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L-R: Hamburg Mayor, Peter Tschentscher, Zurich Mayor, Corine Mauch and Vienna Mayor, Michael Ludwig , Source: City of Vienna

Mayors of Hamburg, Vienna and Zurich gather for ‘City Trialogue’

Mayors of Hamburg, Vienna and Zurich gather for ‘City Trialogue’

The format is ongoing cooperation aimed at sharing climate, digitalisation and sustainability experiences and good practices

On 12 and 13 May, the mayors of Zurich, Hamburg and Vienna met in the Austrian capital to advance the cities' cooperation agreement, aptly named the ‘City Trialogue’. The trialogue was launched in Hamburg in 2019, with the aim of deepening cooperation. In this meeting, the mayors agreed on sharing know-how about climate policy and digitalisation and the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Furthermore, they also discussed the role of cities as drivers of humanitarian aid amid the refugee and humanitarian crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine.

A tour of Vienna’s most exciting urban solutions

During the meeting, the trio visited one of Europe’s largest construction sites – Seestadt Aspern. This is a new district that the city of Vienna is constructing with the aim of implementing all the green solutions, learned in the past decades. It includes carbon neutral buildings, parks, green walls and roofs, as well as a robust public transport system.

Moreover, to accommodate the population rise from the new district, the city is developing one of the biggest subway expansions as well – the U2 and U5 lines. According to data from officials, this expansion should boost transit capacity by a third, making the Viennese subway capable of carrying 1.3 million people per day.

A brief history of the ‘City Trialogue’

The idea for the ‘City Trialogue’ was born from the fact that most people in Europe live in cities and municipal authorities face some of the biggest pressures when dealing with the challenges of our time. According to Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher, these challenges include a chronic lack of urban living space, as well as finding effective climate solutions.

This is what the first trialogue agreement focused on back in 2019 – sharing sustainable climate policy solutions, digitalisation initiatives and Smart City projects. However, as 2020 brought its own set of unique challenges, the group was forced to adapt.

This is why in 2021, the biggest topic that the mayors discussed was Covid-testing strategies in schools and kindergartens. Another point in that discussion focused on the port of Hamburg and the port of Vienna, both in close cooperation since the 1950s. A large part of the container traffic between Hamburg and Austria passes through the port of Vienna.

Accordingly, this time, the main topic of discussion between the cities was the war in Ukraine and the looming humanitarian crisis, caused by the millions of refugees fleeing the invasion.

Vienna Mayor, Michael Ludwig, explained that the war, the burden of the Covid crisis and the fight against climate change pose major challenges for cities in particular. He then argued for the role of large urban centres to be strengthened in Europe, because most people live in cities.

He continued: “But it is impossible for the cities of Europe to be the only ones to bear the burden alone. Europe as a whole is called upon to help people and campaign vehemently for peace.”

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