Climate Change

Croatia to develop first low-carbon city district in region

Croatia to develop first low-carbon city district in region karlovac decarboization

Photo: City of Karlovac

Published

January 9, 2023

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Published:

January 9, 2023

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Karlovac is the first city in Croatia and one of the few in Europe to adopt a spatial plan for making its districts sustainable, energy-efficient and climate-resilient. Karlovac, one of the frontrunners of the energy transition in Croatia, got help in the endeavor from the Regional Energy Agency of Northwestern Croatia (REGEA).

REGEA was one of the partners in the Interreg Europe LC Districts project, which was launched to modify strategic documents to advance the decarbonization of city districts. The idea was to use energy and climate elements in spatial plans.

Spatial plans could be considered a tool for encouraging the energy transition

The agency said it identified, together with cities in northwestern Croatia, spatial plans as one of the key documents that could speed up the decarbonization of cities and urban districts or slow it down. Spatial plans are in the jurisdiction of local and regional authorities and they can be used as a tool for encouraging the energy transition.

REGEA made all the necessary analyses and issued recommendations on how to include the measures from the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) of Karlovac in the spatial plan.

The new spatial plan paves the way towards the sustainability and climate resilience of a city district

The result of the process, in which city offices, utility services, energy suppliers, non-governmental organizations, the academic community, and citizens participated, was a spatial plan approved by the City Council that paved the way for sustainability and the resilience of a neighborhood to climate change, REGEA said and added that the pilot was created for the urban development plan of the Luščić zone.

Some of the key parts include a complete ban on fossil fuels for heating (no natural gas network is planned). Heat will only be produced by district heating plants or heat pumps. The endeavor is aimed at introducing higher standards for the use of renewable energy sources than at the national level, and it promotes nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation.

A role model for the decarbonization of other Croatian cities

According to REGEA, in the preparation of the spatial plan within the LC Districts project it has used insights into good practices from Sweden, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic. The City of Karlovac will serve as an example of decarbonization for other urban districts in Croatia, the agency added.

REGEA is now cooperating with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Construction to help them include the knowledge gained in the process into strategic documents with the aim of facilitating the energy transition, adapting to the effects of climate change and increasing the resilience of local and regional authorities.

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