Reykjavík and Lahti Collaborate in NetZeroCitiesEU Initiative
SPARCS Reykjavik
29 may 2024

Last week, representatives from SPARCS team and Environment and Planning Division of the City of Reykjavík travelled to Lahti, the European Green Capital of 2021, for an on-site meeting as part of the NetZeroCitiesEU (NZC) initiative’s Twinning Programme.

The event provided a valuable platform for exchanging experiences and strategies, focusing on the shift towards sustainable mobility through a multistakeholder approach. Reykjavík team had the opportunity to present the city’s comprehensive strategies aimed at altering mobility behaviours, including:

  • Mobility Policy and Commuting Habit Surveys: Sharing insights on how Reykjavik is transforming commuting habits through detailed policy frameworks and surveys.
  • Infrastructure Projects: Highlighting of the new multi-modal mobility hub, which is the pilot project of SPARCS RVK, designed to seamlessly integrate various transportation modes.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Discussing initiatives to promote sustainable mobility choices among the residents.

The City of Lahti presented their  NZC project, “SYCLA – Systemic Change Towards Sustainable Commuting,” with project manager, Katja Ojala, and her team providing valuable insights on:

  • Scalable Communication Strategies: Effective public engagement methods to foster sustainable commuting practices.
  • Enhanced Winter Road Maintenance: Ensuring cyclist safety year-round with winter maintenance service.
  • Cultural Shifts in Mobility: Overcoming barriers between shared mobility and private car ownership.
  • Policy Adjustments: Reducing car-favorable arrangements to encourage greener mobility options.


Elina Ojala, Environment Director of Lahti, delivered an insightful presentation on the work within the EU Mission, which offered us a deeper understanding of the policy-making process and Climate Contract framework. In addition to city presentations, the academic community contributed significantly to the discussions. LUT University shared their research on commuting patterns and the application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in mobility. This methodology evaluates the environmental impact and GHG emissions of various transport options, providing crucial data to nudge stakeholders towards greener choices.

The LAB University of Applied Sciences team presented their co-creation initiatives with organizations, focusing on the “Timeout Dialogue” methodology, which fosters inclusive climate initiatives. Their horizontal wellbeing program was highlighted as an exemplary model of integrating public health with environmental goals.

A visit to the EU Health Forest, guided by Riitta-Maija Hämäläinen, Head of Sustainable Development of the Wellbeing Services County of Päijät-Häme, provided the participants with insights into the “Nature Step Health Programme.” This initiative demonstrates the health benefits of nature-based solutions alongside environmental objectives.

This visit was marked by productive exchanges and the sharing of innovative practices, reinforcing the commitment to achieving sustainable mobility and climate resilience.