Located in the very centre of its country, Ljubljana has been the capital of Slovenia since 1991.
2020, March 19th
According to Teleport, the city is a great place to live for reasons that vary from affordable housing to the safety and health care. Among these factors, Ljubljana has the highest score in Environmental Quality, meaning that the quality of the air, water, cleanliness and urban greenery are impeccable. It’s therefore no wonder the city has recently been awarded international ‘Tree City’ given the impressive care it dedicates to its Green life. Moreover, the city of Ljubljana is proud to be a cycling-friendly city and is constantly working on promoting the use of the most ecological means of transport. With its sustainable tourism, Ljubljana is a unique place for relaxing and tasting nature. Last but not least, the city is marked by a diverse high-quality cultural and numerous sports events for all generations.
Ljubljana is among the most accessible European capitals for cycling, and among the cities which have invested most in this mode of transport. As it stands now, 37% walk, 12% ride a bicycle, 13% use public transportation, and 38% drive a car. 16% of the journeys are made by bicycle, and there are approximately 300 kilometres of bicycle lanes. On a global scale, these numbers are impressive: there are more Km of protected cycle tracks in Ljubljana than in all of Canada.
One factor that helped the city to reach a cycling environment is certainly the implementation of the BicikeLJ, a bike-share system. As of today, almost 200,000 users are registered in the system, and around 23% of them are active. In 2019 there were 1,139,738 rentals recorded, for 610 bikes available in 61 different stations.
Although these numbers are inspiring and admirable, the city of Ljubljana has no intention of slowing down its transformation into a walking and biking city. In fact, during the European Mobility Week 2019, they successfully implemented all planned measures, activities and events. One of the most popular activities was the free-of-charge bike repair shop for all citizens.
Shifting the focus from cycling to walking, it must be mentioned that since 2007 the city initiated the gradual closure of the city centre to all motor vehicles, allowing bikers and pedestrians to enjoy more than 10 hectares of surfaces in the city centre. Another initiative taken by the city was to shorten the distances with bridges and footbridges, which also resulted in the creation of new public spaces along the river. Last but not least, mandatory to mention is the Kavalir. Kavalirs are electric vehicles granted for free to residents and visitors, to be used in all pedestrian areas. A specialized driver uses it to transport up to 5 passengers at a time. By the end of 2017, the Kavalir vehicles have transported more than 1.2 million passengers.
The citizens of Ljubljana enjoy a large supply of parks where they can exercise and be active in the nature. Moreover, the city provides free use of 150 sports facilities.
With 22 sports islands with outdoor fitness equipment for everyone, 4 jogging tracks (Tivoli, Mostec, Zadvor, Črnuče), 8 sports islands with free-range equipment for everyone and 13 street exercise devices, the residents are in fact encouraged to spend their spare time actively through new recreational and green areas, which have been over the last ten years increased by as much as 329,500m2.
Research data for this Health Profile shows that 13.8% of Ljubljana residents exercise intensively every day, and 61.4% of people exercise several times a week. 16.8% of people exercise just a few times a month or a few times a year. The remainder cannot exercise for various reasons such as illness or disability.
Concerning schools and education in general, Ljubljana is successfully active in this sector by granting equal opportunities in education to all children, especially children from socially challenging environments and children, adolescents and adults with special needs.
In addition, sport education and activity are fairly promoted and supported. Most students are in fact engaged in unorganized sports activities. Male students engage in sports activity more often than female students do. For the former, the main motivations to participate are enjoyment, challenge, social recognition, affiliation, competition, strength but also endurance. For the latter however, motivations evolve around stress and weight management, health prevention, positive health, appearance and nimbleness.
Allowing inhabitants to reach their workplaces on bike is an implicit encouragement and promotion of active lifestyles.
Other private sport associations have been founded to provide all types of sport activities to answer the preferences of individuals. From children to adults, adolescents to elderly, everyone has their own choice in terms of sports club to join. Citizens of Ljubljana need not be afraid of sit-down jobs, because their caring city offers them an extensive amount of opportunities to move, exercise and commit to a stable work-exercise life.