A Green City: Impossible Dream or Necessity?

  • Mauro Agnoletti
  • Rui Baptista
  • Renato Henriques
  • Paula Nogueira
  • Lígia M. Costa Pinto
  • Paulo J. Ramísio
  • Antonio Santoro
  • José Cardoso Teixeira
  • Estelita Vaz
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 7)


Two out of three Europeans live in towns and cities, and this number is (still) increasing. By attracting more inhabitants, urban areas are facing new challenges, particularly in terms of social and environmental issues. Meeting the challenges of increasing urban pressure may rest on citizens’ active involvement and cross-commitment promoted by local authorities, simultaneously exploring and respecting the social, cultural and heritage structures – the city’s identity. Some cities face more demanding challenges than others. There are other factors associated with the identity process, where the culture and history tend to be relevant indicators, especially in historic cities. Reinforcing the bonds of local identity may facilitate the citizens’ engagement in the common effort to build an environmental and sustainable city. The city of Guimarães faces such challenges. In this context, the European Green Capital Award, which yearly distinguishes a European city based on its environmental, economics and life quality efforts, encouraging best practices sharing, corresponds to certifying a certain city management paradigm.

This chapter intends to report on the perspectives of four areas, education, landscape, urban and natural environment and economics, towards the process and the implications of applying to the Green City Award and the challenge of sustaining and developing this new management model (environmental education of young adults and children being a key for the development and sustainability of a green city way of being). These perspectives were discussed by the authors at the roundtable held under the II World Congress of Environmental History (July 2014, Guimarães) and constitute the basis for this paper. The paper elaborates on these perspectives reviewing the history of the urban development of the city, exploring the concept of green city and the criteria established for the award of European green city, and also by exploring a novel methodology to read the history of a city by identifying changing patterns. The paper concludes that Green cities can be viewed as new management paradigm. A paradigm that is inclusive, integrated and cohesive of people the natural environment.


Green-city Sustainability Urban life quality Efficiency 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mauro Agnoletti
    • 1
  • Rui Baptista
    • 2
  • Renato Henriques
    • 3
  • Paula Nogueira
    • 4
  • Lígia M. Costa Pinto
    • 5
  • Paulo J. Ramísio
    • 6
  • Antonio Santoro
    • 1
  • José Cardoso Teixeira
    • 6
  • Estelita Vaz
    • 7
  1. 1.GESAAF, Scuola di AgrariaUniversità di FirenzeFirenzeItaly
  2. 2.Barcelinhos Secondary SchoolBarcelinhosPortugal
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciências da TerraUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal
  4. 4.Universidade do MinhoBragaPortugal
  5. 5.NIMA, Escola de Economia e GestãoUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal
  6. 6.Centro de Território, Ambiente e ConstruçãoUniversidade do MinhoGuimarãesPortugal
  7. 7.Escola de CiênciasUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal

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