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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.
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.
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.
Shifting to a resource-efficient society is not just a question of technological change but a systemic one. It is a process that assumes fundamental changes in the governance, economy, social structure, culture and practices of the societal system. This report analyses challenges and opportunities for enabling resource-efficient cities.
Sharing knowledge bases to support environmental and resource-efficiency policies and technical improvements
In 2010, the EEA produced its first assessment of global megatrends as part of its five-yearly assessment of the European environment’s state, trend and prospects (SOER 2010). In preparation for SOER 2015, the EEA updated each of the megatrends, providing a more detailed analysis based on the latest data. This publication is one of the 11 updates being published separately. In mid-2015 the chapters will be consolidated into a single EEA technical report.
A closer look at urban transport – TERM 2013: transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe03 Dec 2013
This TERM 2013 report includes an assessment of progress towards the transport-related environmental targets set out in the 2011 White Paper and other transport and environment regulations. It also includes a focus on the environmental impacts of urban transport.
Air Implementation Pilot - Lessons learnt from the implementation of air quality legislation at urban level05 Jun 2013
Almost three quarters of Europeans live in cities. The air quality in our cities is therefore of significant importance to the health of Europeans. Considerable progress has been made in the past twenty years in improving urban air quality, but issues remain. A number of different air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone remain above regulated levels, posing a threat to human health. This report describes a European pilot project to help identify and address the reasons underlying this 'gap' in implementation of air quality policy in 12 European cities, and thereby draw lessons of wider relevance.
Highlights from the EU Air Implementation Pilot project: This brochure, produced by the EEA, summarises findings on local scale emission inventories from the EU Air Implementation Pilot project. It also highlights sources of information and guidance for those compiling city inventories.
This report presents an overview and analysis of the status and trends of air quality in Europe based on concentration measurements in ambient air and data on anthropogenic emissions and trends from 2001 — when mandatory monitoring of ambient air concentrations of selected pollutants first produced reliable air quality information — to 2010.
Challenges and opportunities for cities together with supportive national and European policies
Overview of exceedances of EC ozone threshold values for April–September 2011
The concept of green infrastructure and its integration into policies using monitoring systems
Laying the foundations for greener transport — TERM 2011: transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe09 Nov 2011
For the first time ever the European Commissions is proposing a greenhouse gas emissions target for transport. But how is transport going to provide the services that our society needs while minimising its environmental impacts? This is the theme for the Transport White Paper launched in 2011. TERM 2011 and future reports aim to deliver an annual assessment on progress towards these targets by introducing the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism Core Set of Indicators (TERM-CSI). TERM 2011 provides also the baseline to which progress will be checked against, covering most of the environmental areas, including energy consumption, emissions, noise and transport demand. In addition, this report shows latest data and discuss on the different aspects that can contribute the most to minimise transport impacts. TERM 2011 applies the avoid-shift-improve (ASI) approach, introduced in the previous TERM report, analysing ways to optimise transport demand, obtain a more sustainable modal split or use the best technology available.
Joint EEA-FOEN report
The global population is congregating in our cities. Eighty per cent of the world’s estimated nine billion people in 2050 are expected to live in urban areas. Our cities and urban areas face many challenges from social to health to environmental. The impacts of cities and urban areas are felt in other regions which supply cities with food, water and energy and absorb pollution and waste. However, the proximity of people, businesses and services associated with the very word ‘city’ means that there are also huge opportunities. Indeed, well designed, well managed urban settings offer a key opportunity for sustainable living.
Land use shapes our environment in positive and negative ways. Productive land is a critical resource for food and biomass production and land use strongly influences soil erosion and soil functions such as carbon storage. Land management largely determines the beauty of Europe's landscapes. It is important therefore to monitor land cover and land-use change through tools such as Corine land cover. Data on land-cover change in Europe from 2000–2006 show that growth in built-up areas and forest land leads to a continued loss of agricultural land. In turn, global economic and environmental change will increasingly influence the way Europeans use land (e.g. as communities work to mitigate and adapt to climate change). Policy responses are needed to help resolve conflicting land-use demands and to guide land-use intensity to support environmental land management.
In Europe, where the overwhelming majority of people live in urban areas, tackling the interlinked challenges between biodiversity and its network of towns and cities is crucial to help halting biodiversity loss.
European countries have significantly reduced anthropogenic emissions of ozone precursor gases since 1990. In general, however, ambient air measurements in urban and rural areas of Europe do not show any downward trends in ground-level ozone. The main purpose of this report is to shed light on possible reasons.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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