The Green Cities Alliance has expanded to the Green Cities Forum. Brașov, District 2 Bucharest, District 6 Bucharest, Buzău, Câmpulung Muscel and Darabani signed the pact by which they undertake to implement sustainable projects together with the local community.
After the Green Cities Alliance was born on the UrbanTalks stage in the spring, where Timișoara, Arad, Reșita and Lugoj signed the Green Pact of the West Region, the idea was also promoted to other urban communities. At the Green Cities Forum, discussions were held about the vision for a green city with mayors Allen Coliban (Brașov), Ciprian Ciucu (District – Sector 6), Radu Mihaiu (District – Sector 2), Constantin Toma (Buzău), Elena Lasconi (Câmpulung Muscel), Mihai Gîrbaci (Darabani).
Câmpulung Muscel is a city that understood that in order to be beautiful and to create places where people feel good, it is necessary to remove garages from the public domain. If at first the measure was met with protests from the owners, after the garage areas turned into parks, parking lots and areas loved by people, the immediate effect was seen. Moreover, Câmpulung accessed a grant from Norwegian funds and through the Ministry of the Environment to combat climate change.
Brașov is the city that created an inventory of projects focused on sustainability in preparation for applying for the title of European Green Capital. There are 108 completed or ongoing projects that contribute to the transformation of Brașov into a green city. The photovoltaic park that provides 90% of the energy consumption requirement, 27 schools that will become electricity prosumers, the largest green transport fleet and the velo/bike master plan are some of the initiatives listed in the inventory.
Buzău understood that cities with a medium and long-term vision are the ones that can more easily achieve their goals than those that only try to attract resources. Since 2016, the city has formed a team of 40 specialists who contribute to the development of the community. The vision for 2030 is for Buzău to become a magnet city, a national center for the circular economy. It is the first city in Romania with a circular school, which produces its own energy and reuses rainwater for household use or plant maintenance. Also in Buzau there is a national gene bank for seeds. The Bank of Plant Genetic Resources for vegetable, flowers, aromatic and medicinal plants is located in Crâng Park in Buzău, one of the oldest parks in the country. As a long-term objective, Buzău aims to ensure 100 sqm of green spaces/capita.
Darabani is Romania’s northernmost city, with a community of 12,000 citizens, and is a representative of small cities in the country that manage to channel resources in a sustainable way of development. Even if it is a challenge to change people’s mentality when you talk about sustainability in an area where things like the gas network, asphalt or railway are missing, Darabani has managed to generate projects to become a sustainable city. There is a photovoltaic park that provides the energy needs of public buildings, public lighting is 80% LED technology and remotely managed, and there is even a project for the development of bicycle paths as an option for active mobility.
District 2 Bucharest is one of the 100 cities included in the Mission of 100 Climate Neutral Cities by 2030 of the European Commission. The green transformation is a challenge especially because one sector cannot exercise authority over another district, which is why collaboration between districts and the General City Hall is needed for projects at the level of the entire capital to be carried out. The problems facing Bucharest are not necessarily about economic power, but more about the quality of life in the city. At the last census, 1.7 million citizens and 1.8 million cars were registered. Changing this paradigm is absolutely necessary if we think about the hours lost in traffic and the damage caused by so many cars. District 2 is planning the creation of 36 km of bicycle track, the creation of an infrastructure for selective collection, the running of solutions contests for the restoration of green spaces, the creation of a new tram line and the recovery of land so that it can be transformed into parks, following the model of the Sticlăriei Park that turned from a landfill into a green space loved by the community.
District 6 Bucharest has understood for a long time that people need green spaces and cleanliness. To date, 1000 garages, several terraces and a shopping center have been demolished and turned into parks. One of the flagship projects of District 6 is the Liniei Park, which will stretch for 4 km and was designed together with the residents of the vicinity. The first phase of this project has been completed, and the second phase will be started. Morii Lake is another project through which the surrounding space will become a park, as a result of an international solution competition in which 11 competitors participated. The mayors of the two sectors are in a friendly competition to announce when a green space is created, with the goal being to increase the number of square meters of green space per capita.
The fact that these cities, through the voice of the mayors, dedicate themselves to green projects is an encouragement for sustainable development and for what it means to align the quality of life in the urban environment in Romania to the level of Western Europe. The Green Cities Alliance aims to encourage as many urban communities as possible to interact with each other, to create synergies at regional and national level and to facilitate the exchange of best practices between signatories. We expect other cities to join Bucharest, Brașov, Timișoara, Arad, Reșița, Lugoj, Câmpulung Muscel, Buzău and Darabani.
Together we shape the future of cities!