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The Danish municipalities should do more to create sustainable cities

September 2nd, 2019

The past few years sustainability has become a tremendously popular word but what is the average citizen doing in order to help creating a more sustainable city? And is it the citizens’ or the politicians’ responsibility? Userneeds has examined these along with other questions among 4700 panel members in a big survey done on behalf of Rambøll.

The survey data has been collected among citizens in Denmark’s ten biggest cities as well as three clusters which gather municipalities in Southern Jutland, the Central Jutland Region and Sealand. Only Danes above the age of 18 have participated in the survey and they were among other things asked about:

  • What meaning variuos sustainability initiatives have and to what degree the city lives up to them.
  • The citizens’ will to pay more for sustainable solutions.
  • The citizens’ will to change their behavior.

The survey is the first of its kind to look at all three dimensions of sustainability, that is the environmental, the social and the economical and hereafter analyse the results across cities in Denmark. In the following you can read about some of the findings.

Whether a city is sustainable or not depends to a high degree on its energy efficiency – at least if you ask the citizens of Denmark’s biggest cities. 74 percent thus answer that public buildings that use green energy and are energy efficient is an important factor in whether the city is to be seen as sustainable or not. It is, however, only 17 percent that believe the municipalities actually live up to the desire of more green energy.

Moreover, the Danes want public buildings to have a good indoor climate. As a matter of fact, 65 percent of the respondents say a good indoor climate is significant just like the environment should have been top of mind when the building materials were chosen. Unfortunately, only one in five believes the municipalities are doing a proper job in this regard.

Access to clean water and air is important for the Danish population, yet only 22 percent think the municipalities and the state live up to their expectations concerning the latter. In addition, the majority of the Danes in the biggest cities support a ban against diesel cars in the city centres within the next 3-5 years, just like there are more who say yes than no to having less lanes for cars and more lanes for bikes and busses.

Waste sorting is another aspect of sustainability and in this regard the Danes are actually quite satisfied with their opportunities to sort waste in their own homes, however, 73 percent believe waste sorting also should be possible to do at work while only 32 percent believe that is the case.

You can read more about the survey and the methodology (in Danish) here