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Ciutat de les arts i les ciències de València
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These are the greenest cities in Europe in 2022

Three cities have won two prestigious EU green cities awards

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Given the hellish heatwaves of this summer, being green and good for the planet feels more urgent than ever. And crucial to that are the actions of our governments and cities, who have the power to make a serious dent in the climate crisis.

Now, there are plenty of cities that are still failing to effectively take action in the climate emergency. But others are storming ahead – like, for instance, the winners of two of the European Union’s most prestigious green cities awards: European Green Capital and European Green Leaf.

Both of the awards recognise not just the green stuff cities have already achieved, but also what they’ve got planned for the future. There’s only one European Green Capital winner per year, while the annual European Green Leaf recognises the environmental achievements of two smaller EU cities (specifically those that are between 20,000 and 99,000 inhabitants in size).

And now the winners of those two awards have finally been announced. European Green Capital in 2024 will be Valencia in southern Spain, which beat out the Sardinian city of Cagliari in the final. 

Valencia boasts Turia park – the largest urban park in Europe – and has apparently stepped up its green infrastructure polices in recent years. As well as being crowned Green Capital 2024, Valencia will take home €350,000 (£301,000, $348,000) to put towards green policies. (2023’s winner is Tallinn, Estonia.)

The Green Leaf award, meanwhile, has been won by the Danish city of Elsinore and Velenje, the fifth-largest city in Slovenia. The two winners of the Green Leaf will get €75,000 (£64,500, $74,500) to fund local green efforts.

For the respective awards, each city had to present their ideas to a judging panel. The winners were announced at a ceremony in Grenoble (this year’s European Green Capital) last week. 

So even if you don’t care about EU gongs, it’s very much worth checking out all these cities to find out all the cool stuff they’re doing to save the world, bit by bit.

Did you see that Norway is creating ten (yes, ten) new national parks?

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