Year of European Green Capital bringing changes with long-lasting impact to Tallinn

  • 2023-06-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The first half of the year of the European Green Capital has seen Tallinn set up a summer park on the Town Hall Square, along with 14 urban meadows across the city, and 150 trees planted on the occasion of the Song and Dance Festival to start on June 30. 

Besides, the year of the European Green Capital has brought with it about a hundred environmental events, and nine companies are keen to test their environmentally friendly ideas in Tallinn, the city government said in a press release on Monday.

In the spring, Tallinn made one million euros available from the budget of the European Green Capital as grants for non-profit activities, so that the city's residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations could implement their ideas. More than a hundred applications were received as part of three rounds, and almost half of them received a grant. In total, European Green Capital Tallinn supports 48 environmental projects.

"For the city of Tallinn, the year of the European Green Capital is certainly not an end point, but a journey. Our main goal is that all the changes that will take place this year have a long-term impact. First and foremost, a change in the quality of life," Mayor Mihhail Kolvart said in the press release.

One important project is a collaboration between Tallinn and the district heating provider Utilitas, which is aimed towards the creation of new technologies in energy production.

"This is a collaboration with a long-term impact, which has green goals, will ensure price stability of thermal energy and also energy security. It is symbolic that we launched it in the year of the European Green Capital," said Kolvart.

As part of the "Rohejalg" ("Green Footprint") project, Tallinn is creating a more pleasant, more people-centered urban space, one example of which is the Town Hall Square Park, built for the summer months. In the second half of the summer, new urban space solutions will be added in the districts of Pirita, Lasnamae, Nomme and North Tallinn. The area around the Linnahall will undergo a major change: the city will redevelop it to link the Kalarand promenade and the cruise terminal area, so that pedestrians can walk along the entire seafront from Noblessner to Pirita beach uninterrupted.

"The Green Footprint project is definitely what the people of Tallinn are noticing most in their daily lives. The urban space will become green in the broadest sense of the word. Where possible, we can make our urban space significantly more pleasant with tactical urbanism, that is, with relatively small efforts. But we also pay great attention to greenery : in the year of the Green Capital, we will plant 1,000 trees, 150 of them have already been planted with the help of the young people about to attend the Song and Dance Festival. About 100 of them are special shade trees that we plant to reduce the heat island effect. In addition, we will create 14 flower meadows across the city, in three of which people can also sow seeds themselves -- we have sent 8,000 packs of seeds to residents' homes for this purpose," Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said.

A number of other activities and events are also planned for the year of the European Green Capital. For example, from the end of August to mid-September, the international Save Our Sea campaign will run in partnership with Let's Do It World.

"We are calling on the citizens of the cities on the Baltic Sea to raise awareness of the critical situation in the Baltic Sea and to clean up the Baltic coast. More than 40 cities have already expressed interest in joining the campaign, including Helsinki, Kiel and Riga," said Krista Kampus, head of Tallinn European Green Capital.

From Oct. 7 to Nov. 4, the Green Capital People's Assembly will take place, focusing on the integrity and coherence of urban greenery throughout the entire city. For the first time, through this kind of involvement process, the city invites its residents to discuss how to design a coherent green space in Tallinn that is attractive to residents and helps to adapt to climate change.

Tallinn is also keen to attract more innovation. To this end, the city has two projects. The first of them is Test in Tallinn, which invites companies to test their sustainable products and services in Tallinn and for which the city has already selected nine partners from three countries, and the second is the Green Technology Week and Expo in November.

Tallinn, the European Green Capital, will become the world's green technology capital on Nov. 13-17, hosting the most innovative ideas from Europe, Asia and the United States as part of the international technology fair NEXPO Tallinn. During the week, a total of four events and an exhibition of green technologies will take place in Tallinn.

Tallinn has selected three main themes for the year of the European Green Capital: biodiversity, climate change and innovation, and sustainable governance. The aim is also to involve the city's residents more in the activities of the city.