Cork, Ireland takes pride in its commitment to smart urban development and sustainability.
Cork takes pride in its commitment to smart urban development and sustainability. With a diverse range of accolades and initiatives, Cork exemplifies how a city can seamlessly integrate responsible practices into its tourism model and daily life.
Leading by example
As a member of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities and a participant in the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, Cork's pioneering spirit is evident. Notably, it stands as one of the 100 EU Mission Cities striving to attain climate neutrality by 2030. To ensure the city is achieving its ambitious sustainability goals, Cork benchmarks its sustainability credentials with the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI). In the 2022 index, Cork ranked 22nd out of 69.
As part of Cork's commitment to reducing the city’s carbon footprint, and investing in smart technologies to achieve this, the ‘City Trees Project’ was launched in 2021. This included an investment of €350,000 for the installation of five "robot trees", or Air Quality Moss Walls, in the city to filter pollutants generated by traffic and improve ambient air quality. Each unit can sift an amount of air, equivalent to that needed by up to 7,000 people, every hour.
The city is also expanding its cycling infrastructure, aiming to deliver over 100 km of upgraded cycle facilities by 2025. Initiatives such as the and the comprehensive Cork Cycle Map contribute to a range of environmentally friendly transportation alternatives.
A ‘City of Welcomes’
Cork is devoted to being an open, welcoming and inclusive city. Cork was the first and only city on the island of Ireland to have become a member of the International Rainbow Cities Network, with a pledge to protect and enhance LGBTI+ rights and inclusion. To increase its inclusivity, Cork is also committed to expanding accessibility measures.
The creation of an 'Accessibility Guide' streamlines information about accessible attractions, transportation, hotels, and venues for visitors facing accessibility and mobility challenges. Additionally, a tourism brochure by Cork City Council offers insights into various attractions, complete with accessibility information.
Cork's commitment extends to fostering family-friendly experiences. Moreover, the 'Playful Pirate Culture Trail,' a collaborative endeavour among approximately 30 museums, galleries, and attractions, which makes cultural spaces more inviting, playful and family friendly.
Over 1,100 buildings and structures in Cork are designated as protected structures. Many of these are opened to the public on Cork Heritage Open Day, which has been running for 16 years. The traditional heritage sites have also been upgraded to incorporate new elements to expand the sites’ usage and attraction, such as the installation of a brand-new outdoor performance stage in the central courtyard of Elizabeth Fort in Cork City.
Cork is also an active participant in the national ‘Culture Night’ celebrations, running since 2006, during which arts and cultural organisations and venues across Ireland extend their opening hours to encourage and inspire public engagement, by running workshops, exhibitions and events free of charge. The festival has grown year-on-year and includes a selection of online events to accommodate people who might not be able to get out into the city in person.