The Danish city of Lyngby is crowned Europe’s greenest city

Lyngby, aka King’s Lyngby, a cultural hub and university town in greater Copenhagen, Denmark, has won the 2023 Green Cities Europe Award, recognising its multi-generational housing project, Basecamp Lyngby. Saint Etienne in France and Utrecht in the Netherlands took the next two spots on the award list.

The awards ceremony took place in Brussels’ greenest cafe, Bar Ginette, in the capital’s European Quarter. Several MEPs attended the event to discuss experiences with green city projects across Europe. In turn, they can articulate the necessity of more urban greenery in the European Parliament.

Thirteen projects from an equal number of European countries vied for the highest honour.

The winning project in a Copenhagen suburb is an unusually designed residential complex for students and senior citizens.

The 15-member international expert jury praised the building and its garden’s ‘architectonic coherence’. The jury report reads, “It is a very impressive approach to design the architecture and landscape in such harmony with a sustainable approach.”

Social cohesion was rated highly, with residents – students and senior citizens – having plenty of (outdoor) space to meet each other. Practically all judges also praised the approach to biodiversity, including the use of diverse, often indigenous planting.

Lyngby is known for being Copenhague’s green lung, with more than half of the municipality of Lyngby-Taarbæk consisting of forests, fields, lakes, and streams.

France won the second prize with a major urban redevelopment project in the Montreynaud district of Saint Etienne. Montreynaud was formerly known as a socially deprived area and has been transformed into a green oasis. The jury report reads, “In terms of urban transformation, it offers a striking example of transforming the concrete pile in the city into living spaces that add meaning to people’s lives.” Words like “social”, “economy” and “climate” featured frequently in the positive jury reports.

Utrecht won the third prize on behalf of the Netherlands. With a combination of three large-scale greening projects, the city shows that it is replacing logistical space (tracks and roads) with green and blue (parks and water). The jury sees this as creating connections for both people, flora, and fauna: “dismantling the barriers previously imposed by fast-moving traffic, replacing them with pedestrian-friendly, communal, and nature-infused spaces”.

Climate adaptation and the economic and tourist value for the city were other points that won over the jury.

The other ten projects were also very diverse, successful examples of urban greening that the jury rated highly. Each participating country had delegated a professional as a jury member (who did not judge the project from their own country). In addition, delegates from the ELCA (European Landscape Contractors Association) and the IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects) completed the 15-member jury.

MEP César Luena attended the 2023 Green Cities Europe Awards.

Each year, the Green Cities Europe Award highlights outstanding urban greening projects across Europe. The aim is to reward inspiring projects that make excellent use of plants and green solutions to combat climate change, stem biodiversity loss and improve social cohesion and local urban life.

Beringen in Belgium won the inaugural Green Cities Award in 2020, followed by Nantes, France in 2021 and Alkmaar, the Netherlands in 2022.

The Green Cities Europe Award is an initiative of the European Nurserystock Association (ENA) and nursery stock organisations united in the Green Cities Europe international campaign. In this programme, 13 European countries work together to highlight the added value of greenery in the urban environment. The participating countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

The November issue of FCI magazine focuses on Green City Europe, including extensive coverage of the Dutch semi-finale on 12 October in Alkmaar, the Netherlands.

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