Lund - Global Winner of the 2022 One Planet City Challenge

Posted on February, 07 2023

A City With A Vision
The small Swedish city of Lund is one of the world’s most climate ambitious cities. In 2022, an international jury named Lund the global winner of the One Planet City Challenge — along with Colombia's capital Bogotà.The expert jury was especially appreciative of how the city's climate goals are based on clear and step-by-step objectives, with milestones every five years to achieve rapid emission reductions in the near term. 

Lund also takes home the title of 2022’s Climate City of the Year in Sweden, in competition with the finalists Helsingborg and Stockholm.
Lund is a shining example of what altering infrastructure and urban planning can do to improve both social- and ecological sustainability. According to Linda Birkedal —an environmental strategist at Lund municipality — sustainable behavior, on part of the residents, will grow due to an offering of an attractive network of buses, bike paths, parks, urban greenery and street lighting,. An attractive city encourages more biking and walking, and more biking and walking makes the city more attractive… and this becomes a positive loop,” says Linda.
This strategic plan, named LundaMaTs — short for Lund Environmentally Friendly Transport System — focuses on just that: environmentally friendly transport. LundaMaTs was formally adopted by the municipality in 1999 and has stayed its course — the purpose and goal being much the same across party lines.

Bottom Up From An Active Community

The change, however, has not only come from the top; the city also knows to tap into Lund's academic presence, where an independent scientific climate policy council, with representatives from the universities, review the transition and make recommendations.
Lunds engaged and demanding citizens are another bottom-up driver for sustainable mobility, backing up the municipalitys efforts. They never settle, and always ask for more, as in more and better bike lanes, more bus routes — the list goes on. Active NGOs, such as Lund Society for Nature Conservation, contribute not only by producing inventories of bike paths and maps, but also by challenging peoples mindsets and offering workshops on such things as how to pack for family bike vacations. In Lund you can also find so-called bike-kitchens,” which provide residents with the space and tools to repair their bikes, creating the right biking buzz.

Gliding Into A Fossil-free Future

That buzz has in fact created a national record: this is the community with most bikes per capita in Sweden. Today, almost 75% of Lunds residents travel by foot, bike, or public transport. A city that can convince its inhabitants to travel in an environmentally friendly way is on the fast track to lowering carbon emissions — not to mention the positive impacts on public health.
On December 12, 2020, Lund became the fourth city in Sweden to boast a tram system. The bright green Lundaexpressen (Lund Express) runs through the city, connecting the Central Station with the future research center, European Spallation Source (ESS). The tramway is one of many concrete steps the city is taking toward reaching its goal of being carbon neutral and fossil-fuel free by 2030, and Net Zero by 2045.
Next stop? A wholly electric bus fleet and more bike paths.

Lund’s Other Climate Efforts

  1. Investing in methods to create negative emissions within its own borders, such as carbon storage in forests, land and wetlands.
  2. Collaborating with the municipal housing department and the energy companies to make older housing districts more sustainable — without causing significant rent increases.
  3. At a brand new residential area, the municipality is developing the world's largest low-temperature district heating network to be able to use residual heat from research facilities.
  4. Menu changes in schools that reduce climate impact through, among other things, an increased proportion of vegetarian food and reduced food waste.
  5. As part of adapting the city to the climate, Lund has worked with "flooding areas" — park areas that can flood if it rains heavily. The city is also strategic in placement of new construction and greenery, such as trees, in order to reduce the risk of high wind speeds.
  6. Plans on making all public transportation electric.

 Main Sources:
© Olesya Kuznetsova/Shutterstock
Lund's 2022 One Planet City Challenge award
© WWF / Yoshino Funaki