Tallinn is located on the shore of the Baltic Sea, in the north-eastern part of the Baltic region. It is the capital and economic center of Estonia, responsible for over half of the country’s GDP, and also ranked as a Global City. In addition to its long history as a seaport and capital, the City has recently developed a strong information technology sector. Other important economic sectors include the light, textile, and food industries, as well as the service and public sector. The Port of Tallinn is one of the biggest ports in the Baltic region. Tallinn Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as other major attractions make Tallinn a renowned tourist destination, receiving more than 1.5 million visitors annually.
In February 2009, Tallinn signed the Covenant of Mayors and has accordingly pledged to reduce its CO₂ emissions by 20% by 2020. Significant changes have taken place in Tallinn’s waste management due to the improvement of waste sorting and utilization. A waste incineration plant has been built, which processes approximately 20% of household waste and produces energy for heating. In January 2013 Tallinn introduced free public transport for all registered residents of the city in order to encourage modal shift from cars to public transport, maintain clean air and reduce the noise levels in the city center, and have more urban space. Additionally, public transport has been given priority on the roads in the city center and park-and-ride facilities have been established in the city. There are annual city clean-up events organized every spring and Tallinn participates in European Mobility Week by organizing Car Free Day and other events.
Tallinn is working to reduce CO2 emissions through an increase in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy. The City needs to improve the energy efficiency of municipal buildings and promote similar actions in businesses and among residents, as well as renovate the district heating network. Tallinn is looking forward to developing related actions based on what it can learn from other cities in the exchange.
Goals: With regards to a transition to a low-carbon community, Tallinn placed a great deal of emphasis on highlighting its free public transit system and the benefits and challenges in switching from a user-pay transit system to one that is free for all residents and how to integrate active transportation as the next element in changing modal share away from cars. Tallinn hopes it can share its experience with e-governance with other local governments in the exchange. The partner city of Tallinn, Halifax, was fascinated by the breadth and depth of what electronic services were available to Tallinn residents and how having these services, available electronically, have freed up internal resources for other programming and projects.
Tallinn is experiencing growing fragmentation of its green areas and unconnected green corridors caused by current municipal urban planning methods. Tallinn wishes to address this issue through raising environmental awareness (especially amongst land owners and developers), creating a science-based biodiversity inventory, introducing strict environmental regulations during the planning process, and ensuring systematic supervision. Since local laws do not guarantee the preservation of ecosystem services, it is necessary to learn how these conflicts have been solved in other countries.
As a maritime city, Tallinn places significant importance on coastal management and adaptation. To this end, Tallinn in working to integrate the EU Adaptation Strategy and the Estonia Adaptation Plan into their operation. As a result of climate change, major anticipated impacts include changes to sea surface and inland water temperatures, increase in sea levels, and a possible never-before-seen permanent ice cover over the Baltic Sea.
Goals: Tallinn is interested in exploring low-impact development (LID) and green infrastructure projects within an urban setting. Municipal staff has acknowledged the challenges in moving forward with “shovel-ready” projects, but they are also willing to explore how challenges could be overcome and what partnerships could be beneficial. One additional feature that is being explored between Tallinn and its partner city Halifax is an exchange visit between students from the two cities to work collaboratively on each of the respective LID projects. Tallinn is interested in the cross-pollination of ideas, increased replicability of projects, and opportunities for documentation of lessons learned.
Tallinn City Government has made developing accessible and safepublic transportation a main priority. To increase passenger usage and satisfaction, Tallinn has worked to make trams and buses more attractive. From 2011-2013, in addition to purchasing 75 new
buses, the City made serious strides. Using the money received from sales of CO2 emission quotas, 10 environmentally friendly buses and 20 new trams were acquired; half of the city’s tram track networks were reconstructed; and numerous tram depots and stops were renovated.
About 40% of Tallinn’s public transportation vehicles have low emissions levels. An additional 20 diesel buses and 24 hybrid buses, which comply with European Union standards, will be added by the end of 2015. Construction of new tram lines is being extended to the Airport by the end of 2017. Tallinn is also planning on building a new central terminal to improve various transportation options.
In order to reduce the increase in car ownership and CO2 emissionsm from automobiles, the National Government of Estonia and the City of Tallinn introduced a national electro-mobility program called ELMO. Financed through selling CO2 quotas to the car company Mitsubishi, the City purchased 1,165 full electric passenger cars for the city and country, including 504 iMiEVs for social workers. ELMO Rent allows citizens to use or rent an electric car for as long as needed. The program also built 163 quick charging stations around the country. Parking is free in the city center for all ELMO electric vehicles.
The goal of Tallinn is to increase the share of bikeways and bicycle paths in the city. Tallinn is currently planning to build 40 km of new bikeways in the city using additional structural aid from the European Union. The establishment of several connections is planned for 2015–2020 to expand the network of bicycle paths and footpaths in Tallinn.
The main goal is to bring all existing cycle paths together into one safe network. Tallinn’s goal is to connect the bikeways with those of neighboring municipalities to create an extensive regional network. To inform citizens and market the program, Tallinn’s city website has extensive interactive bike maps to assist citizens in planning their route.
In order to reduce CO2 emissions, Tallinn found that the most efficient way was to focus on reconstructing and renovating existing buildings. The City’s project, “Fix the Facade,” aims at helping apartment associations to renovate their buildings and homes to be more energy efficient, specifically through insulation of facades and roofs, replacement of windows and doors, and replacement or reconstruction of heating and ventilation systems. “Fix the Facade” then provides grant support for about 10% of the amount of the renovation. From 2015-2020 the City hopes to update 400 apartment buildings, with the assistance of the European Union Cohesion Fund. The result is a decrease in CO2 emissions by 90,000 tons by 2020. The City of Tallinn has also ensured that all new buildings are designed and built according to energy-efficient building standards and concepts.