European Cities Set to Go Green

Author:  Emma Loewe

Institution:  Duke University

Emma Loewe is in her final year as an undergrad at Duke University. In the process of writing this article, she has made the decision to move to Europe right away.

What is the best way to incorporate sustainable design into the world’s older cities?

The Triangulum Project, an initiative that showcases cutting-edge sustainable innovations, may have the answer. The project will lead the EU’s Smart Cities and Communities Initiative to make European cities more sustainable by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse emissions, and road congestion. Smart Cities brings together major urban centers, private companies and NGOs to achieve the EU’s 20/20/20 climate action goals. The numbers refer to 20% targets in greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy creation, and energy efficiency improvement.

Led by German technology company Fraunhofer IAO, the Triangulum project will apply high-tech makeovers in selected districts in three urban centers – Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands), and Stavanger (Norway).

The Manchester project involves transforming a student-dominated part of the city center called The Corridor. Old buildings will get energy-saving retrofits, gasoline vehicles will be turned away, and the district will get its own new power supply that includes geothermal energy from underground. A new IT communications platform will connect the citizens of Eindhoven, giving them access to electric car rentals and ride shares. Stavanger, a city that is already at the forefront of the green movement, will develop a video program that tells the public about energy and mobility solutions they can implement at home.

Three quarters of Europeans are city dwellers. Recognized for their rich culture and industry, Europe’s metropolitan centers hope to be known for their dedication to the environment as well. If the Triangulum project succeeds in its three initial sites, it could be expanded to help cities across the world achieve their climate adaptation goals.  

This piece was developed under the guidance of Science Writing Mentor Andrew Alden.