Sustainable City of Sustainable Neighbourhoods

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Overview

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Click to view mini-site with videos, flip charts, session summaries from the Sustainable Cities of Sustainable Neighbourhoods project

The main focus of the Commission’s work during 2009-2011 was the challenge of how Vancouver can evolve into a sustainable city in ways that meet neighbourhood needs while advancing city-wide goals. Direct links to reports and materials can be found here.

Beginning as an exploration of how we can accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices in a context shaped by urgent global challenges, the initiative came to centre on neighbourhoods as essential partners and became an exploration of the theme:

A sustainable city of sustainable neighbourhoods

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Discussion group at April 2011 symposium

The idea of a City of Neighbourhoods emerged from the 1990s CityPlan* process and has been at the heart of many planning initiatives. As a "broad vision,” CityPlan set directions for the next 20 to 30 years. It has provided the foundation for a broad web of city-wide policies in areas including transportation, economy, downtown development and corporate planning, and also a neighbourhood-based vision and implementation program.

In reviewing CityPlan’s directions for a City of Neighbourhoods, the Commission noted that the City’s efforts to implement policies with the intent of enhancing sustainability are sometimes met with resistance at the neighbourhood level, often with claims that the impacts conflict with CityPlan directions and undermine sustainability. Recent examples include HEAT shelters and STIR.*

In its initial research, the Commission numerous Council-adopted vision statements and policies that are supportive of sustainability goals. The policies relate to transportation, social sustainability, green buildings, parks and many other areas, and some are at the leading edge of urban sustainability policies. However, these visions and policies are not aggregated and organized in a way that is readily accessible to citizens.

If the City is to meet ambitious sustainability goals, many elements will need to be co-ordinated and aligned - policies, regulations, resources and the City’s organizational capacity. The passion, energy and creativity of Vancouver’s citizens are among those elements.

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Symposium participants offered a wide range of ideas about essential features of neighbourhood sustainability.

More on the Sustainable Neighbourhoods project: Background

Direct links to reports, materials and videos: Reports and Videos

At City of Vancouver website:
*CityPlan Overview (CityPlan)
*Homeless Emergency Action Team Shelter Spaces (HEAT)
*Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR)