Reports 2015/20

Cities and environment

Indicators for environmental development in the "Cities of the future"

This publication is in Norwegian only.

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This report contains selected indicators and statistics that describe the environmental status and development in two large urban settlements and 10 of the most populous municipalities in Norway. These 13 areas were included in the programme “Cities of the Future”. As of 1 January 2015, there were just under 1.9 million inhabitants in the “Cities of the Future”, which corresponds to 36 per cent of the population of Norway.

Land use management:

The urban area per inhabitant decreased overall in the “Cities of the Future” from 2000-2013, and is in line with the goal for more densely populated areas. During the period 2003-2013, the density in the “Cities of the Future” also decreased, which means that fewer new buildings were built in already established urban settlements. Access to play parks, recreational areas and touring grounds in the “Cities of the Future” and in the country as a whole increased during the period 2011–2013, however the access in the “Cities of the Future” was more limited than in the country as a whole.


The use of environmentally-friendly transportation in the “Cities of the Future” showed a slight growth from 2001-2013. The provision of footpaths and cycle paths also showed a slight increase in the period, but the ratio “length of footpaths and cycle paths per 1 000 inhabitants” in the “Cities of the Future” was well below the national average. Car density and mileage driven in private cars in the “Cities of the Future” increased from 2005 to 2013, however the mileage driven in private cars showed a reduction in the period 2009-2013.

Local air pollution:

All “Cities of the Future”, except for two, exceeded the limit for concentrations of particles (PM10) in 2014, while only two exceeded the permitted limit for NO2.

Environmentally-friendly services and practice:

The main centre’s share of commodity trade had a negative development in the period 2006-2013, and appears to be losing ground in the competition with other shopping centres. The share of residents who lived less than 500 metres from a commodity trade store saw a positive development in the period 2006-2014. The share of children who lived a short distance away from a kindergarten or school increased during the period 2006-2014 in the “Cities of the Future” and in the country as a whole. The number of companies certified under ISO14001 or under the Eco-lighthouse system increased during the period 2010-2014.

Energy consumption and emission of greenhouse gas:

In the “Cities of the Future”, both the total energy consumption and the energy consumption per inhabitant increased during the period 2011-2012. The largest consumer group in the “Cities of the Future” in 2012 was households and agriculture, while manufacturing industries and mining had the largest consumption in the country as a whole. In the municipalities’ property management (own buildings), electricity was the main energy product in all the “Cities of the Future” in 2013. The share of renewable energy constituted more than 90 per cent of the total energy consumption in municipal property management for the “Cities of the Future” as a whole in the same year.

In the counties where the “Cities of the Future” are located, the total emission of greenhouse gasses increased during the period 2009-2012, while the emission of greenhouse gasses per inhabitant decreased. The reduction in emissions from manufacturing industries and mining, and from road traffic, was the largest contributor to the decrease in the total emissions during the period.

During the period 2007-2011, the volume of household waste per inhabitant saw a slight increase in the “Cities of the Future” as a whole. Although the share of household waste that was recovered or incinerated increased, these treatment methods are considered to be environmentally-friendly

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