effects. This gives cause for concern and such effects may increase alongside planned urban development.
The report introduces the concept of urban metabolism, the circular model and the role of compactness in urban resource efficiency. Cities require natural resources and energy to sustain the activities and daily life of the urban population. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to minimise the use of resources needed to sustain urban life and to reduce waste and emissions. As the urban form shapes the way people live, work and move, compact cities offer great potential to reduce the dependence on natural resources and energy. Urban planning, based on a vision of the future and developed with local stakeholders and crossing administrative borders, is a key factor in increasing the density of urban areas.
Cities are key players in minimising the use of resources and in developing the circular model. Generally, municipalities provide utilities and control public services for citizens and businesses that influence the majority of resource and energy use and the production of emissions and waste. Local authorities have the capacity to implement responses at multiple scales. This report analyses both the supply and the demand issues. It is divided into two parts: the first is devoted to how to avoid, prevent and reduce the use of resources; the second addresses reuse, recycling and harvesting.