It’s hard to believe that two decades ago, Malmö was a deserted, concrete jungle. Located in the Southern province of Skane, Sweden’s third largest city is now one of the greenest cities on the planet.
Named as Sweden’s first certified Fairtrade City, Malmö is dedicated to sustainable urban development. In the words of Ilmar Reepalu, the Chair of the City Executive Board; “In Malmö there is a feeling that anything is possible.” Ditching the car is just one of the small ways in which Malmö is making a huge difference. After findings revealed that half of all car journeys in the city are shorter than five kilometres, a campaign was launched, aptly titled “Ridiculous Car Journeys”. Aimed at making the city’s inhabitants aware of the pollution caused by car journeys, the cycle campaign involved gifting bikes to people who drive short distances. Now, every fourth journey in Malmö is made by bicycle and the city has 400km of cycle paths.
Malmö’s quest for sustainable living is not just about short-term change; this city is in it for the long haul. With hefty budgets allocated to sustainability, it is dedicated to booming a Clean Tech City, meaning it promotes and invests in environmental technology companies. Across the city, every home is tailored for low energy consumption. The Western Harbour, a once heavily polluted industrial area, is powered entirely by 100% locally-produced renewable energy. Offices and houses in the area receive energy from solar, wind and a heat pump, all kitchens are installed with waste grinders and ‘green’ roofs and walls (literally planted with vegetation) are promoted.
Most inspiring is Malmö’s ambition and positivity. In the words of Reepalu, “Today, Malmö is not an old retired industrial town, but resembles more a teenager with the future ahead.”