Last weekend, the inaugural Tartu Climate Assembly, which consists of randomly selected residents of the city, convened at Tartu Nature House, where, with the help of specialists from the sector, members gained in-depth knowledge regarding the principles of street space and positive and negative effects of various modes of transport.
Speakers on Saturday included Kristi Grišakov (TalTech), who spoke about the spatial challenges facing an urbanized saturday, mobility expert Maris Jüssi (Transport Administration), who discussed the footprint left by movement and transport in the city, architect and urban planner Tõnis Savi, who provided an overview of good street spaces and methods for creating them, and Tartu City Architect Tõnis Arjus, who introduced the development trends for Tartu's urban space, according to a city government press release.
On Sunday, the Climate Assembly heard the views of various interest groups as well as discussed the principles governing the planning of sustainable mobility, attitudes toward cycling and walking, the views of urban regional associations on the creation of an urban space that encourages movement, the topics of movement and safety from the disabled point of view, as well as the positions of environmental associations.
"It was amazing how dedicated the 44 Tartu residents to take part were," said Teele Pehk and Maiu Lauring, drivers of the Green Tiger (Rohetiiger) volunteer sector who brought the Climate Assembly to Estonia. "They took representing Tartu very seriously; many initial ideas for proposals to the city government already emerged from the thought exercises that took place between presentations. It could be felt and seen that the people of Tartu care very much about the fact that decisions concerning urban space and sustainable mobility are made based on the best knowledge available and together with residents of the city."
The Climate Assembly is scheduled to meet again on May 7-8, when, on the basis of their acquired knowledge, members of the assembly will formulate proposals aimed at helping make it safer to spend time in Tartu's street space, reducing air and noise pollution, further encouraging walking and biking, and making the urban space more attractive.
These proposals will then be voted on individually, and those proposals to receive at least 80 percent support will be considered adopted by the Climate Assembly and submitted to the city government, which will take them into account when designing Tartu's street space.
At the beginning of June, Tartu city government will publicly announce how the Climate Assembly's proposals will be implemented.
Assembly representing cross-section of population
An invitation to participate in the Tartu Climate assembly was sent to 15,000 residents of Tartu aged 15 and up. Nearly 300 city residents responded indicating their interest in participating, from among which 55 were chosen on the basis of an algorithm to represent a demographic cross-section of the city's population.
Implemented in Tartu for the first time, the Climate Assembly is a novel co-creation format used worldwide to speed up environmental decisions at both the local and national levels.
The Tartu Climate Assembly is organized by Tartu city government together with Green Tiger and Miltton.
Editor: Aili Vahtla