Vancouver launches 'EcoDensity Initiative'

Vancouver, Canada (GLOBE-Net) – Vancouver City Council has voted unanimously to support a new planning and development strategy aimed at pursuing ‘high quality densification’. The EcoDensity Initiative will seek to change the way city planning is undertaken, to provide increased affordable housing and reduce the city’s ecological footprint.

The city will now engage in a year-long consultation process involving residents, planners, developers, researchers and community organizations. This will lead to the development of an ‘EcoDensity Charter’ which will guide future planning decisions.

Key elements of the plan include changes in zoning regulations and conventional housing to provide an increased number of affordable residential areas that are set within fully functioning communities.

To see how Klean Industries is contributing to “EcoDensity Initiative please click here.

The initiative has been championed by Mayor Sam Sullivan, who wishes to build upon Vancouver’s record of successful urban planning, such as the decision to keep the city core highway-free, and the combination of residential and commercial spaces in the downtown core which has made Vancouver one of the world’s most liveable cities.

“EcoDensity will not only reduce our ecological footprint as a city; it will enable us to expand housing choices, make home ownership more affordable, and provide for new investment in public amenities such as parks, cultural facilities and community centres,” said Mayor Sullivan.

Following consultations and studies, an EcoDensity Forum will be held in Spring 2007, to discuss the main goals of the plan:

  • Opportunities to improve housing affordability;
  • Increased housing supply including city-wide approaches for new housing;
  • Zoning designations which may allow fee-simple ownership of small lots or row housing;
  • Development of public amenities to meet the needs of new housing.
A key feature of the plan will be the support for a variety of housing options and investment in creating complete communities around densely populated neighbourhoods.

The initiative also includes the creation of an EcoDensity Toolkit to help citizens and professionals analyze the environmental implications of choices they make at home, in neighbourhoods and as a city.

“Since the EcoDensity concept was introduced, we have heard from residents, academics, environmentalists and the development community that they whole-heartedly support this initiative,” said Councillor Suzanne Anton.

The program was spurred by high levels of natural resource use in a city like Vancouver, says Sullivan in his outline for the plan. “Our city currently consumes resources and produces waste at a rate well beyond the planet’s ability to sustain and replenish,” the report says.

The Mayor’s report emphasizes the importance of cities as the economic drivers and environmental focal points of our society, and puts forward a goal to make Vancouver a ‘one-planet’ city, consuming resources at a rate that the natural environment can replenish. Along with the environmental aspects, diversifying housing and creating dense areas will also provide economic and social benefits for those living in the city, the Mayor says.

Read the outline of the EcoDensity Initiative here (PDF), click here.

The EcoDensity initiative was launched before the start of the United Nation’s World Urban Forum III, prompting discussion and feedback from conference participants. World leaders in city planning attended the event, providing a catalyst for sustainable urban strategies worldwide. Forum participants took home a set of actionable ideas that will help improve urban planning worldwide.

See article: World Urban Forum: Ideas for action click here.

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