Sønderborg, Denmark

  • City population: 
  • City/Urban area: 
  • Population Density: 
    Less than 300 inhabitants per km²
  • GDP – city: 
    More than USD 25,000
  • GDP - country: 
    USD$ 56,394
  • Average number of years of schooling: 

Sustainable development and the ‘4-17-42’ way of thinking

To propel development, the city of Sønderborg is prioritising three interdisciplinary areas: citizenship, health and sustainability.

Vision and motivation

It is Sønderborg’s intention to augment the positive outcomes of current projects focused on environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability. The city expects to further enhance the quality of learning, intensify external partnerships, and engage all citizens in the process of becoming a learning city.

Challenges and goals

Apart from having achieved outstanding results in the reduction of CO2, Sønderborg continues the pursuit of its efforts to:

  • become a sustainable city;
  • expand learning in informal spaces; and
  • intensify the use of modern technologies in the learning process

Plan and implementation

The ‘4-17-42’ way of thinking is Sønderborg’s main project as a Learning City. The three figures 4, 17 and 42 stand for:

  • The 4 policies for sustainability:
    • the Environmental sustainability policy;
    • the Economic sustainability policy;
    • the Social sustainability policy; and
    • the Cultural sustainability policy
  • A link to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Investing into quality education for all, sustainable energy and global partnerships for sustainability.
  • The 42 Key Features for Learning Cities: Ensuring coherent thinking and linking activities with tools to monitor results and boost development.
  • In addition, ProjectZero offers scientific and educational tools promoting a ZEROcarbon future from Kindergarten to PhD levels and envisions sustainability as a natural way of living.

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