© Pierre Jayet / Isère Attractivité

Why is Grenoble a green capital ?

Out of 18 European cities, it was Grenoble that was finally chosen to incarnate the European urban project in 2022. Grenoble was awarded the prize on Thursday, 8 October 2020, beating Turin, Tallinn and Dijon, the other finalists, thanks to the cross-cutting and pioneering nature of its actions in favour of the ecological transition. It is the second French city to win the award after Nantes in 2013, and succeeds Lahti in Finland, the winner in 2021.

Grenoble, gateway to the Alps : gateway to the future

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© Sylvain Frappat / Grenoble City Council
Grenoble is a dense city of more than 160,000 inhabitants, at the heart of a conurbation of more than 450,000 inhabitants, in the vast department of Isère and in the second largest region of France. Dynamic, mountain-loving and sporty, with a rich and diverse heritage, Grenoble is surrounded by three Alpine ranges and sits at a number of crossroads, in every sense of the term.

Faced with the challenges of climate change, pressure on property prices, mobility and the quality of the air, water and life in general, Grenoble continues to act as a pioneer, in keeping with its tradition of innovation and openness. From very early on, the city redoubled its efforts, raising its ambitions with regard to quality of life and respect for the environment.

Grenoble, sentinel to the Alps : always one step ahead

Bastille - GrenobleEnlarge the picture
Bastille - Grenoble : © Thierry Chenu / Grenoble City Council
Grenoble’s candidature for the title of Green Capital stood out for its long-standing coherent and ambitious ecological transition policy, backed up by tangible results, concrete figures and ambitious objectives.

The quality of mobility, energy efficiency and sustainable use of the territory have yielded an impressive set of results :

  • Grenoble has had a local climate plan in place since 2005, the first one in France. 2005 and 2018, fine particle levels in the air fell by almost 30%.
  • Tramway, bus and soon cable transport: the Grenoble metropole has managed to equip itself with a high-quality and constantly expanding public transport network.
  • After applying the 30kph speed limit throughout the city, the Grenoble metropole became France’s largest low emission zone (ZFE).
  • Grenoble is now France’s top city for bicycle commuting. The Grenoble metropole constantly develop the cycling network to encourage the use of bicycle : to date ,475 km of safe cycle lanes (with 25 km of cycling highways) has been fitted out.
  • School canteens source at least half their produce locally or from organic farms, some of which comes from Grenoble’s urban farm.
  • Despite being France’s second most densely populated city, Grenoble has planted more than 5500 trees since 2014. The goal is now to plant 10 000 trees before 2030.
  • The metropolitan heat network, the second largest in France after Paris, uses 80% renewable energy and energy recovery with the ambition to use 100% by 2030.
  • More than 200,000 inhabitants, i.e. half of the population, already recycle their food waste, or do so at home to make compost. Objective: 100% of inhabitants by 2022!
  • Aquapole, the city’s water treatment plant produces enough biogas (from sewage sludge) to power more than 125 urban buses with BioGNV each day in the conurbation.
  • Since 2008, Grenoble city council has ceased using any chemical products on its landscaped areas, and in public areas since 2019.
  • In 2022, Grenoble will produce the equivalent of its inhabitants’ consumption in renewable, zero-carbon, zero-nuclear energy.
  • School canteens in the city of Grenoble source at least 60% their produce locally or from organic farms (95% for nurseries). Each year Grenoble horticultural center produces 3.5 metric tons of vegetables for the Departments various kitchens.
  • A local agrifood trademark, ishere, has been launched by the Department of Isere, guaranteeing fair payment for local producers, local sourcing and environmentally friendly methods of production.
  • The vision of an urban space as a living space, agreeable for pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly, is taking shape. It can been seen in certain exemplary neighbourhoods, such as the Caserne de Bonne shopping centre, a pioneer in France, and in projects carried out in various existing public spaces.

A project for sharing

Family by bicycle
Family by bicycle : © Sylvain Frappat / Grenoble City Council
“Grenoble European Green Capital” is a unifying project led by a number of partners: the City Council, the Metropole, and the Department, all intent on meeting this challenge together. This prize offers Grenoble the chance to make an impact at the European level. Above all, it represents a unique opportunity for Grenoble to raise its ambitions higher still in terms of transition for a liveable, sustainable future.

Not to mention the fact that Grenoble’s year as European Green Capital will coincide with the French presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This offers further scope to reinforce the impact of this prize and the reputation of Grenoble and its partners on the European stage, under the Green Grenoble banner. This new label is bringing together players from the political, economic and social spheres, working together to come up with an ambitious programme.