Nantes has successfully invented a new urban model combining economic growth, the development of public services and quality of life. This is most clearly reflected in its four fields of excellence: public transport, biodiversity, water management and the Climate Plan.
The Climate Plan, which was adopted in 2007, encourages the energy transition and consolidates the fight against greenhouse gases. It forms an essential part of the action taken by Nantes Métropole. The objective is to half CO2 emissions per capita by 2030.
Nantes decided to strive for sustainable development over twenty years ago now. Nantes' commitment is taking shape, with, for instance, eco-districts – urban spaces that strike a new balance between housing, green spaces and soft traffic.
Known as the "green and blue" city, Nantes factors nature into urban development by safeguarding its natural spaces and biodiversity. It is also features the only Natura 2000 zone in Europe, Petite-Amazonie, located in the city centre.
The city is home to over 100,000 trees and almost 3 hectares of flower beds. Public spaces are managed without the use of phytosanitary products, rivers and streams are restored and protected, and the banks of the Loire and Erdre are carefully looked after, attracting walkers.
The numerous parks and gardens dotted across Nantes include the Jardin des Plantes – a botanical garden with a wide range of species –, the Parc de Procé – a favourite with joggers and families alike –, the Jardin japonais de l’Ile de Versailles and, last but not least, the newly developed Parc des Oblates, overlooking the Loire.
- 250 km of rivers and streams
- 100 parks, squares and municipal gardens
- 1,050 hectares of public green space, including 180 hectares of protected natural areas
- 60% of the Nantes local area is made up of farming or natural areas
- 485 km cycle paths across Nantes and the conurbation
The European Commission named Nantes European Green Capital on account of twelve criteria which illustrate its desire to offer inhabitants a particularly healthy and pleasant living environment: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, striking a balance between urban and natural areas, providing public green space per inhabitant, organising soft transport and public transport, safeguarding biodiversity, ensuring air quality, combating noise pollution, managing water, managing waste, managing the environment and informing inhabitants, businesses, tourists and partners.
Naming Nantes as European Green Capital in 2013 was accompanied by a host of events that bolstered its involvement in promoting sustainable development, thereby confirming its position as a real pilot city.
Nantes also played host to a dozen international conferences in 2013, including the 10th Ecocity World Summit focusing on the sustainable city, the World Forum on Human Rights and the European Biogaz trade show.
The city also travelled to meet its European partners by organising a "Green Expedition" in several European capitals in order to promote its initiatives and raise citizens' awareness of the importance of changing their habits.