Towards a social and sustainable city
We are facing a great challenge in keeping our world habitable. This requires a different way of cohabitating. From unbridled growth, globalisation, convenience and ‘everything is possible’ to sustainable growth, regionalisation, physical activity and mindful pleasure. The more people desire this and take action, the faster we will achieve our goals together.
Join us and vote for Klimaat Actie Nu on the 14th, 15th and 16th of March 2022.
Leiden is able to become one of the first cities in the world to transition to a truly sustainable society. Leiden, as a breeding ground for new, innovative and inspiring initiatives, in which everyone in the city is involved and more and more citizens realise that a sustainable lifestyle can greatly improve the quality of their lives! A city where the challenge is for the Netherlands to fit its 17 million inhabitants with an average ecological footprint of 5 hectares into 14 million hectares our country has to offer.
With our programme, we present a future-proof vision of how we can start doing this in Leiden. We will do this together with you, as residents, consumers, employers and employees, volunteers, creative people and doers. Together, we can ensure that in the next four years our ecological footprint is reduced, our health is improved and Leiden is bursting with inspiring green initiatives!
Of course, our programme also devotes attention to the other themes. With a fresh and creative mind, we pay attention to the residential climate, the economic climate, the social climate and the role of the municipality. Curious? Read on!
Together with neighbourhood initiatives and housing corporations we want to reduce the energy consumption in the neighbourhoods and increase the generation of renewable energy. Insulation is necessary for all homes in the city. With subsidies and support for people with middle and low incomes, we want to make this possible for everyone. Housing corporations make their housing stock more sustainable. For historic buildings (monumenten), rules must be relaxed in order to make them better insulated. Sustainability takes precedence over aesthetics. Solar panels should be installed on all suitable roofs of commercial buildings, organisations and schools with sustainability incentives and loans coming available. In time, property tax (OZB) to be linked to the degree of insulation of one’s own home. Other ways of using renewable energy, such as aquathermal and geothermal, will be encouraged. There will be a local energy company for and by the citizens of Leiden.
The Rotterdam heating network (warmtenet), which is supposed to provide residual heat through underground pipelines from companies in the port area, will not be allowed to be built because its construction would have a negative impact on the living environment as well as create a monopoly on the distribution and cost of this energy, The pace of transitioning from gas use should be reduced, however, transitioning too quickly means using much more harmful energy sources such as oil and coal. Research must be carried out to find out whether the current gas power station (Uniper) can switch to hydrogen.
We want to tackle the housing shortage by being creative with the current housing stock and empty offices. For example, we will introduce a mandate that requires homeowners to live in their homes in order to prevent abuse from slumlords. We will make room for courtyards and residential communities to stimulate the flow of people and promote social cohesion. If new construction is needed, it should be as sustainable as possible in terms of construction and use. The emphasis should be on building social and medium-sized rental housing to stimulate the transfer of higher-earning social tenants. It is easier to reduce your carbon footprint when you live in a smaller house. There will be priority on the housing market for affordable housing for people with vital professions. There will be specific new buildings with no parking spaces or parking permits directly in and around these houses. This will create space for green areas and stimulate bicycle use. For students, there will be a climate-neutral campus in the Bio Science Park, which will become an attractive living area with lots of greenery.
Public transport will be improved while more attention is dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists – including those with disabilities. In addition, waste separation will be improved and polluters will have to pay more. Residential projects, such as LEAD, which are disruptive to the surrounding area or cannot be built sustainably, will not earn our support.
There will be a budget to improve the quality of life in neighbourhoods with the help of local organisations and companies. Car ownership will be further discouraged so that parking spaces can disappear. These can then be replaced by greenery, sitting areas and playgrounds. Elderly people who want to live on a smaller scale in their own neighbourhood should be given the opportunity to divide their home into several independent living units, so that more people can benefit from this living space. It will be possible to build (temporary) houses on car parking lots for young residents who want to start small.
There must be safe places for everyone in neighbourhoods to hang out, play and for recreational purposes. The speed limit will be lowered to 30km/h on non-main roads, and at a walking pace in residential areas. This will increase safety and reduce CO2 emissions.
We will shape the economy in a social and sustainable way. We will focus on stimulating and creating local employment in existing and new companies. Having a job in Leiden stimulates the use of bicycles. In addition, we are committed to a shift towards an ecological vision of doing business: selling fair trade products and food, and/or providing a service. Cooperation between the municipality and neighbourhoods creates space for repair shops, second-hand shops and thrift stores. Innovation in the field of repair, reuse and ‘from waste to raw material’ is stimulated. We will aim to abolish the use of disposable plastic and replace it with fully biodegradable materials.
Visitors can visit our city by public transport or park on the outskirts of the city, where shared bicycles and electric bus and taxi are available. Delivery services and suppliers should use fully electric vehicles. Law enforcement will be bolstered to improve road use behavior of flash delivery cyclists, so that pedestrians continue to feel safe.
In the coming period, we will develop a vision of how we, as a city, can play a pioneering role in achieving a circular lifestyle, such as work-life balance, consumption and spending patterns.
Less car driving, more biking, and a greener environment will encourage people to exercise, breathe fresh air and bring mental peace and tranquility. Information and support for a healthy lifestyle must be available to everyone, and supplementary insurance for minors must be offered at a low rate in order to prevent them from avoiding health care visits. There will be a “sport and culture pass” for people on low incomes. Physical exercise is encouraged, without affecting the existing greenery, such as the Roomburger Park.
More attention will be paid to the vulnerable in our municipality, such as people with physical and/or mental disabilities, the elderly, the disabled, migrants, etc. Inclusiveness is the starting point. The more people are be able to participate, the more they will feel encouraged to look after each other. There is an aging population, which means that the municipality must prepare itself for the elderly living longer at home, and create facilities for this.
Local neighbourhood initiatives are the common denominator here, but can also offer a good dutch language education for all low-literates while providing a clear and understandable communication from the municipality. Prevention in the social domain is the starting point. Children in particular should not have to suffer from the strict rules set by the municipal authorities. Problematic individual’s debts must be taken over by the municipality in order to give people peace of mind and space to find solutions to their problems.
For asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal options and who have nowhere else to go, we want to provide accommodation, income, schooling and day care in order to prevent major abuse. More music, literature, art and culture at the neighbourhood level, focusing on the wishes of neighbourhoods. With a few large venues and stages for the city and the surrounding region where the performing arts and associated catering can be enjoyed in a sustainable manner.
We want to involve schoolchildren and students in the issues that are relevant to the city. Funding must be provided for compulsory structural hours on nature, environment and climate education at all primary schools. Educational buildings must be made sustainable, with attention to both indoor environment (CO2) and making buildings climate neutral.
New plans for the Humanities Campus must ensure future-proof education in a green environment, where the existing housing (Doelen complex) is preserved. It should become an area where students, staff and residents of the city can enjoy a pleasant stay: a pleasant green area containing educational buildings and a number of public functions such as a literary café and a restaurant.
In order to provide students with suitable housing, a climate-neutral campus must be built in the Bio Science Park. The new campus must include communal areas, but independent living quarters must be provided for students who do not wish to make use of them. Until the campus is a built, we shall permit splitting up dwellings within the current regulations. Landlords must ensure good insulation and maintenance of these dwellings.
Everyone must feel safe in the city, during the day, in the evening and at night. Camera surveillance in the city could be more efficient than it is now. Better cameras should be placed at all sensitive places in the city. The privacy of visitors to the city must be guaranteed.
There must be an accessible office-counter where people can report unacceptable behaviour.
The climate calls for very strong measures. Sustainability, inclusiveness and involvement of residents will be at the heart of all municipal decisions. This will ensure a future-proof vision of the city. For example, the possibilities of accelerating the energy transition (e.g. compulsory installation of solar panels on (new) commercial building roofs) must be explored.
The municipality’s policy is to think in terms of possibilities rather than impossibilities in the case of good sustainability or social initiatives. Laws are here to serve people and not the other way around. In this environment, proposals are welcome from all spectrums of society and are developed together with the people in the city.
Proposals are not imposed from above, but are developed together with the people in the city (for example, in the form of citizens’ councils, citizens’ forums or think tanks). A reflection of the city’s composition is necessary, so that everyone can feel represented. The city belongs to all of us.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will serve as a guideline for policy making.
Climate Action Now is a movement. Our positions are also in motion, they develop, can be further elaborated or may even change when new insights are evaluated. However, our goal always remains the same: to work for a social and sustainable world in which we combat global warming in order to be able to pass it on responsibly to those who succeed us.