The City of Melbourne has won a City Climate Leadership award for its Urban Landscapes Climate Adaptation program.

The Adaptation and Resilience award was presented to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle at an event in New York this week hosted by Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

This is the second win for the City of Melbourne, with the Melbourne Sustainable Buildings Program last year taking home the Energy Efficient Built Environment award.

“The City of Melbourne implemented our Urban Landscape Adaptation Program in 2010 to protect our people, businesses, trees and other environmental assets after more than a decade of drought, low rainfalls and record-breaking extreme heat,” Mr Doyle said.

“We have spent $40 million above “business as usual” implementing scalable solutions to reduce our susceptibility to drought and cool our city by four degrees Celsius.”

The program includes increasing green space to 7.6 per cent of municipal space, doubling tree canopy, retrofitting streets to increase permeability and introducing water sensitive urban design.

“Our Urban Forest Strategy aims to double our tree canopy cover from 20 to 40 per cent to make the city cooler: in four years we’ve planted 12,000 new trees,” chair of the council’s environment portfolio Councillor Arron Wood said.

“We have created an additional 10,000 square metres of green space in the city since 2012, including converting 5000 sq m from asphalt to parkland.

“The City of Melbourne has also installed major water harvesting infrastructure at Fitzroy Gardens, Birrarung Marr, Queen Victoria Gardens and Darling Street, which provides 25 per cent of our annual landscape water requirements.”

Other winners included:

Energy Efficient Built Environment: New York – Greener, Greater Buildings Plan

Launched to back up New York’s environmental goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, these programs benefit building owners through energy savings, and improve both air quality and public health. By reducing an estimated five per cent of GHG emissions, this program can save the city US$7 billion in energy costs and create roughly 17,800 jobs over the next 10 years.

Finance and Economic Development: Amsterdam – Investment fund

With this innovative project the city demonstrates how environmental and climate protection initiatives can be effectively incorporated into a city’s economic development strategy. Amsterdam designed a powerful financing instrument of US$103 million to be invested in sustainable energy projects, some of them focusing on small businesses. The fund lowers energy bills for citizens and businesses and contributes to Amsterdam’s overall CO2 reduction targets.

Urban Transportation: Shenzhen – New energy vehicle promotion

As of December 2013, Shenzhen has introduced a new energy vehicle fleet of more than 6,000 units, making it the largest zero-emissions fleet in service worldwide. The project aims to add 35,000 new energy vehicles to the fleet in the next two years and to reach a zero emission ecosystem in the long term.

Sustainable Communities: Portland – Healthy Connected City Network

The city is developing “complete neighborhoods” to give all residents safe and convenient access to the goods and services needed in daily life. In 2012, 45 per cent of the Portland population lived in complete neighborhoods, a figure which the city aims to raise to 80 per cent by 2035. The city’s ambitious and successful initiative shows a unique and valuable pathway to sustainable, resilient, and low carbon communities.

Green Energy: Seoul – Make Seoul a city of sunlight

The city is building more photovoltaic facilities, targeting a reduction of greenhouse emissions as well as the city’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels, oil and nuclear and coal power plants. This project is part of the “One Less Nuclear Power Initiative”, designed to reduce the city’s energy demand by two million tons of oil equivalent, which is the same amount as the output of one nuclear plant. Seoul’s aim is to function as a huge solar power plant and create energy independent communities.

Intelligent City Infrastructure: Barcelona – Urban platform

This project introduces a new Information and Communication Technology architecture that provides a single platform, which interconnects the entire city. The platform enables the city to manage resources efficiently and reduce the impact of urban infrastructure on the environment. It will help the city save energy and reduce pollution thanks to sensors monitoring water levels for irrigation, garbage containers, parking, people flow, energy efficiency in city buildings, etc. The program is also geared towards citizen engagement and features a web platform called “GO” (Open Government), which publishes all data publicly.

Air Quality: London – New taxi for London

Transport accounts for 60 per cent of all air pollutant emissions in London. This project seeks to develop new zero emission-capable vehicles with manufacturers; it will use GPS-based geofencing to switch hybrid vehicles to its zero emission drive cycle and will provide a range of innovative financing solutions. The aim of the project is to reduce emissions from the city’s iconic black taxi fleet by up to 100 per cent in central London and around 75 per cent in the rest of the city.

Solid Waste Management: Buenos Aires – Solid urban waste reduction project

The city has committed to reducing waste sent to landfill by 83 per cent by 2017, achieving this through an ambitious waste treatment program based on waste separation at origin, recovery, recycling and valorisation.

Carbon Measurement & Planning: London – Assessment of greenhouse gas emissions

Between 2012 and 2013, the Greater London Authority took a holistic approach to measuring GHG emissions. It was the first city worldwide to report direct and indirect city-wide GHG emissions following internationally recognised GHG accounting and reporting principles.

Citizen’s Choice: Taipei – Clean Air: It’s Your Move

By rewarding low-pollution vehicles and encouraging cycling and transit use, Taipei reduced pollution emissions and improved air quality and public health.

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