Admirable congratulations go out to the record number of winning cities recognised at the CIVITAS FORUM 2016 Awards Ceremony, held in Gdynia, Poland. This year’s hosting city was indeed a very befitting one the country that has earned the most CIVITAS Awards this year. The ceremony unveiled the most outstanding solutions, technologies and innovations in sustainable urban development under four different categories: Technical Innovation, Public Participation, CIVITAS City of the Year, and last but not least CIVITAS Transformations, a new category created this year to highlight exceptional city transformation in sustainable urban development.
Gdańsk sets the stage: winner of the European Cycling Challenge
Before announcing the four winners, this year’s ceremony highlighted the latest win for Gdansk, another notable achievement belonging to the Gdynia-Sopot-Gdansk tri-city region after Gdynia hosted the CIVITAS Forum 2016. This was the second time in a row that Gdansk won the European Cycling Challenge, having successfully applied an entertaining gamification approach to cycling to work or school, thanks to a free dedicated smartphone application.
Rzeszów, another Polish success story in Technical Innovation
After setting the stage with the Gdansk win, the ceremony unveiled in the first main category of Technical Innovation yet another Polish winner, the city of Rzeszów, considered the largest city in south-eastern Poland. Rzeszów successfully launched two new prototype heated bus shelters for its citizens, complete with energy saving technology and a modern design, impressing judges with the idea of going beyond vehicle technology to address the waiting area for citizens as well. More such shelters are now planned for the city and beyond!
Bravo to Bologna together with the ECC’s Cities, leaders in Public Participation
In the second category of Public Participation, the winning streak went south to Bologna, Italy, to award the city for its novel use of online applications in order to assess user needs. This innovative solution involved as many as 46,000 cyclists in May 2016. It also completely did away with lengthy interview processes to track public feedback and metrics, thanks to developing and spreading the gamification biking app mentioned above in the Gdansk case. Each of the 52 cities from 17 different countries found a way to benefit from the large amount of data collected.
Magnificent Malaga, CIVITAS City of the Year
Having conducted an intensive analysis of sustainable transport requirements and user needs, Malaga has proudly implemented brave public transport measures throughout the year to improve the public bicycle system, electric car infrastructure, city centre access, logistics, metro, regulated parking, safer routes to schools and much more. An active member of CIVITAS 2MOVE2 among other enterprising transport projects and organiser of CIVITAS summer courses, the city recently committed itself to implementing UN Climate Change Summit recommendations, reduce emissions and monitor air quality. Its dedication, innovations and successes have very deservingly earned it the title of CIVITAS City of the Year.
CIVITAS Transformations, a first time Award that goes out to Krakow
Attractive new pedestrian streets, fabulous new biking lanes, great new public transport routes, and an overall transformation around the city’s UNESCO-designated old town: these are just some of the impressive changes characterising the CIVITAS Transformations award, launched this year for the first time, and proudly received by Poland’s historic second-largest city, Krakow. With one of the longest car-free street networks in the world and large scale reallocation of road space, along with significant improvements in limiting greenhouse emissions, Krakow has shined this year above the other contestants in this category.
This year’s multiple awards are a happy reminder of how European cities are marching forward in implementing sustainable urban transport. They also highlight Poland’s incredible and valiant progress in the field. The CIVITAS initiative is particularly proud to be involved in these achievements.