Europeans launch alliance for climate-friendly cities

BRUSSELS (AFP): Culture ministers from across Europe have launched an alliance to create more sustainable and climate-friendly buildings and urban landscapes, Switzerland said Monday.

“In future, politicians, business and civil society will be working together to create better-designed cities, villages and landscapes,” the Swiss government said, announcing the launch of the new “Davos Baukultur Alliance”.

Baukultur is shorthand for the preservation and development of quality, sustainable and culturally relevant buildings and cities.

Swiss President Alain Berset had invited culture ministers from 31 European countries to a two-day meeting in Davos, ahead of the World Economic Forum that kicks off in the luxury ski resort on Monday.

Along with civil society organisations and major companies from the building and real estate industries, they agreed to launch an international network to help meet planning and construction challenges, including transitioning to more sustainable energy sources.

“Its aim is the sustainable, quality-oriented management of buildings, infrastructure, public spaces and landscapes for the benefit of all,” a statement said.

The alliance was created to pursue goals set out in the so-called Davos Declaration aimed at “high-quality Baukultur for Europe”, which was adopted in 2018.

“Good Baukultur has never been as important as it is today. There can be no sustainable development without it,” said Berset, who also serves as Switzerland’s interior minister.

A commitment to high-quality building culture is “an indispensable part of achieving a swift energy transition,” the statement said.

It can also help “combat increasing overdevelopment and enables cities and villages to evolve to meet the needs of an inclusive and diverse society,” it said.