Cities and local authorities - examples of collaboration

Nature-based solutions introduced by local authorities in Europe

© Panoramio

Knowledge of ecosystem services provided by nature and their linkage to human well-being has increased, but tools have been lacking for taking ecosystem services into account in practical measures. Together with designers and citizens, SYKE and its research partners have built a toolkit that provides tools for evaluating and utilising nature-based solutions.

The tools have already been used in applications such as urban planning and assessing the health benefits of nature in Barcelona, Spain; Oslo, Norway; Trnava, Slovakia; and Sipoo, Finland. SYKE's solid expertise in interacting between research and decision-making contributed to the success of the work.

In co-operation:

Partners of the OpenNESS project

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Forerunner municipalities cut climate emissions by almost a third

© Janne Ulvinen / YHA

Finnish municipalities in the pioneering Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku) network have been actively combatting climate change by achieving significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions, averaging 29% over the period 2007–2015. They have largely done this by shifting away from the use of fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources, while improving the energy efficiency of buildings and infrastructure.

The Hinku municipalities have widely utilised SYKE’s expertise to identify and model favourable practices and create new innovations. Their sustainable procurements, such as the joint acquisition of more than a hundred solar energy facilities, help to build markets for climate-friendly technologies.

In co-operation

Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku) network

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Warnings of flooding prevent damages

© Stig Hägglund

The waterway model system developed by SYKE, covering the whole of Finland, predicts real time water levels and flows of waterways as well as groundwater heights, based on hydrological observations and weather forecasts. The Flood Center operated jointly by SYKE and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, maintains a continuous system-based online review of the situation and warns about flooding of waterways.

The waterway model system has been of great benefit for example in Kittilä, northern Finland, on the Ounasjoki River, where floods occur regularly. Early warnings has benefited 

In co-operation

Finnish Meteorological Institute, The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), municipalities.

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The municipality of Ii wins award for pro-climate efforts


The municipality of Ii received the EU RegioStars award for its climate efforts. Ii has introduced cost-effective ways to increase renewable energy and improve energy and material efficiency within the region. For example, oil heating in properties has been replaced with renewable energy and electric cars have been acquired for use by the municipality. Companies, associations and local people have joined in the effort.

The HINKU network, coordinated by SYKE, offers services such as the joint procurement of solar panels, expert assistance, study trips and peer experience in climate work. “Hinku is a prime example of how the piloting of new climate-friendly solutions produces know-how throughout Finland,” says Professor Eva Heiskanen of the National Consumer Research Centre.

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Experiments provide new solutions for cities

© Kalevi Korhonen

Cities have improved their climate work with the support of sustainable pioneering municipalities, the FISU network. Joensuu invested in reducing the use of fossil fuels in energy production. In addition, the city is investing in bicycle paths and the network of bicycle and pedestrian routes.

In a housing experiment in Jyväskylä, the use of LED lights reduced the energy consumption related to lighting by 75%. In a food loss experiment, 4.3 kg of natural resources were saved per portion.

SYKE is planning on utilising the experiments on a wider scale.The municipalities in the FISU network are working towards carbon neutrality, zero waste and globally sustainable consumption by 2050. SYKE coordinates the FISU network together with Motiva.. 

In co-operation:

The City of Joensuu, The City of Jyväskylä, Motiva, SITRA, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Business Finland, The Ministry of the Environment, The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, The Ministry of Transport and Communications, The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 

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Enabling access to the benefits of urban nature

© Maija Faehnle

Natural areas sustain human health and wellbeing. With an urbanising trend, the natural habitats in and around cities have decreased. SYKE generates information and tools on the value of urban nature for decision makers. The city of Järvenpää and municipality of Sipoo have benefitted from these tools, and taken urban nature into account in their planning approaches together with the local citizens. The citizens thus had the chance to positively influence retaining urban nature as part of a functional urban form.

In co-operation:

The Ministry of the Environment, The Municipality of Sipoo, The city of Järvenpää

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Published 2018-01-16 at 12:49, updated 2018-09-04 at 14:00

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