21 November 2014 - 9:30am • Ecologic Institute

While policies have improved overall air quality, air pollution remains the main environmental health hazard causing high health care systems costs, unhealthy workers and an estimated 400,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2011. A recent air quality report shows that almost all city dwellers are exposed to pollutants at levels deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization (WHO). For some pollutants, over 95 % of the urban population is exposed to unsafe levels.

Alongside the report, the EEA published pollution level data for almost 400 European cities. Although many large cities have relatively low levels of pollution, others have pollution levels above EU limits for a significant part of the year.

An increasing body of scientific research indicates that air pollutants may be more harmful than previously thought. In addition to the well known effect of air pollution on respiratory illnesses and heart disease, new studies have shown that it can also affect health in other ways, from foetal development to illnesses late in life. Beyond health, it has detrimental effects on ecosystems and plant life as well. To read more, please click here.


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3 November 2014 - 10:15am • Ecologic Institute

The deadline for the European Green Capital Award 2017 has arrived. This year, two of POCACITO’s case cities have submitted an application for this prestigious award, Istanbul and Portugal. By submitting an application for this award, Portugal and Istanbul are demonstrating that they have made progress towards becoming European Green Capitals.

Every year, an EU Member State is selected to receive the European Green Capital Award. This award is a high honor for Member States which recognizes the ambitious goals of cities to implement “green visions” to combat future climate change. The purpose of this award is to showcase how cities are going above and beyond in regards to transforming their economies and social structures in a way that brings them closer to becoming post-carbon societies. Not only does it showcase environmental innovation on the city level but cities which are chosen as European Green Capitals serve as models for other cities which are working to become greener themselves. Even winning cities can look to finalists for new ideas, which has been the aim of this award in the past and for the years to come.

The winning city will not be awarded until June 2015 after being evaluated by a panel of experts in 12 different categories such as local transport, eco-innovation, ambient air quality and water management. A full list of the categories can be found here.

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29 October 2014 - 11:45am • Ecologic Institute

Max Grünig, coordinator of the FP7 POCACITO project, recently publishes an article in conjunction with Urban Europe that focused on the finding that tailoring different action plans based on the specific environmental needs within urban cities can produce more successful, attractive and economically viable areas.

The article speaks about the growing importance of bottom-up approaches versus the typical top-down policy approach which does not focus on the differentiated needs among Member States. Every city is unique in culture, background and policies but it is within these differences that great potential for fostering local knowledge and will to catalyze positive change for the future can be found. JPI- Urban Europe encourages the cooperation of Member States for research and innovation. It is one of many effective resources for Member States to coordinate research on urban sustainable development. This joint program initiative welcomes all member states to join the current 14 members to work together to tackle urban challenges in the face of climate change.


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