A sustainable city secures the opportunities for a good life for present and future generations on an equal footing, while taking into account the limited natural resources and carrying capacity of our entire planet. Economic activity should be limited so that biodiversity does not suffer while at the same time supporting the empowerment and social justice of inhabitants.
At the heart of social sustainability is social justice and inclusion, which cities implement through their own actions. In a socially sustainable city, the transmission of disadvantage from one generation to the next is prevented, and inequality is reduced, for example through a wide range of services.
The challenge is to combine high wellfare with environmental sustainability
Important themes for sustainable development in Helsinki include low carbon, a smart city, health and social sustainability.
The challenge of sustainable development is that it has not been possible to achieve high levels of well-being in an environmentally sustainable way. Efforts are being made to improve the sustainability of cities by developing new solutions, making old practices more sustainable, multiplying good practices and strengthening international cooperation.
The challenges of sustainability in the environment are urgent, as climate change is a huge crisis that already requires fast action. However, the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic shows that social sustainability can also be fragile as the normal daily lives of many people are upset as a result of the global health crisis.
The UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development serves as a guiding framework for sustainable development. At the September 2015 summit in New York, UN member states agreed on the sustainable development goals and agenda to guide global development efforts up to 2030. The agreement includes 17 different objectives that address sustainable development.
Finland has been one of the pioneers in the implementation of Agenda 2030. The social commitment to sustainable development is one of the practical tools with which Finland has brought together actors from different fields to promote common goals.
Helsinki the second city in the world to report to the UN
Helsinki was the second city in the world to commit to the local sustainable development reporting model created by the City of New York. Alongside New York and a host of other partners, we have worked since 2018 to promote the extensive global adoption of the reporting scheme.