Over the last 20 years, Malmö has experienced a transition from an industrial city to a knowledge center. Together with Copenhagen and surrounding urban areas, the Öresund Region is one of the fastest growing urban districts in Europe.
As Malmö expands, the city must balance population growth with preservation of open spaces for nature and food cultivation. The south of Sweden contains some of the most fertile land in Europe. Maintaining environmental sustainability and the quality of life for citizens is key, as is being a leading eco-city on the world stage.
In 2009, the City of Malmö launched the “Environmental Program,” a city-wide project with a progressive environmental agenda to improve the sustainability of the city and the quality of life of its citizens. According to the Program, by 2020 the city will be climate neutral and by 2030 the entire city will run on 100% renewable energy. The city has already been reducing greenhouse gas emissions by placing great emphasis on energy efficiency, reducing energy use, encouraging a green modal shift in transportation and investing in renewable energy. Starting in 2014, all electricity is now generated from old water-power plants and this will soon be exchanged for wind power. Investments in solar, wind, water, and biogas are now being investigated in order to increase the use of renewable energy.
These targets are ambitious and well above the European Union and Sweden’s own goals. They have, however, been set after thorough consultation with relevant local government departments.
The overreaching goal is that Malmö becomes climate neutral by 2020 and the city runs on 100% renewable energy by 2030. A variety of environmental goals have been set to compliment this vision:
- By 2020 energy consumption in Malmö will decrease by at least 20% per person and by a further 20% by 2030.
- More renewable energy from solar, wind, water, and biogas will be phased in and fossil fuels phased out. A large proportion of this energy should be produce locally.
- Reduction of GHG emissions by at least 40%.
- Significant development of rail traffic and other electrically driven public transport, as well as an extended network of cycle lanes. Capacity of transporting goods by ferry and train will be improved.
- Improved land use and resource allocation to provide for a diverse and dense population, while maintaining green urban areas.
The Program engages city officials and citizens in a dialogue and leaves a great amount of room for creativeness in the implementation phase, both in regards to activities and financing. Malmö has also engaged private companies to participate in the program. Companies are able to use the city as a test bed for products and services, contributing to an innovative atmosphere and resulting in a wide range of solutions that best fit Malmö’s urban environment.