Zagreb (Croatia)


Situated 120 kilometres air distance from the Adriatic shore, Zagreb is the “door to the Adriatic” for the majority of Central European countries. The city’s character features a mixture of Central European and Mediterranean aspects. Its population loves to spend time outdoors and enjoys locally grown food; it is a city of rich natural and cultural heritage, and is a socially responsible city.

Zagreb has a population of almost 800 000 and is administratively subdivided into 17 city districts. It is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies, and almost all government ministries. The challenges that Zagreb faces in its urban and policy planning include traffic, waste management and green and smart solutions. Traffic situation in Zagreb is diverse, in operation are trains, buses, trams and one of the shortest funiculars in the world. Cycling is gaining importance there, increasing in Modal split; several pedestrian zones in the city centre are recently opened.

Sustainability focus: Nature based solutions

Zagreb is deeply involved in implementing nature-based solutions, or solutions which “leverage nature and the power of healthy ecosystems to protect people, optimise infrastructure and safeguard a stable and biodiverse future” (IUCN).

The city is involved, for example, in an EU-funded project called proGIreg, in which ICLEI Europe is also a partner. The project is designed to research the impact of productive green infrastructure as a tool for urban renewal of former industrial or brownfield areas. proGIreg is being implemented by an international consortium which includes, in addition to numerous scientific institutions, the cities of Zagreb, Dortmund, Turin and Ningbo, who implement green solutions to be replicated in the so-called ‘follower cities’.

Zagreb is seizing the proGIreg project to implement nature-based solutions on the site of a former meat processing industry located in the Sesvete neighbourhood. Interventions are going so well that the site is showing promising signs of becoming the new center of Sesvete! Some of these interventions include installing a new ‘therapeutic garden’, and rolling-out a modular mini-farm.

Engaging in a co-design process is extremely important to Zagreb. The city has applied a bottom-up approach to its work in Sesvete that ensures the involvement of nature-based solutions users and local community groups in the design of project activities. This also means engaging the City of Zagreb, the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb, the Institute for Physical Planning of the City of Zagreb, and a local non-profit called Green and Blue Sesvete – who play a crucial role in involving the local community – in the proGIreg project.

The need to knows

  • Zagreb has 471 km of bike lanes, 2 794 open air bicycle parking spaces on 209 locations, and 62 bicycle parking spaces in 4 public garages
  • 75,1% of overall city surface are green areas, 35% of those are forests
  • The ZagEE project (EU funded energy renovation of public buildings and public lighting systems) was carried out from 2013 to 2017
  • The city has adopted the City of Zagreb Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) in 2019
  • There are 65 charging stations for electric cars in Zagreb
  • City Gardens project- 14 urban allotment gardens with 1,886 plots used by citizens


  • Member of the Covenant of Mayors, Metropolis Network & Energy Cities
  • Member of Mayors for Peace since 2009
  • Member of International Association of Peace Messenger Cities (IAPMC)
  • Member of CIVINET network
  • Full member of Eurocities
  • Member of the League of Historical Cities since 1994
  • Member of ACR+ (Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management)
  • Signatory to the Green Digital Charter, Aalborg Charter & Basque Declaration
  • European Mobility Award 2012 Winner
  • Chosen to participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030



What the city has to say

“Zagreb is a historical city, yet a city that wishes to embrace the future ready for the challenges we have already started experiencing. We are proud to be in charge of this journey and believe that we can make lasting changes for the better. Sustainability and nature based solutions have been in our focus for a long time now, so we will do our best to steer the city in that direction, with the help from our partners, both existing and new ones.”

– Tomislav Tomašević, Mayor of Zagreb

ICLEI and Zagreb

Zagreb has been a member of ICLEI network since 2000. Cooperation between the City of Zagreb and ICLEI has been particularly focused on the topics of sustainable transport, sustainable management, nature, urban resilience, and nature-based solutions in cities. Zagreb and ICLEI have been partners in a number of European-funded projects, including (but not limited to): Clean Fleets (2012-2015), E2STORMED (2012-2015), Urban-LEDS (2012-2015), and proGIreg (2018-2023).


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