Cities are a driver of economic and social development, as well as a space for opportunities for more efficient and sustainable ways of living. In the future, only sustainable and smart cities will be competitive, providing a healthy living environment, efficient forms of living and concentrating activities and services that recognize and respond to the new needs of society.
Sustainable urban development that supports the green economy means a quality and healthy work and living environment that is well integrated into traffic flows and has efficient and high access to services adapted to the needs of modern life. Due to the concentration of people and activities (90% of all employees in Slovenia), cities are also an opportunity to develop the most sustainable forms of living. Of course, they must develop comprehensive and smart solutions and integrate the contents of economic, social and cultural development. With good governance focused on sustainable forms of planning and green smart solutions, they can be both a great opportunity for new investment as a location for businesses, the development of competitive advantages and at the same time a high quality of living.
Slovenia is characterized by a large number of small settlements (almost 6,000), with as many as 90% of all settlements having less than 500 inhabitants and only 7 towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants, which together represent about a quarter of the total population. Cities and urban settlements represent employment centers, as most jobs are located in urban settlements, where 94% of the total employed population works and where 70% of the population of Slovenia with higher or higher education lives. Urban areas are growing faster and therefore also experiencing greater pressures on space. From the first censuses on Slovenian soil until today, the number of inhabitants has increased by 27%, and the population living in cities and urban settlements by as much as 60%. By 2020, more than 70% of the population in Slovenia will live in cities.
One of the more pressing problems in Slovenian urban areas is air quality, as all urban centers in Slovenia, except Primorska, have problems with excessive air pollution. Transport and buildings make the largest contribution to the high carbon footprint (approximately 40% each), so in addition to sustainable mobility measures, it is very important to enforce the principles of sustainable construction. The use of innovative approaches and technologies in the development of new products and services is also crucial for reducing the burden on the environment and increasing green jobs and business opportunities in Slovenian cities.
In the 2014-2020 financial perspective, Slovenia has earmarked 117 million euros for sustainable urban development, focusing on comprehensive urban renewal measures that should help raise the quality of the living environment in urban municipalities, offer opportunities for new investments and thus contribute to urban competitiveness.
- Establishment of financial instruments to promote urban development (Urban Development Fund)
- Renovation of the Spatial Development Strategy (SPRS)
- Preparation and implementation of sustainable urban strategies (in 11 municipalities)