The «Zurich International» newsletter brings you five to seven times yearly all the latest information from other cities and reports on how the various international relations which the City of Zurich maintains are developing
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Newsletter «Zurich International»

29th March 2019 
The «Zurich International» newsletter brings you five to seven times yearly all the latest information from other cities and reports on how the various international relations which the City of Zurich maintains are developing. Please feel free to recommend the newsletter to your colleagues. 

Friendly meeting of the mayors
Mayor Corine Mauch and Carrie Lam CEO from Hong Kong in the Zurich town hall

A delightful habit almost seems to be forming: after visiting Zurich on her way to the WEF in Davos in January 2018, Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam once again stopped by City Hall at the beginning of this year for an exchange of ideas with the Mayor. With the ten-day festival “Zurich meets Hong Kong” back in October 2017, the City of Zurich had presented itself in Hong Kong as a city of culture, a centre of knowledge and a prime business location. Since then, various representatives of the Hong Kong city government have paid a visit to Zurich, including the innovation officer and the finance minister. And again at the latest meeting, the two mayors reaffirmed the friendly and mutually beneficial relationship between their cities. Their discussion revolved around developments on the financial markets, smart city strategies and initiatives, measures to foster innovation, and design. And it resulted in concrete proposals for a potential new presence of the City of Zurich at a Design Business Week in the coming years. Zurich and Hong Kong are connected by friendship – particularly in the field of culture. The imminent opening in Hong Kong of the new museum of contemporary art «M+», by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and featuring the Uli Sigg collection, is proof of this.

Anna Schindler, Director Urban Development Zurich 

Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, in Zurich

On 16 January this year we had the pleasure of welcoming Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo, to Zurich. A tour of the waste incineration plant in Hagenholz was followed by a meeting with the Mayor, accompanied by his deputy mayor, the Italian ambassador and the Italian Consul General. The discussion focused on refugee policy and Palermo’s commitment to a migration policy based on humanity and solidarity, but also looked at options for increased cultural exchange between Zurich and Palermo (in 2018 Palermo was both the Italian Capital of Culture and the venue of Manifesta 12). Besides Mayor Corine Mauch, two members of the city council, Raphael Golta and Filippo Leutenegger, also participated in the meeting. Leoluca Orlando, who was elected Mayor of Palermo for the fifth time in 2017 and is famous for his fight against the Mafia, is one of Italy’s best-known politicians. On the evening of 16 January, he gave a talk on the “Rebirth of Palermo” at the Kaufleuten.

Christina Wandeler, Project Manager Urban Development Zurich 

Kunming, the «City of Eternal Spring», and the partnership with Zurich: Water Protection
Wastewater treatment in forest soil

The south-Chinese city of Kunming has a pleasant climate thanks to its 1800m altitude, with hardly any smog to speak of. Tourism, chemical industries and the cultivation of tobacco, flowers and medicinal herbs make for a flourishing economy. Small rivers flow through the city, though they carry hardly any water outside the rainy season and empty into Lake Dian, which has an average depth of only about four metres. Nutrients greatly impact the water, turning it a deep green colour.

Since the beginning of the partnership over 35 years ago, Kunming has changed enormously. Sewers and sewage treatment plants have been built, and the water quality in the lake has improved considerably. The most spectacular measure is the supply of 20 cubic metres per second of river water from far away. Other measures will be defined and implemented over the next few years with a master plan.

In 2017, the technical nature of the collaboration between the two cities changed. The Federal Government assumed the leadership with the new goal of reducing CO2. The results of the city partnership will be presented at the international conference in Kunming in May 2019. What happens thereafter remains open for the time being after the termination of the cooperation agreement by the Federal Government.

Mike Sgier, Deputy Head of Communication, Civil Engineering and Waste Management Department 

Toblach Talks on the Energy Revolution
Some of the speakers at the Toblach Talks

The Toblach Talks have been a think tank for ecological change since 1985. The theme of the 2018 event was “What Happened to the Solar Age? On the Obstacles and Prospects of the Energy Revolution”. Martina Blum, Deputy Energy Commissioner of the City of Zurich, was invited to present the City’s energy policy and to work on the "Toblach Theses”, which are traditionally written afterwards. Together with a multitude of experts and interested visitors, she discussed how the Energy Revolution – the transition away from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas towards renewables and energy efficiency – could best succeed. What emerged was that it will take more than purely technical solutions: in fact a profound transformation of society is necessary. Ultimately we need to question our current lifestyle and our business models. This is the same challenge faced by the City of Zurich if it is to reach its 2000-Watt targets. In Zurich, for example, we have scored successes in reducing electricity consumption thanks to advances in efficiency; however at the same time greenhouse gas emissions from aviation have been rising for years. They are now over 60% higher than the emissions from the electricity supply.

Martina Blum, Deputy Energy Commissioner City of Zurich 

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International symposium on building with recycled concrete in Zurich
From 23–25 January 2019, the City of Zurich hosted a delegation of experts from Rome, Helsinki and the ICLEI European city network. They came at the invitation of the Environmental and Health Protection Service to discuss the use of recycled concrete and recycled building materials in construction.

The City of Zurich is regarded worldwide as a pioneer in building with recycled concrete. For 15 years, all public buildings have been built with recycled concrete – in recent years supplemented with CO2-reduced CEM III/B cement. This saves on virgin gravel resources as well as landfill volumes for demolition waste. And in most cases, resource-friendly construction methods using locally sourced recycled concrete or asphalt are also more cost-effective. Passing on this know-how allows other cities and regions to exploit the potential for reusing demolition materials such as concrete and asphalt.

Current projects in the City presented by experts

An interdisciplinary group of experts from the Building Surveyor’s Office, the Civil Engineering Office and the Environmental and Health Protection Service gave presentations outlining the experience of the City of Zurich in the use of recycled concrete, CO2-reduced cement and recycled asphalt. The delegates visited the recycled concrete mock-up wall, Heuried Sports Centre and the Kunsthaus building. The construction company Eberhard Bau AG provided insights into the production and processing of recycled concrete.

The many positive examples and pictures from Zurich prove that building with recycled materials is safe and inexpensive with no drawbacks from the aesthetic point of view. The City Match is part of the EU-funded programme UrbanWINS – innovative strategic plans for urban waste reduction and management.

Sonja Gehrig, Project Manager Environmental Policy, Environmetal and Health Protection Service 

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