* You are viewing Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

5 Takes on Sustainable Local Economies

A significant component of sustainability is  developing and fostering strong local economies. Why? Well, people often conceptualize regional economies using economic base theory, of which one part is the idea of leakage. Basically, when people who live in a community spend money outside of their community or spend money with a business that takes money outside of their community, money “leaks” out of the area. Large retail chains and businesses owned by multi-national firms have high rates of leakage for local economies. Leakage also happens when people travel to another community and spend money there (i.e. tourism, but this helps bring in capital to the tourist destination). So, encouraging locally-owned businesses helps to stem leakage, keeps locally-earned dollars circulating within a community, and generally promotes prosperity and job-creation in the region. This is what makes it literally sustainable.

So what … Continue Reading

Empowering Youth through Food Sustainability and Healthy Communities

As the idea of healthy communities is becoming a popular way to sneak sustainability into popular planning discourse, I thought it would be interesting to write about a youth empowerment program that is promoting health and organic food systems.

The Food Empowerment Education and Sustainability Team (FEEST) is a Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association program, outside of Seattle, WA. FEEST’s purpose is to create a safe space for youth to gather to grow, prepare, and share healthy, delicious food, while becoming actively engaged in issues of food resources and the built environment in their lives.

FEEST’s young members lead Wednesday organic dinners at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Monthly dinners are open to the community on the condition that … Continue Reading

Integrated Systems Planning for Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Planning Pool authors, Daniella F. and Dylan M. are at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, NC, for the next few days. We’re going to be liveblogging the more interesting conference proceedings. You can follow us on twitter @planningpool or with the hashtag #np4sg2011.

Who here works for a local government?

HDR is an architecture/engineering/consulting firm headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, that has over 180 locations worldwide. The company was commissioned by Corpus Christi to formulate the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy necessary for the City to receive ARRA funds (stimulus funds) in the form of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG). The $3.2 billion EECBG program was modeled after the Community Block Grant program. Corpus Christi was awarded $2.5 million. … Continue Reading

See you at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference!

Planning Pool will liveblogging from the 10th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Charlotte, NC this week. This conference is organized by the Local Government Commission, a non-profit that promotes more livable communities.

You can follow @planningpool on Twitter or the #np4sg2011 hashtag to hear all about it.

What’s going to make this conference so interesting? Well, for all of you in Canada or the Pacific Northwest, it will be really interesting to see what kind of discussion about Smart Growth there is in a city that is famous for its suburban character. In other words, some things that you take for granted, like urban growth boundaries or inclusive zoning for affordable housing, are much more hotly contested here in NC.

The conference is going to cover smart growth, as well as healthy … Continue Reading

Vancouver Master Plan Project

This fall, I had the honor of participating in the creation of the first large-scale master plan for the city of Vancouver, Canada since the 1920s. Fourteen landscape architecture and three planning graduate students contributed to the plan, which tackles envisioning how the lower density portion of the city outside the downtown core will accommodate the growth expected over the next 40 years. View the finished document here (35MB PDF file behind the link). 

Student Mary Wong’s depiction of a Production, Distribution, Repair Typology transitioning to an existing single family home with residential densities in between. Used with permission.

Professor Patrick Condon’s recent book Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities provided a basis for the interdisciplinary studio, and Condon required that the plan reflect a doubling of Vancouver’s population … Continue Reading

Urban Cemetery Update!

I have had a few more thoughts on green cemetery practices. I recently happened upon a sidewalk garden that is apparently being nourished by a cherished pet. The idea of resting where you lived and becoming a part of the scenery is an attractive one. How can this be accomplished in urban settings?

Burial marker for a beloved pet, on a residential roadside in Vancouver, BC. Photo by author.

Promession is a procedure similar to cremation that essentially results in compost. The body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, reduced to powder through ultrasonic vibration, and filtered of metals, which are recycled. The remainder is rapidly biodegradable and can be buried or scattered.

According to Barbara Higham, by confronting … Continue Reading

Attention Canadian Planning Students! 2011 CAPS-ACÉAU Conference in Waterloo, ON

The School of Planning at the University of Waterloo is proud to be hosting the 2011 Canadian Association of Planning Students – L’Association Canadienne des Étudiants en Aménagement et en Urbanisme (CAPS-ACÉAU) conference February 3-5th in Waterloo, Ontario. The annual CAPS-ACÉAU conference is Canada’s premier student planning event which provides networking opportunities between planning students, faculty and professionals, provides students with a platform to present their research, and sparks active debate on planning and design-related issues leading to innovation throughout the profession.

The theme of the 2011 conference is Resilience: Planning for Dynamic Futures. Resilience is entering the minds of planners at a time when socioeconomic changes are intensifying and increasingly affecting our daily lives. Characterized by a community’s … Continue Reading

Triple Bottom Line

John Knott’s development model combines a non-profit support structure with green building and social responsibility. Photo by author.

John Knott, unofficially referred to throughout this year’s Gaining Ground Summit as God, was the source of hope and inspiration on multiple fronts. In his lecture entitled “Capital Master Planning for Sustainable Communities: the Idea of the EcoBank,” he spoke about his Noisette Project and elaborated on the EcoBank concept.

A third generation developer, Knott understands that creating healthy and sustainable communities involves first healing social dysfunction and then dealing with economic dysfunction. Establishing a socially durable community uses a process similar to corporate strategic planning and has the same benefits of accessing great ideas and creating buy-in and ownership for the plan.

Redevelopment of Noisette, a … Continue Reading

Logic of EcoLogical

Thanks to Gary Oppenheim on Flickr for this evocative Creative Commons photo

Jennie Moore, Director of Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship at the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Construction and the Environment, gave a thought-provoking talk. Key points that stuck with me were three paradoxes of sustainability.

Paradoxes of Sustainability

1. Efficiency – doing more with less

BUT Where do the savings go? There is always a rebound effect, with an ultimate increase in demand

2. Growth – “the rising tide lifts all boats”

BUT the bottom billion are still there. The law of competitive advantage applies, with those at the top benefiting the most from growth.

3. Information – more and better information will help solve problems more effectively

BUT we are losing the information we need to live sustainably … Continue Reading

Sustainable Transport Ideas: Cycling in Amsterdam

The view from the top level of the multi-storey bicycle parking lot near Amsterdam's Central Station. Photo by author.

Amsterdam is one of the most frequently-cited examples of a cycle-friendly city, and I recently had the opportunity to experience it from the perspective of the cyclist, the pedestrian, the automobile passenger, and the transit user. I was not disappointed by the transport network from any perspective, and was most impressed by the infrastructure that allows cycling to be a dominant form of transport in the city. Cyclists are accommodated by a vast network of well-connected bicycle lanes, traffic-calmed streets, and plentiful bicycle parking (though still not enough).

Amsterdam’s canal streets are, for the most part, traffic calmed to allow cyclists easy passage without dedicated cycle lanes. Cycle lanes on other … Continue Reading

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