Lausanne is green by nature. Extending from the floral quays of Ouchy to the forest of Jorat in the north, surrounded by the Lavaux vineyards to the east and those of La Côte to the west, the city also owns 350 hectares of public parks and gardens perfect for walks and relaxation, not to mention the man-made lake, the animal park and the 35-metre high observation tower in the forest of Sauvabelin. This means that over half of the area of the commune is covered in forests, countryside, vineyards and other expanses of greenery. In Lausanne, the quality of the environment has now become as much a guarantee of well-being for local residents as an element of welcome for its guests. Whether they are here on a private break or a business trip, the latter appreciate the cleanliness, the respect for nature, the development of green spaces and the policies put in place by the city to save energy and combat emissions.
In parallel with this, green (or soft) tourism has undergone rapid growth in recent years, whether for visits to the city’s wine-producing estates, a chambre d’hôte centred around ecotourism, guesthouses offering local produce, designated trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders or indeed sporting activities combining nature with physical exercise.
Visitors can admire the green assets of the city by taking any of the environmentally friendly means of transport provided for them. Not only are the city’s many pedestrian zones conducive to walks, whether individual, audio-guided, unusual, themed or for children, but self-service bicycle hire is also available and a compact public transport network (mostly electric or powered by natural gas) makes the whole urban area of Lausanne easily accessible – and free of charge with the Lausanne Transport Card issued by hotels to their tourist guests. The m2, an automated metro on tyres linking the north and south of the city, was added to the m1 line in 2008, which serves the University and the Federal Institute of Technology, among others. Capable of climbing inclines of up to 12%, this metro is an internationally unique feat of engineering. A third metro line – the m3 – running from the city centre towards the north of the city and La Blécherette should be started by 2018. This provision is rounded off by the solar-powered boats Les Aquarel du Léman and the park & ride system, which allows city-centre roads to be kept clear. The shores of the lake from Ouchy to Vidy are enjoyed by people on scooters, skateboards and roller skates during the high season.
Apart from soft mobility, Lausanne excels particularly well in energy and waste management, in the development of renewable energies and in raising levels of awareness among its residents. These actions take the form of a number of amenities and initiatives such as, for example, the development of district heating, the refurbishment of official buildings, lthe creation of thousands of sustainable homes, the subsidisation of electric two-wheelers, the installation of photovoltaic systems on the roofs of various buildings, the start-up of the new Tridel plant for the incineration of waste and the city’s involvement in hydro-electric, wind-power and biomass projects.
Sustainable development represents one of the four pillars of excellence in the municipality of Lausanne, alongside culture, education and research, sport and Olympism. The city embarked on this path in the 1990s by ensuring that all the local government services reflected a respect for the environment and the integration of nature into modern town planning. Numerous local actors – particularly in tourism – have likewise embarked on this path, including institutions of higher education such as the EPFL and the Hotel School, hotels such as the Lausanne Guesthouse and the Mövenpick Hotel Lausanne, and associations along the lines of NiceFuture, which seeks to take concrete measures throughout French-speaking Switzerland to make consumers more responsible in their day-to-day behaviour.
In its capacity as Olympic Capital, Lausanne is also a co-founder and signatory of the World Union of Olympic Cities (WUOC), which aims to apply ecological principles to the sites for the Games.
In 2014 Lausanne was awarded the title of “European Energy Award Cité de l'énergie Gold”, its second such award in ten years.
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