FIVE NEW SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES IN VALENCIA
The historic city of Valencia has been awarded the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2024 in recognition of its efforts to improve its sustainability, quality of life and environment.
From reducing carbon emissions by promoting sustainable transport to protecting local wildlife such as that of Albufera (one of the most important wetlands in Europe), here are five sustainable initiatives currently being implemented in Valencia, with the goal of ensuring the city’s green status beyond 2024 and of reaching its goal of climate neutrality by 2030.
1. Artificial intelligence:
Valencia has been chosen as one of three large European supernodes for the Citcom.ai project, funded by the European Union, to install an artificial intelligence experimentation and testing centre in the city. The aim is to apply artificial intelligence to face urban issues, such as mobility, sustainable transport, and energy efficiency.
2. Smart recycling
The city will soon have smart brown containers for the selective collection of organic waste. They will have an electronic closing system that requires the use of a card or app to open them, aiming to reduce the percentage of improper waste that is deposited.
3. Wave power
The first installation of wave power in Valencia is already under construction in the city’s Marina. Current figures estimate that it will generate about 130,000 kilowatts a year from wave movements, which is equivalent to reducing the annual production of CO2 in the city by 16 tons.
4. Pedestrianised public spaces
Fewer cars and increased numbers of people opting to walk has a positive environmental impact within cities. To ensure that locals and visitors alike feel safe and confident to walk in the city, so far 150,000 m2 of land has been recovered for pedestrian use due to the pedestrianisation of Plaza de la Reina, Plaza del Ayuntamiento and Plaza de Brujas. As part of the ‘Valencia, City of Plazas’ scheme, the city aims to recover 207,000 m2 of public space, with roads having been reduced to lanes with speed limits and the expansion and revegetation of pedestrian spaces.
Since the creation of the Jardín del Turia in 1986, when the Turia riverbed was diverted and a new public garden built, Valencia has continued to expand its green spaces and renaturalise its urban areas. In 2022, 1,687 new trees were planted. Moreover, the city has a remarkable 600 hectares of parks and gardens, resulting in an estimated 90% of the population having access to a green space within 250m.
Meanwhile, Valencia is home to the Albufera Natural Park, one of the most important wetlands in Europe, and the measures taken by the city to protect this environment have also led to Valencia being designated the first Wetland City in Spain in 2022.
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