Climate Change, Pandemics, Rapid Urbanisation Forcing Changes in Urban Management Principles
“With rapid urbanisation and climate change, cities around the world are discussing the quality of life, better, healthier, safer well-being, and the adaptation of public spaces to the needs of their citizens. I am pleased that Vilnius has the experience, not just knowledge or vision, that we can share. We have introduced the project participants to examples of the humanisation of the city in Naujamiestis residential area, Konstitucijos Avenue and other streets, renovated public spaces and urban greening solutions, and innovations in urban management,” says Dr Dalia Bardauskienė, the leader of the MICROBE project “Mitigating the Impact of the Coronavirus in Built Environment”.
According to the project manager, Vilnius has demonstrated that by humanising the street, it can become a public space where not only movement takes place, but also active socio-economic life. Cafés, shops and aesthetic amenities are established on the ground floors of buildings along the street, making it a public space. There are more opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. Newly built or renovated pedestrian and cycle paths serve this purpose. As the first results have shown, the number of crashes on humanised streets has been reduced threefold. Real estate investment has accelerated alongside humanised streets. People are likely to spend more time outdoors in the future, move more and lead a more active social life. The new code of street management is based on this practice.
Vilnius is the fifth greenest city in Europe, with 42% of its territory made up of forests and plantations and nature conservation areas. However, as the climate changes, and with a view to a quality life for citizens, active outdoor leisure and future generations, the municipality is focusing on greening the city to an even greater extent and with higher quality. The Green Vilnius Wave initiative involves communities, businesses and public organisations in greening the city. They are invited to responsibly plant greenery in their environment, take part in clean-ups and donate trees.
Green urban innovations are used in Vilnius: 100 green islands – recreation squares in the courtyards of apartment blocks and eleven pilot green public transport stops have been installed. To reduce the impact of the heat, last year the capital introduced sustainable mowing across the city – mowing some street dividers and roadsides later, allowing plants to mature their seeds and thus increase biodiversity, and maintaining shorter lawns in residential areas.
Greening projects are widely discussed with the public, including online. Information is posted on the municipality’s website when planting permits are issued. An Environmental Greenness Index is applied to construction projects, and projects are reviewed for proper integration with green spaces. A beautifully landscaped environment creates a positive image of the city, positive emotions and pride in the place where you live.
The partners’ meeting on 5 March 2023 again discussed these results. The participants of the meeting expressed a general hope that the main partner of the project, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, will be able to complement the training modules in Vilnius and other cities with practical examples developed in the MICROBE project “Mitigating the Impact of the Coronavirus in Built Environment”.
Project‘s coordinator – Vilnius Tech University, Lithuania.
Vilniaus city municipality, Lithuania
Institute for Training of Personnel in International Organizations, Bulgaria
Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
University of Granada, Spain
Foundation for Urban Innovation, Italy
Municipality of Bologna, Italy