Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 307: Stockholm – from ugly duckling to Europe’s first green capital

Björn Hårsman () and Bo Wijkmark ()
Additional contact information
Björn Hårsman: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Bo Wijkmark: Office of Regional Planning and Metropolitan Transport

Abstract: The European Commission named Stockholm Europe’s first Green Capital City in 2010. Important reasons for the award were: a reduction of CO2 emissions by 25 percent per capita since 1990 and the establishment of an administrative system integrating environmental aspects in the planning, budgeting and management of all the various activities governed by the city. This paper describes the main features of the economic, environmental and political development in Stockholm since 1850. The main idea is simply to provide a historical perspective on the city´s environmental policy but we also want to shed light on the extent to which historical decisions and processes exert an influence on current ambitions and measures to strengthen Stockholm´s sustainability. In addition to pointing at the long-lasting influence of earlier infrastructure investments we also indicate the importance of the political pragmatism and social-engineering attitude developed since the 1930´s. However, Stockholm´s recently adopted action plan for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases indicates that this institutional capital might have eroded somewhat. If this is true, Stockholm might face more difficulties in becoming greener than usually expected considering its current ranking as a leading European capital in terms of intellectual capital and rate of innovation.

Keywords: Urban sustainability; Stockholm; history; environment; urban planning

JEL-codes: Q01; Q58; R50

26 pages, April 16, 2013

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