Green Cities Conference Programme - #GreenCities15


Programme of the Green Cities Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 25-26 September 2015.

Download the programme booklet here

Venue: Helsinki Congress Paasitorni, Paasivuorenkatu 5A, FI-00530, Helsinki.

Interpretation provided into French for several plenary sessions


Friday, 25 September 2015


Registration opens

09:00 - 09:20

A Word of Welcome

Welcome to the Green Cities Conference, co-hosted by the European Green Party and Vihreät - De Gröna. 

Helsinki embodies Green urban living, and we hope that the city will act as a role model and inspire fruitful talks over the next two days.

Saraswati Matthieu, EGP Committee Member, Ghent Councillor, Belgium (video)

Ville Niinistö, Chairperson, Vihreät - De Gröna, MP, Finland (video)

09:20 - 09:50

Keynote speeches (biographies):

Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble, France (Live web-address)

Mehmet Kaplan, Minister of Housing, Urban Development and Information Technology, Sweden (video)

10:00 - 12:00  





Parallel plenary sessions

A Government for or by the Citizens? (Interpretation EN, FR)

How can citizens get involved in the governance of a Green city?

Moderator: Pierre Jonckheer, Co-President of the Green European Foundation

Speakers (biographies):

  • Jacques Boutault, Mayor of the 2nd district of Paris, France (presentation, video)
  • Maria Gardfjell, Deputy Mayor of Uppsala, Sweden (presentation, video)
  • Ricard Gomà, Former Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Spain (video)

Greens on the Move: Green visions for transport and mobility plans
How do Green cities implement sustainable modes of transport? Learn from Green mobility initiatives from across Europe’s urban landscapes.

Moderator: Saraswati Matthieu, EGP Committee Member, Ghent Councillor, Belgium

Speakers (biographies): 

  • Lot van Hooijdonk, Alderman for Mobility in Utrecht, Netherlands (presentation)
  • Otso Kivekäs, Helsinki Councillor and Leader of the Green Group in the Helsinki Council, Finland (presentation)
  • Jens Mandrup, Chairman of the Environmental and Traffic Committee of the Capital Region, Denmark (presentation)
  • Filip Watteeuw, Alderman for Mobility in Ghent, Belgium (presentation)
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:30  





Working Group sessions

Urban Industry: Towards a New Green Economy
Limited space and resources make industrial activity in our cities a challenge, but why not see this as an opportunity? Concepts like multi-use, sharing initiatives, co-creation, 3D printing or circular economy form the lexicon of a new way of looking at our economy. 

Moderator: Reinhard Bütikofer, EGP Co-chair, MEP

Speakers (biographies):

A Green Way of Dealing with Tourism
Tourism is vital for a city’s economic success, but how can it be dealt with sustainably?

Moderator: Mar Garcia, EGP Secretary General

Speakers (biographies):

  • Pierre Japhet, Deputy Mayor of the 11th district of Paris on Transport, France (presentation)
  • Nicole Ludwig, Spokesperson for the Economy, Budget and Tourism of the House of Representatives of Berlin, Germany (presentation)
  • Lluis Torrens, Director for Planning and Innovation, Barcelona City Council, Spain (presentation)

Combating Poverty
While generating wealth and driving Europe’s economy, cities often struggle to cope with social inequality. How do Greens combat poverty?

Moderator: Martin Fodor, City Councillor of Bristol, UK

Speakers (biographies):

  • Maria Hajdu, Councillor of the 12th district of Budapest, Hungary 
  • Emmanouil - Leonardos Makaris, Kalamata City Councillor, Greece
  • Maria Ohisalo, Vice-Spokesperson, Vihreät - De Gröna, Finland (presentation)

Women in Politics
Despite huge progress being made, challenges remain when it comes to the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

Moderator: Panu Laturi, EGP Committee member

Speakers (biographies):

  • Pavla Brady, Former Deputy Mayor of Opava, Czech Republic (presentation)
  • Marie Utter, Project Manager, Sweden
  • Dimitra Limperopoulou, Oikologoi Prasinoi Spokesperson and Peloponnese Councillor, Greece (presentation)

The Green Narrative
How do Greens differ from other political backgrounds, and how do we tell our story?

Moderator: Saraswati Matthieu, EGP Committee Member, Ghent Councillor, Belgium

Speakers (biographies):

  • Ciarán Cuffe, Dublin Councillor, Ireland (presentation)
  • Oliver Korschil, Austrian Green Party, Strategic Communication, Austria
  • Jorrit Nuijens, Amsterdam Councillor, Netherlands
14:30 - 14:45 Coffee - Break
14:45 - 15:05

Keynote speech

Jeb Brugmann, Founder of ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability (presentation, video)

15:15 - 17:15  





Parallel plenary sessions

We are Different but Equal! (Interpretation EN, FR)
How do Greens implement social inclusion when our cities are becoming ever more diverse?

Moderator: Pascal Durand, MEP, France

Speakers (biographies):

  • Esther Alder, Mayor of Geneva, Switzerland (video)
  • Lefteris Ioannidis, Mayor of the Municipality of Kozani in Nothern Greece of the West Macedonia Region, Greece (presentation, video)
  • Rebeka Szabó, Deputy Mayor of the 14th district of Budapest (Zugló), Hungary (presentation, video)

Climate Friendly Living (organised by Heinrich Boll Foundation)

How can cities contribute to the fight against climate change? Explore methods such as carbon divestment, climate neutrality, and renewable energy.

Moderator: Indrek Tarand, MEP, Estonia (presentation)

Speakers (biographies): 

  • Gerhard Joksch, Deputy Mayor of Münster, Germany (presentation)
  • Mari Holopainen, Helsinki Counsillor, Board Member of HELEN (Helsinki Energy Company),  Finland (presentation)
  • Jens Mandrup, Chairman of the Environmental and Traffic Committee in the Capital Region, Denmark (presentation)
17:15 - 17:30 Coffee-break
17:30 - 19:00   Working Group sessions

The Future of Public Services: Public Goods vs. Privatisation 

The growing trend of privatising basic public services (like water supply, transport, social and health services) threatens their quality and accessibility. How to turn this trend around in times of economic crisis and limited city resources?

Moderator: Monika Vana, MEP, Austria

Speakers (biographies): 

  • Uroš Brežan, Mayor of Tolmin, Slovenia (presentation)
  • Ricard Gomà, Former Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Spain

Creating Green Jobs: Who, How, How many?
Staggering unemployment is crippling our cities, but Greening our economies could create millions of jobs. Green jobs should be on top of our agenda. 

Moderator: Davor Škrlec, MEP, Croatia

Speakers (biographies):  

  • Dirk Holemans, Ghent Councillor, Belgium
  • Cyril Kretzschmar, Rhône-Alpes region councillor, France (presentation)
  • Harriët Tiemens, Alderman for Finance, Sustainability and Mobility, Nijmegen, Netherlands (presentation)

Housing, a Right.
How can worn-down cities be re-invented through social innovation?

Moderator: Karima Delli, MEP, France

Speakers (biographies):

  • Jana Drápalová, Mayor of Brno-Novy Liskovec, Czech Republic (presentation, video)
  • Mehmet Kaplan, Minister of Housing, Urban Development and Information Technology, Sweden (presentation, video)
  • Efi Xanthou, Former Councillor of Aglantzia, Cyprus (presentation, video)

Changing Politics: The City as a Laboratory
Greens believe politics can be different. As social and political landscapes are ever changing, the challenge is to keep adapting our political recipes. New social movements, new ways of citizens participation and other interesting challenges make our cities the ideal political level for experiments and renewal.

Moderator: Martin Fodor, City Councillor of Bristol, UK

Speakers (biographies):

  • Pablo Aldama, Colmenar Viejo Councillor, Spain (presentation)
  • Olivier Deleuze, Mayor of Watermael-Boitsfort, Belgium (presentation)
  • Rui Lopo, Barreiro Councillor, Portugal (presentation)

Being Green in Minority or Majority Governments.
Greens across Europe are involved in both minority and majority governments. What are the different political styles that can be adopted, and what can one learn from the other?

Moderator: Susanne Rieger, Co-President of the Green European Foundation

Speakers (biographies):

  • Sergi Alegre, Vice Mayor El Prat de Llobregat, Spain
  • Evelyne Huytebroeck, Member of the Brussels Parliament, Ecolo Belgium
  • Jason KitcatInterim Digital Lead at The Democratic Society, and former Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, United Kingdom (presentation)
21:00 Cocktail and Party

Saturday, 26 September 2015

09:00 - 09:20

Keynote speech

Boris Palmer, Mayor of Tübingen, Germany (presentation, video)
09:30 - 11:25  





Parallel plenary sessions
Green Cities: Three Visions (Interpretation EN, FR)

Cities are home to 75% of European citizens. How can they be further transformed into Green and citizen-friendly places?

Moderator: Karima Delli, MEP, France

Speakers (biographies):

  • Evelyne Huytebroeck, Brussels MP, Belgium (presentation, video)
  • Boris Palmer, Mayor of Tübingen, Germany
  • Anni Sinnemäki, Vice Mayor of Helsinki, Finland (video)

Smart Citizens - Smart Cities

How can cities be transformed through the use of technology and innovation? 

Moderator: Helga Trüpel, MEP, Germany

Speakers (biographies): 

  • Jan Bojer Vindheim, Chair of the Committee on Urban Development, Trondheim, Norway (presentation)
  • Notker SchweikhardtSpokesperson on Culture and the Innovative Economy of the House of Representatives of Berlin, Germany
  • Karolina Skog, Deputy Mayor, Malmö Sweden (presentation)
11:30 - 11:40

Presentation of the joint Climate Campaign 2015 of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and European Green Party 

Johannes Hillje: EGP Campaign Manager (presentation, video)

11:40 - 12:00

Concluding remarks

Lot van Hooijdonk, Alderman for Mobility, Utrecht, Netherlands

Saraswati Matthieu, EGP Committee Member

12:00 - 12:30 Lunch
12:30 - 16:00

Excursions and best practices show cases (more information)

12:30 - 16:00
Helsinki by Bike - A Guided Critical Tour
A guided bike tour that demonstrates how Helsinki has developed its cycling potential. The tour lasts around 1.5 hours, after which the group will gather for a workshop to discuss their views of the tour. Otso Kivekäs, Helsinki Councillor and cycling activist, will lead the tour and workshop. 
12:30 - 16:00
Urban Gardening and a visit to Kääntöpöytä / Turntable gardens (presentation)

One fifth of all food on the planet is grown in cities, and so, urban gardening matters!

Learn how to grow more than just flowers in an urban environment, and find out why a new wave of urban gardening is changing communities.

A short discussion will be followed by an excursion to the NGO: “Dodo's Urban Gardening Centre” and to “Cafe Kääntöpöytä / Turntable” in Pasila. An urban gardening enthusiast from “Dodo” will lead the discussion and excursion.
12:30 - 16:00

Planning the City with Inhabitants (presentation)

Why and how are city planning initiatives more successful when co-operating with a city’s inhabitants?

The workshop will share best practice examples of co-operative planning from Helsinki and elsewhere, followed by an excursion to the Helsinki’s “City Planning Department”.

Antti Möller, Deputy Councillor of Helsinki, and a member of Helsinki’s “Public Works Committee” and a democracy activist, will guide the workshop and excursion. 

12:30 - 16:00

Smart City Pilots
Smart cities use digital technology to enhance the quality of urban services, reduce costs and engage with citizens. Professionals from “Forum Virium Helsinki” will guide a walking tour to Kalasatama, a new residential area that has been built with smart solutions in mind.

12:30 - 16:00

An Energy Excursion to the City of Espoo (CANCELLED)
A bus trip will lead you to the Otaniemi Campus of the Aalto University in Espoo. Located just west of Helsinki, the trip will include a presentation of the ground-breaking innovation planned for use here: a city scale geothermal heating system. Antero Vartia MP, Johanna Karimäki and Jyrki Kasvi (Councillors and MPs) will guide the trip.

12:30 - 16:00

Helsinki Public Transport - How it Works (presentation)

A tour through the city of Helsinki, on foot and using metros, trams and buses. A discussion will also be held on developing public transport networks that discourage the use of cars.

Ville Ylikahri, Board Member of “Helsinki Region Transport” will guide the excursion.

12:30 - 16:00

Keeping Cities Green - Urban Wilderness in Kivinokka

Plans to build new apartments for 6.000 residents in Kivinokka have been in discussion for years. The Helsinki Greens support Helsinki's objective to build 5.500 new apartments per year, but also see many opportunities to save valuable green areas. After a 2014 vote in the city council, it was decided that Kivinokka should be kept as an area for leisure, with a protected zone of diverse forest. Nonetheless, discussion on whether Kivinokka should still be developped has not quieted down.

Is there space for green areas in growing city? Let’s discuss this at an excursion to Kivinokka, guided by Outi Silfverbeg, a Green member of Helsinki’s “City Planning Committee”.

12:30 - 16:00

In-fill development and Converting Motorways into City Boulevards (presentation)

A short presentation will be followed by a walking tour to a nearby site that is to be converted from a 1970’s motorway into a human-friendly urban environment. Mikko Särelä, a city planning activist, and Laura Nordström, the Officer for International Affairs at Vihreät - De Gröna will lead the presentation and tour. 

16:00 END
Related downloads 
PDF icon Booklet_gc_spreeds - final web.pdf4.2 MB

Our partners

Wiertzstraat 31 — B 1050 Brussels    Phone: +32 (0)2 626 07 20
Contact Us