On July 28, the Commission presented the findings of its Sustainable City of Sustainable Neighbourhoods project to the City of Vancouver Council’s Standing Committee on Planning and Environment.
The project began in 2009 as an exploration of how Vancouver can evolve into a sustainable city in ways that meet neighbourhood needs while advancing city-wide goals. Through workshops and meetings with citizens groups, non-profits and development firms, and through research into the City’s sustainability-based policies, numerous themes and concerns were identified.
These themes were shaped in collaboration with an advisory group of neighbourhood organizations into a set of questions to be discussed at a symposium of a diverse group of community and neighbourhood organizations.
At the symposium held in April, the groups identified strategies that could become the basis for practical actions to advance sustainability at the neighbourhood level.
The Sustainable Neighbourhoods project, including the development process and the symposium itself, yielded some unexpected outcomes, which are described in the Commission’s final report to Council and summarized on the Commission’s website. One of the most significant of these findings was the discovery that the most frequently cited attributes of a sustainable neighbourhood involved knowing your neighbours and feeling connected in the community.
Another important finding was the priority assigned to building neighbourhood organizational capacity as a pre-condition for embracing broad sustainability strategies in neighbourhoods.