How this major city in Norway plans to help rid its streets of traffic by 2019.

It's easy to see why Norway is one of the happiest countries in the world.

With delicious seafood at your fingertips and landscapes like this outside your window ... yep, that makes perfect sense.


Bergen, Norway. The Scandinavian nation is the fourth-happiest country in the world, according to recent findings by the World Happiness Report. Photo by Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images.

The European nation also means business when it comes to keeping Oslo, its capital city, green and pedestrian-friendly.

Green? Check. Pedestrian-friendly? Check-check! Photo via iStock.

On Oct. 19, 2015, Oslo politicians made an unprecedented announcement: Cars will be banned from the city center within the next four years to curb pollution.

Cars will be gone. Finished . Done-zo ... with a few exceptions.

The new law will stop all private vehicles from venturing through central Oslo, with only special cases allowed — like for vehicles carrying someone with a disability or transporting goods to businesses — Reuters reported.

Photo via iStock.

Some business owners have been hesitant to support the plan, believing the ban may impede their ability to draw customers, but local leaders think making the area more pedestrian-friendly will actually boost business.

"We want to have a car-free center. We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists ... it will be better for shops and everyone."
— Lan Marier Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for Norway's Green Party in Oslo

According to the Oslo City Council, this will make Oslo the first European capital city to implement such a sweeping and permanent ban on motor vehicles.

Paris has tried going car-free for a day, Beijing did the same — for two weeks — and London and Madrid have congestion fees to curb traffic. But this bold new plan from Oslo, a city of more than 600,000 people, is in a league of its own.

The ban is part of Oslo's robust strategy to slash carbon emissions and craft a friendlier city for bikers and pedestrians.

Oslo's car-eliminating plan is just one way to cut greenhouse gases significantly — a feat the city has been prioritizing in recent years — The Guardian reported. It also just announced it's officially divesting from fossil fuels, becoming the first capital city in the world to commit to go fossil-free.

Photo via iStock.

Local leaders recognize they can't simply disallow cars without accommodating those who still need to get around town, though. They're planning to create at least 37 more miles of bike lanes throughout Oslo, as well as allocate a "massive boost" of resources toward improving public transit systems.

The idea is to reduce automobile traffic by 30% throughout the city in the next 15 years. Even then, cars on the road will have to be way more eco-friendly.

"In 2030, there will still be people driving cars," Berg said at a news conference. "But they must be zero-emissions [cars]."

Photo by Cornelius Poppe/AFP/Getty Images.

Let me get this straight. A forward-thinking city — filled with happy people and delicious seafood, no less — that clearly takes pollution seriously?

BRB, I'm moving to Oslo.

Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
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