17 July 2020

A pathway from 'Steel Metropolis' to 'Green Oasis'

The City of Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina), has not let the coronavirus hamper its plans for greening the city. The city, which is surrounded by mountains with the Bosnia river coursing through it, is planning to green its interior and improve air quality by implementing nature-based solutions (NBS) that support the well-being of residents.

The NBS project proGIreg recently interviewed Amra Mehmedic, Head of Economic Development, City of Zenica to hear more. What they learned has been showcased in a new video, and is summarised below.

Zenica is the fourth largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is very much an industrial city that struggles with poor air quality and high levels of respiratory illnesses. The future vision of the city includes affordable heating, accessible natural areas, cycling and walking friendly infrastructure, replenished fish populations in the Bosnia river, leafy greenery under which to find shade, warm bus shelters to escape the cold, and clean air throughout the year.

Zenica has strategic and ambitious plans in place to achieve this vision. The city has a ‘Green Cities Action Plan’ (GCAP), which is part of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Green Cities Programme, and aims to address the various challenges the city is facing. Its focus is on reducing industrial pollution; improving heating systems; and improving public transportation. To this end, Zenica welcomes the opportunity to learn from pioneering European cities, whose plans have already led to success in these areas.

To achieve their goals, Zenica is implementing nature-based solutions such as accessible green corridors, using NBS in the provision of leisure activities and clean energy on former landfills; and putting in place green walls and roofs.

The city is realistic about the challenges ahead. It faces a lack of resources, and additional capacity building is needed to build skills and competences locally. However, the city’s commitment and GCAP funding are driving Zenica’s sustainability efforts forward.

To tackle the challenges, Zenica is planning to collaborate with energy companies in using alternative energy sources to coal, and to introduce greenery to cope with heatwaves.

Local enthusiasm to re-green and develop the city is palpable – there are many grassroots NBS initiatives, which have flourished. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in increased awareness about the benefits of NBS among locals.

For more information, click here.