Future Flagship Project: Smart Lahti
We will soon open a new co-creation Smart & Clean Lahti platform, for companies and developers, to find innovative solutions for the sustainability challenges that Lahti and the rest of the world face. Smart Lahti is a site where our regional conducted cleantech referenceswill be showcased.
We have several Smart City Projects that provide interesting innovation platforms for companies and students. For instance, a Smart Lightning Project is currently in the construction phase, in Lahti (Fig. 1). This will be a demonstration and test arena for, e.g. sensor technologies and IoT. Workshops, innovation camps and differential co-design methods will be used to inspire developers, residents and city officials to co-create (Fig. 2).
We received funding from the UIA 2nd Call (2017-2020) for the sustainable and smart urban mobility proposal, CitiCAP, to:
Present Good Practice: Greenest Offices in Finland
In 2011, the City of Lahti was the first whole city organization in the world to join the environmental management system of WWF Green Office, on a city-wide scope (Fig. 3). Green Office has been created by WWF Finland and has already been adopted by several organizations, globally. In addition to increasing environmental knowledge, energy efficiency, climate-neutral working cultures and office policies are also enhanced within our departments. Currently, all major City of Lahti offices and some of the companies owned by the city are reducing their negative environmental impacts through the Green Office Programme. The progress is monitored, annually, through the Green Office reporting system. The Green Office network of Lahti also provides possibilities for city employees to network and share their everyday innovations and good practices for mitigating climate change (Fig. 4).
Present Flagship Project: Hybrid Solutions for Treating Urban Storm Water
Finding the best solutions to treat urban storm water is currently high on the city agenda, as the city is preparing a large-scale investment project called “Hybrid Solutions for Urban Storm Water”. This project received a Finnish Government Programme Key Pilot Project status and funding for 2017-2018. The idea is to find both small and large scale solutions to treat urban storm waters and to combine them into development areas in Lahti (Fig. 5). Our aim is to find the best Nature-based Solutions (NBSs) to retent the nutrients and micro/nano-plastics, which leach from the streets, together with urban storm water.
The University of Helsinki acts as an innovation partner for the city, and private companies are also encouraged to join in the investment and R&D project. We are currently expanding the storm water innovation co-operation to include the Helsinki Metropolitan Area via the Smart & Clean Foundation, in which Lahti is a partner. Our aim is to increase international co-operation within this theme.
Treating urban storm water, in a more sustainable and smarter way, is a very important adaptation measure, as the increasing precipitation, which causes e.g. urban and river flooding, is expected to be one of the most problematic climate change impacts in Northern Europe. Cities can greatly benefit from and create a more adaptable infrastructure by using the research from ecosystem ecology.'
Our project “Hybrid Solutions for Urban Storm Water” connects two residential areas and differential solutions for treating storm water (Fig. 5). This improves a) the climate resiliency of Lahti City and b) the water quality of nearby Lake Vesijärvi and River Porvoonjoki.
Present Flagship Project: Integration of SUMP and the Cyclic City Master Plan 2017-2020
Indicator: 3 and 4
The City of Lahti has developed a continuous, strategic City Master Plan Process with four-year cycles (Fig. 6). This enables a strategic long-term view of urban development, while allowing adjustments to pressing development needs and challenges, in the short-term. During each Master Plan cycle, various impacts of the proposed plan are assessed by city officials and qualified academic experts (e.g. walking and cycling, children, climate change and ecological networks).
Our future challenge is to stop the increase of traffic emissions. Special emphasis will now be placed on integrating the Sustainable Mobility Plan (SUMP) into the City Spatial Master Plan 2017-2020, which creates the analytic city-wide framework for cutting CO2 emissions from the traffic sector, e.g. by 1) improving the bicycle infrastructure, 2) finding smarter and low-carbon solutions for public transportation and 3) increasing pedestrian-friendly spaces in Lahti's urban cores.
SUMP development plan for 2017-2020:
As a part of SUMP, an evaluation of the current state of mobility was carried out by arranging numerous workshops with different stakeholders.
Good Practice: Rescuing Our Sensitive Water Bodies
We have been restoring Lake Vesijärvi since the mid-1970s in co-operation with several municipalities, universities and other research organizations. The annual restoration investment is over 250 000 € covered by the City of Lahti, Lahti Aqua Ltd and Lahti Energy Ltd. Past measures included improving wastewater treatment and biomanipulation. The current restoration stage involves the mapping of pollution sources, eliminating wastewater sources from private dwellings, constructing retention ponds and wetlands, aeration and biomanipulation (Fig. 7). In the past, Lake Vesijärvi was not suitable for swimming, but today, it has many public beaches. Two books on Lake Vesijärvi and its restoration story have been published (1992, 2010).
River conditions have been improved through sustainable drainage systems. The Porvoonjoki River is now cleaner due to effective wastewater treatment. The river’s condition (including water quality, fish, fishing, and benthic fauna) has been monitored, together with other municipalities, companies and non-governmental organizations, for over 20 years. The fraction of cyprinids has lessened and the population of more demanding fish has increased. We are reducing the negative impacts to the Baltic Sea by improving the Porvoonjoki River’s condition.
Current Flagship Project: Complete Green Shift in Local Energy Production of Lahti
Lahti Energy Ltd (part of the Lahti City Group) has invested in energy efficient and sustainable district heating. The network of district heating is extensive, with and over 90% of the population and 99% of the municipal buildings using district heating. Over 95% of district heating is produced energy efficiently in the combined heat and power plants of Kymijärvi I and Kymijärvi II. The Kymijärvi II power plant (2012) is a unique gasification power plant that uses solid recovered fuel, SRF (Fig. 8) and waste wood to generate electricity and district heat. The net efficacy of waste gasification is much better in comparison to traditional waste combustion, which emphasizes that gasification represents the BAT of the much-argued energy-utilization of waste.
However, the City of Lahti is currently undergoing a complete change in centralized energy production, by replacing the old Kymijärvi I power plant with the new Kymijärvi III power plant, by 2020 (Fig. 9). When procuring biomass, Lahti Energy demands FSC or PEFC forestry certificates.