Vancouver Plans To Be The Greenest City In 2020, And Here’s How They’ll Do It
With millions of people moving from the suburbs into cities around the world, it’s hard to imagine not having a parking spot for your car. Years ago, residential and retail buildings were built with giant parking lots and garages that could accommodate everyone occupying the building. Today, with space at a premium, that landscape is changing significantly. Many of those lots are being demolished to make room for more offices, condos, and retail space. Cities have had to find ways to account for this growth and transformation, while still offering citizens the conveniences and amenities they’re accustomed to. It also means that cities have to find sustainable ways to provide these amenities. One such city accomplishing both goals is Vancouver.
Vancouver is experiencing tremendous growth in the downtown area, at a rate faster than anything they have seen in decades. They have also committed to a City Council–approved policy, “Greenest City 2020 Action Plan,” which delineates ten goal areas—in areas such as carbon emissions, waste, and the city’s ecosystem—with individual targets to obtain by 2020.
Zipcar has been serving the city of Vancouver since 2007, and with sustainability built into our business model, we’ve been working closely with residential partners to help achieve these 2020 goals. One example: Any new residential or mixed-use developments can take advantage of an incentive where five required parking spaces can be replaced with a single car share space.
It’s a plan that’s not only responsible, but also popular; adoption has already been significant. After all, parking spaces are expensive to build, and with car sharing models able to support the needs of many people, logic follows that the more car sharing members in a building, the fewer parking spots required, and, ultimately, the more money saved. Most importantly, it’s a win for resident urbanites, who quickly discover how easy it is to live car-free or car-light when convenient car sharing vehicles are literally just an elevator ride away.
The City of Vancouver has worked hard to execute this policy, and we’re excited to play a part. We believe it’s a smart and forward-thinking approach that other cities facing similar space and environmental concerns can learn from. We can’t wait to see what thoughtful and eco-friendly urban solutions emerge next.
This post originally appeared on Zipcar.com and is reprinted with permission.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.
Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Noting that house prices have been growing three times faster than incomes in the last two decades, OECD found that “housing has been the main driver of rising middle-class expenditure.” Moreover, OECD noted that the largest housing cost increases are in home ownership, not rents.
Housing largely determines the cost of living. For example, in the United States, more than 85% of the higher cost of living in the most expensive US metropolitan areas is in housing. Fundamentally, housing affordability is not about house prices; it is about house prices in relation to household incomes. Housing affordability cannot be assessed without metrics that include both prices and incomes.
OurStreets origins are rooted in capturing latent sentiment on social media and converting it to standardized data. It all started in July 2018, when OurStreets co-founder, Daniel Schep, was inspired by the #bikeDC community tweeting photos of cars blocking bike lanes, and built the @HowsMyDrivingDC Twitter bot. The bot used license plate info to produce a screenshot of the vehicle’s outstanding citations from the DC DMV website.
Fast forward to March 2020, and D.C. Department of Public Works asking if we could repurpose OurStreets to crowdsource the availability of essential supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. Knowing how quickly we needed to move in order to be effective, we set out to make a new OurStreets functionality viable nationwide.
The best nature-based solutions on urban industrial lands are those that are part of a corporate citizenship or conservation strategy like DTE’s or Phillips66. By integrating efforts such as tree plantings, restorations, or pollinator gardens into a larger strategy, companies begin to mainstream biodiversity into their operations. When they crosswalk the effort to other CSR goals like employee engagement, community relations, and/or workforce development, like the CommuniTree initiative, the projects become more resilient.
Air quality in urban residential communities near industrial facilities will not be improved by nature alone. But nature can contribute to the solution, and while doing so, bring benefits including recreation, education, and an increased sense of community pride. As one tool to combat disparate societal outcomes, nature is accessible, affordable and has few, if any, downsides.