Study Tour to Switzerland

In order to enhance the capacities of the city authorities and enable the transfer of knowledge and best practices on integrating climate measures in urban planning to our four partner cities, a study tour to Switzerland was organised in the month of October 2018.

The Indian delegation comprised of

  1. Asok Bhattacharya, Mayor, Siliguri Municipal Corporation
  2. Udaykumar Prabhatbhai Kangad, Standing Committee Chairman, Rajkot Municipal Corporation
  3. Mukul Sengupta, Member Mayor in Council, Siliguri Municipal Corporation
  4. Sugumar Kandaswamy, Smart City Cell Advisor, Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation
  5. Kishorbhai Pitambarbhai Dethariya, Deputy Executive Engineer, Rajkot Municipal Corporation
  6. Emani Kumar, Co-Team Leader, CapaCITIES
  7. Soumya Chaturvedula, City Coach, Rajkot
  8. Monalisa Sen, City Coach, Siliguri
  9. Ashish Rao Ghorpade, City Coach, Udaipur
  10. C Sellakrishnan, City Associate, Coimbatore
  11. Ankit Makvana, City Associate, Rajkot
  12. Souhardhya Chakraborty, City Associate, Siliguri
  13. Bhupandra Salodia, City Associate, Udaipur

October 22, 2018 – Zurich

Meeting with Ms. Yuka Greiler, Head of Division Global Program on Climate Change: The delegation was welcomed by Ms. Yuka Greiler, Head of Division Global Program on Climate Change on behalf of SDC at the entrance of the City Hall of Zurich. After a round of introductions, Ms. Greiler provided a brief background of the city’s history, economics, its challenges and initiatives undertaken to tackle various issues of climate change.


Meetings with the city officials of Zurich: Following this, the delegation was led to the City Hall, where they were welcomed by Mr. Gunther Arber, Head City Development and Ms. Martina Blum, Team Member Energy Delegate, Zurich. Mr. Arber presented the history of Zurich’s urban and economic development, its political and administrative structure, demography, and way the use of space evolved in the city. Ms. Blumprovided the delegation with an overview presentation on Zurich’senergy policy and its journey towards sustainability.


City Visit: The delegation was taken on a tour around the city of Zurich by Mr.Reto Dettli and Mr. Hans Peter Egler. The two-hour tour focused on points of interests pertaining to city development, history, recent planning, designing and engineering initiatives, and effective utilization of space. The tour started at Bahnoffstrasse and ended at the econcept office at Gerechtigkeitsgasse.

Presentation and Discussion on European and Swiss Instruments for Communal Energy Policy: At the econcept office, the group was joined by Mr. Beat Meier, who along Mr.Dettli discussed about the European and Swiss Instruments for Communal Energy Policies, European Energy Awards and the four Climate Resilient City Action Plans that have been developed through the CapaCITIES project.

October 23, 2018 – Zurich

Site Visit to Waste Incineration Plant and Waste Management Plant of the City of Zurich: Ms.Mirjam Macchi Howell, Program Manager, Global Programme Climate Change Environment, SDC joined the delegation for a guided tour of the waste to energy plant at Hagenholz. Ms. Howell along with the delegation was welcomed by Mr. Peter Kreuzer, Head Data Management, ERZ City of Zurich and Mr.Daniele Todaro, Project Manager, ERZ City of Zurich. The site visit of the waste incineration plant of Zurich included a view of the incoming waste aggregation point, the different units where the waste gets processed for incineration, the incineration unit and the recycling unit. Each unit’s function was explained in detail by Mr.Todaro. It was explained that the waste to energy plant processes more than 100,000 tons of waste per year to produce heat and electricity.

Development of City Climate Action Plans for CapaCITIES: The discussions at econcept focussed on the four Climate Resilient City Action Plans and aligning the same with the Energy Awards. The discussion focussed to a major extent on the CRCAP of Siliguri as that has been adopted by the city through a council resolution.

Finance of Projects, Green Bonds, Bankable Projects: The workshop at South Pole focussed on project financing, bankable projects and green bonds.

Discussions with Energie 360o AG: Following these workshops, the entire delegation visited the Energie 360o AG office for a better understanding of the energy policies of Zurich city.

October 24, 2018 – Zurich-Basel-Freiburg

Visit to Waste Water Treatment with Energy Production:The delegation led by Mr.Egler was taken on a guided tour to the waste water treatment facility of Werdholzli. The facility doubles up as a biogas recovery facility besides being a waste water treatment facility. The two waste streams, namely sewage sludge and biowaste, get separated at the facility which are then directed into separate digesters. Thedigestateis used as fertiliser, post methane recovery. Being the largest of its kind in Switzerland, the facility caters to a Zurich city population of more than 400,000.

Post lunch the delegation left for Freiburg to attend the Local Renewables (LR) 2018 Conference. On the way, the delegation along with other invitees to the LR 2018 was hosted for dinner at Basel by the city administration led by the Mayor of Basel.

Learnings from the various site visits:

  • The city of Zurich, once a drug haven, evolved into a city known for its service sector worldwide. The city has demonstrated that with adequate political will and administrative accountability, disrepute can be transformed into global renown. Many Indian cities which face problems of varying nature can take a cue from Zurich in this regard.
  • The energy policies of Zurich city demonstrate a strong commitment towards sustainability and tackling different issues of climate change. This being the need of the hour is actively supported by political parties and the bureaucracy, to the extent that energy policies feature in the election manifestoes.
  • Urban planning in Zurich seamlessly integrates with transport planning, exhibiting a genuine transit oriented development. While it was easier to do this in greenfield areas, it was not so in the brownfield areas. The brownfield areas have witnessed and are witnessing large scale demolition and remodelling to ensure that transport routes are seamless. This again demonstrates that the priorities of the political parties and the bureaucracy are in sync, which closely adheres to the city’s and citizens’ needs.
  • The roads of Zurich are highly pedestrian and non-motorized transport friendly.
  • Public transport occupies the first right to roads, and is highly efficient. The rides are comfortable, frequent and punctual, and the use of technology for ticketing is highly efficient.
  • The waste incineration plant of Hagenholzabides by the promise of “zero landfill” policy of Switzerland. In the annals of sustainable solid waste management, landfilling is the least favoured option, and the Hagenholz facility follows just that, a lesson that Indian cities should also put into implementation.