Berlin becoming a climate-friendly city

This year, Berlin launched the BerlinStrategy | Urban Development Concept Berlin 2030. The BerlinStrategy revolves around three key themes in achieving a sustainable future:

  • Economic strength: Berlin will be an established leader in science, employment, training and qualifications
  • Quality of life: Berlin will be a center of creativity and enthusiasm for art, culture, tourism and sport, and a diverse urban metropolis that is easy to live in with plenty of green spaces
  • Social conscience: Berlin will be successful in terms of climate and energy with citizens committed to living in a modern and socially responsible society.

Greening the city

Berlin is known for its green spaces and tree-lined boulevards: Today, the closest green space for 2.2 million Berliners is no more than 500m away and almost 44% of the city’s surface area is made up of woods, farms, water, allotment gardens, parks and sports grounds. Regarding green boulevards, each kilometer of Berlin’s streets have approximately 82 trees for a total of 440,000 throughout the city.

To ensure the city remains green in the future, the BerlinStrategy aims to:

  • Promote the densification of the existing urban environment by re-using and converting existing structures
  • Have all green and open spaces well linked and accessible
  • Safeguard the city’s natural resources, in particular the soil, air and water to ensure healthy biodiversity and human health
  • Minimize soil sealing including the planting of urban forests: the city’s ‘Street Trees for Berlin’ campaign aims to plant up to 10,000 new trees by the end of 2017, in addition to the 3,300 trees already planted in the city each year
Berlin's green future

Berlin’s green future

Berlin becoming a climate-friendly city

Since 1990, Berlin has been reducing its energy consumption, however a large part is still fossil-fuel based including coal, oil and natural gas. In 2011, just under 3% of energy consumed in the city came from renewable energies: The majority of renewable energy was produced from biomass. To reduce primary energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions, the BerlinStrategy lays out a multi-prong approach over the next 15 years that includes:

  • Increasing energy efficiency in homes and new buildings with the city promoting initiatives and innovative solutions to public and private home-owners and tenants
  • Increasing the share of renewable energy
  • Attracting urban, ‘clean-tech’ technologies by providing businesses space, for instance the area around Berlin Tegel Airport is being earmarked for tech-related development
  • Launching neighborhood-level climate protection and adaptation initiatives to raise awareness and apply climate efficiency principles at the local level

The take-out

Cities around the world can take a leaf out of Berlin’s new strategy by ensuring their future plans incorporate climate adaptation and mitigation aspects that can be initiated at all levels: City-wide down to neighborhood-level.

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Author: Robert C. Brears

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