|Country:||a) Northern Europe,||b) Denmark|
|Type:||Policy, Concept, 1|
|Area:||City/Town, 100,000 - 1 mill.|
|Actors:||Local government, Economic sector, Publ.-priv. partnership|
|Funding:||Local government, Regional government, European Union|
|Topics:||Architecture and construction|
|Business and industry|
|Housing (and new settlements)|
|Mobility and transport|
|Nature and open space|
|Objectives:||Improve access to information|
|Improve intersectoral cooperation|
|Increase non-motorised mobility|
|Increase public awareness|
|Increase use of public transport|
|Reduce car mobility|
|Reduce energy consumption|
|Reduce water consumption|
|Instruments:||Integrated planning approach|
The City of Aalborg gave its name to the Aalborg Charter which was signed in 1994 at the First European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns. For many years the city has been especially active in environmental politics, working on all environment- related fields. Local Agenda 21 gives additional inspiration and impetus for further environmental actions. Hereby, the case of Aalborg is a very interesting example of local good practice as the Agenda 21 process is acting across various sectors. Aalborg´s environmental strategy is a kind of overall plan that combines planning with economics in a comprehensive way.
In particular, the following characteristic aspects of Aalborg´s activities are worth further consideration:
In 1994 Aalborg hosted the First European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns at which the Aalborg Charter was signed. The Charter constitutes a kind of statement of demands for Agenda 21 deriving from the Rio Declaration of 1992. By September 1996, 245 local authorities from 27 European countries representing more than 80 million European citizens had signed the charter. They committed themselves to enter into Local Agenda processes and to develop local long-term action plans towards sustainable development.
Because Aalborg gave its name to the Charter and has already been active in environmental issues for many years (e.g. Europe´s Tidiest City in 1990), the city sees itself in an exemplary role. Aalborg´s first Local Agenda 21 plan for sustainable development has been prepared and the city council has already begun an environmental impact assessment of its own decisions. Aalborg is very concerned to initiate programmes and actions across various environmental sectors and is implementing an overall plan for the city. In this sector plan system Aalborg tries to combine eco-planning with economics. Aalborg´s Local Agenda 21 can also be regarded as the first green accounting, since it is a statement of actions measured against the Aalborg Charter.
Its main principles of sustainability are the following aims:
On this basis the city council sets the goals for the Local Agenda 21 every four years. In these strategies the implementation process is treated as a matter of urban management and covers all relevant environmental areas.
The City of Aalborg is implementing a considerable number of projects and programmes in all environment-related sectors. In December 1995, the city council also decided to introduce environmental impact assessments in order to elucidate any problems involved in the execution of specific projects.
What is known as the green structure of Aalborg is regarded as essential to provide the city with oxygen, to clean the air and to reduce the traffic noise. These activities are at work on the following levels:
a) Woods, green neighbourhoods and parks
During the last few years, thousands of citizens have been involved in the planting of forests, often to celebrate some particular issue or group such as a jubilee, senior citizens or a twin city. From 1989 to 1995, about 50 hectares close to the urban area were planted. The aim is to cover 12% of the municipal area with trees. South of Aalborg, an area known as Østerådalen, has seen the re-establishment of 70 hectares, and the project continues. The parks of the city are included in urban development plans.
Residential areas are being developed as garden cities. In the central urban area, the inner courtyards of housing blocks are being converted into attractive gardens and about 4,000 dwellings now enjoy this facility.
c) Squares and open spaces
Recent years have seen the renewal of large areas in Nørresundby and Aalborg. Several smaller squares and open spaces are now being restored.
These are being re-shaped and paved with new and longer-lasting materials. Trees are being planted where space allows. About 3,000 trees have been planted in the urban areas during recent years.
Besides these efforts, the City of Aalborg plans to develop the harbour-front areas of Aalborg and Nørresundby to make areas with good access and recreational facilities. Therefore, an overall development plan is in preparation. By 1997, Lindholm Strandpark will be an open, green area on the fjord with many recreational facilities, including a bathing beach, cycle and pedestrian paths, places for anglers etc. In addition to Lindholm Park and Østerådalen, Aalborg will renew two other recreational areas, Kilde Park and Vestbyens Strandpark, and connect all these sites with a network of paths.
As Aalborg´s citizens need drinking water which is ready for consumption, the city council has decided to purchase agricultural areas which contain water resources. The city council has also decided that the water supply department and the parks administration are to co-operate on ensuring pure drinking water. As a result so far, the consumption of pesticides by the Parks and Cemeteries Administration has been reduced by 60% during the last 12 years. The aim is a total stop on the use of pesticides. Concerning the quality of water courses the city is going to prepare overall plans for water course catchment areas. By the end of 1995, eight of the planned ten overall plans had been scheduled, and plans of action for the four major water course systems in the municipality are to be prepared in the period 1995-1997.
Already in 1992 the city council had revised the water supply plan, in which it was decided to initiate a system for securing future water supplies. The result was the Drastrup project in which the possibilities of carrying out a lasting and effective protection of ground water was tested. As the city has limited the spraying and fertilising of its own areas, woods and commons help to protect ground water.
Aalborg leads 98% of all waste water through sewers to two central plants where the water is treated mechanically, biologically and chemically. Here, the concentrations of organic material, phosphorus and nitrogen are considerably reduced (N 5 mg/l, P 0.5 mg/l). At present, work is in hand on a major project to ensure that the sewer system functions satisfactorily. The general aims of the project Renewal and optimisation of the sewer system are:
The systematic cleaning of the sewer system is expected to be completed in about 15 to 20 years. In future, the annual production in Aalborg of 30,000 tonnes of sewage sludge - of which 80 % is water - should therefore be reduced by such means as the establishment of a biogas plant at Renseanlæg Øst sewage works and changes to the biogas plant at Renseanlæg Vest sewage works.
The City of Aalborg has altered its planning tools in co-operation with its citizens. In 1993, the city council adopted its urban policy in the form of an Urban Catalogue. This catalogue states the environmental goals and provides inspiration for the improvement of the city. The urban policy part of the Urban Catalogue and the administrative guidelines for urban administration of the central urban areas of Aalborg and Nørresundby have been approved. The Urban Catalogue also contains the guidelines for the administration of building matters and local planning. In the course of a few years, all communities in the municipality will have their own catalogue. In consequence of these efforts, Aalborg was awarded the EU Urban & Regional Planning Award 1994 for the best planning document. Another precise siting instrument is the Industrial Catalogue which provides information on all undeveloped municipal and private industrial areas with summaries and search possibilities. An environmental evaluation of all industrial areas has already been carried out.
The goals for urban renewal of the inner city are a better standard of housing, the preservation of historic buildings, more attractive urban space, bringing nature into the city and protection against traffic noise. The City of Aalborg has already provided public support for the improvement of about 2,000 dwellings, while 4,000 dwellings have been given open spaces. Central Aalborg still has about 20,000 dwellings with unsatisfactory open space provision as well as about 5,000 unmodernised dwellings. The law on private urban renewal has been made permanent and now provides government grants for ecological initiatives. Private house owners can get advice through a consultancy service which the city set up in 1994.
In addition, the city council is carrying out one of the greatest urban-ecological demonstration projects in Denmark. In co-operation with the Danish Ministry of Housing and Building and SBS Urban Renewal Consultants, this project integrates standard and advanced ecological solutions. For example, the yellow house demonstrates energy conservation and supply methods and technologies. The blue house shows water savings and recycling methods and technologies. The ecological new construction of 26 flats is intended to test the application of ecological elements in building plans. The standard plan Open Areas involves improvements to four blocks of flats, including collection of rain water and installation of a water garden driven by solar cells. The standard plan Conversion involves well-tested ecological elements in the renovation of four old properties.
The Plan of Action for Traffic and Environment (1994) has its background in the urban catalogue. The aim is to limit environmental nuisance caused by traffic. The plan contains goals concerning aspects like energy consumption, air pollution, noise and traffic accidents. For example, the energy consumption by traffic must be held at the 1992 level; by the year 2002, the number of dwellings disturbed by noise should be 20% lower than in 1992, and the number of accidents must have been reduced by 10% compared with 10 years earlier. The basis of the plan is to create better and safer conditions for pedestrians in an extensive and cohesive shopping area with good open spaces. The bus service in the city centre should be a real alternative to the use of private cars.
One of the most striking results is the Joint Urban Project in Transport Energy Reduction (JUPITER). This EU-supported project has led to improved bus transfer possibilities outside the railway station, the introduction of a parking information system, the establishment of disabled-friendly bus stops and the purchase of hybrid buses with energy-conserving and environment-friendly engines. In February 1997 the project will end, but the City of Aalborg intends to continue it. Therefore a follow-up project has already been prepared including testing more energy-efficient vehicles and cleaner fuels, and the establishment of a comprehensive traffic guidance system in the urban area.
In October 1995 the city council adopted the Cycle Path Plan with the aim of fulfilling the goals of the Traffic and Environment Plan of Action by encouraging the use of more environmentally friendly means of transport as an alternative to the private car. The main purpose is to establish a cohesive cycle path system. Therefore cycle paths are being established in Vesterbro, Jyllandsgade, Prinsensgade, Vestergade/Vesterbrogade and Thistedvej streets. In continuation of the cycle path plan, the City of Aalborg approved another project to create a better north-south cycle route through the city. The cycle project called Arbejde-Bolig-Cykel (ABC - Work-Home-Cycle) aims to prepare the way for transferring 6% of traffic between home and work from the motor car to the bicycle. It includes co-operation with public institutions and private companies who will make company cycles available as an alternative to a company car or a taxi.
In 1995 the City of Aalborg decided to reduce the amount of waste by domestic composting, to collect at least 80% of environmentally hazardous waste and to achieve a total recycling level of 55% by the year 2007. The incineration of domestic refuse is to be reduced from 70% to 44%. In continuation of the approved refuse plan for households, new initiatives have already started like the collection system for oil and chemical waste (in 1994 62% was collected), the more frequent emptying of a larger number of waste paper containers and a trial of domestic composting in Tylstrup and Godthåb.
In 1989 the city council had already decided to introduce a trial in the sorting at source of organic refuse in a limited area of about 2,600 households. These four neighbourhoods include one-family homes as well as housing blocks. The purpose of the trial was e.g. to increase the recycling of refuse, to evaluate the amount of information required and to test a system with a 14-day collection frequency. As a result more than 80% of these households have participated and the residents are willing and proficient refuse sorters. From 1st January 1997 it is planned to make the system permanent in the experimental areas.
In connection with the city council´s discussion of the Brundtland Report in 1992, it was decided to increase the percentage of subscribers to the district heating system to 95% by the year 2001. The introduction of green taxes helps to improve the competitiveness of the district heating system. The city council also decided in June 1992 to lower the supply-pipe water temperature as much as possible. So far the increased number of subscribers and the reduction in supply-pipe water temperatures have proceeded according to plan.
In its plan of action called Energy 2000 the government has set the goal that 10% of the country´s electricity is to be generated by wind power by the year 2005. In the City of Aalborg, the windmill plan of 1993 has provided for about 110 windmills in windmill parks and 20-30 detached windmills. Together they will generate 120 million kWh annually. In the autumn of 1996 the local planning for four windmill parks (total of 38 windmills) was finalised. None of the windmills have been erected but tenders have been called for.
In accordance with the national law on electricity supply from 1st March 1994, electricity supply companies have to prepare plans for electricity saving initiatives. The first plan, called DSM Plan 1995 (Demand Side Management) for the City of Aalborg was approved by the city council in March 1996. The plan describes how electricity economic initiatives are to be taken in the period 1996-2000, and that the total annual savings in 2000 will be 17 GWh, corresponding to the average annual electricity consumption of about 4,000 single-family dwellings. These savings are to be made especially by an intensification of the energy consultancy activities of the Energy Centre.
In 1993, as a step in the development of increasingly sustainable industry, Aalborg introduced Environmental Management Agreements. These agreements are intended to encourage increased co- operation between industry and the municipality in improving the environment and reducing the wasteful use of resources. In connection with the agreement, Aalborg enables companies to initiate a systematic planning and control of their efforts to conserve the environment. The aim is to convert production and possibly change products through the use of cleaner technology. Against the background of co-operation with three companies in 1994 and 1995, a manual has now been prepared with instructions on how companies can create and carry out an environmental and energy control system, making them able to localise and prevent environmental hazards and unnecessary use of resources. Especially the Aalborg Portland Cement factory has set new standards in the use of alternative raw materials.
In future the manual will be available to interested companies in order to promote environmental and energy control. Meanwhile, an agreement has been reached with seven companies to test the manual during 1996. As a result, considerable environmental and resource improvements have been achieved by these companies.
In addition to the wide activities of the city council itself and a number of production companies in the business-related projects, a couple of other institutions play an important part in implementing Local Agenda 21:
The first European Centre for Sustainable Urban Development was opened in Aalborg´s Lindholm district in August 1996. The centre has the following aims:
It is expected that the project will have a positive spill-over effect on the surrounding neighbourhood. Lindholm 21 is being run by a committee representing trade and industry, environmental organisations, the City of Aalborg, the citizens, the university, the technical college and the world of finance.
Aalborg Commercial Council is a self-governing body with the main aim of encouraging the healthy development of local business life. This is done in close co-operation with companies, business organisations, educational institutions and the City of Aalborg. The Commercial Council is constantly involved in encouraging environmental development and in the strategic planning of production as well as sales.
In the spring of 1993 the Energy Centre was opened in co-operation with Naturgas Midt-Nord and the Aalborg City gas, electricity, district heating and water supply departments. In this centre consumers have the opportunity to have their total energy and water consumption optimised by means of the centre´s advisory service. The main tasks of the centre are
Aalborg´s projects are financed by different sources. Besides financial resources from the county and municipal authorities, some projects are promoted by the EU. For example, the European Union URBAN programme is providing support for Lindholm 21 over a four-year period. The JUPITER- project is also financed by the EU, as well as the Centre for Sustainable Urban Development. The European Commission has promised DKK 11 million to the City of Aalborg for this environmental advice centre. Private urban renewal is supported by government grants.
City of Aalborg: Aalborg - The Road to Sustainability
City of Aalborg: Agenda 21 - Aalborg, Bæredygtig Udvikling, October 1996
|Telefon||:||++45 / 99 / 31 23 42|
|Telefax||:||++45 / 99 / 31 23 22|
|Address||:||Local Agenda 21 co-ordinator|
|City of Aalborg|
|Urban and Environmental|
|P.O. Box 765|
The City of Aalborg is Denmark´s fourth largest city. The 160,000 inhabitants live in an area of 555 sq. kilometres, and 117,000 live in the city itself. Aalborg´s central location makes it the natural capital of North Jutland County. As the centre of the labour market, education, trade and culture, Aalborg greatly influences developments in the whole region. The town is an important transport junction - with motorway, airport, railway and harbour - with good communication to and from, for instance, Norway, Sweden, Greenland and Germany.
In business terms, Aalborg has a strong lead in iron and steel, telecommunications, electronics, and a whole number of thriving businesses in the field of construction and the service trades. Research and education are well represented by Aalborg University, the North Jutland Science Park and some of the largest trade schools in Denmark.
Project was added at 23.01.1997
Project was changed at 29.01.2004