Friday, December 13, 2013

Smart Growth: One of the most influential green movements in Canada




Is it possible to enhance your quality of life, without endangering the environment and spending too much money? These are the goals behind the Smart Growth movement, which are essentially a set of land use and development principles that aim to ensure fiscal, environmental, and social responsibility. Among its priorities are infill, green space protection, and redevelopment. 

How did Smart Growth BC begin?

It was initially a joint project between the University of Victoria Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy and West Coast Environmental Law Association. It was incorporated as a non-profit organization in December 1999, until it was acquired by the Canada Green Building Council in order to ensure its continuing legacy. 

What are the principles behind Smart Growth?

Smart Growth is driven by certain principles, and if your company believes in urban development practices that will help conserve environmental resources, then you should by all means adopt the following:

1.    Use land for different purposes. Neighbourhoods must make it a point to put up facilities for retail, business, and recreational purposes; this way, residents don’t have to go far to experience the same.

2.    Neighbourhoods must be well-designed and compact. Opportunities for working, shopping, playing and living must be within close proximity and accessibly by viable transit options.
3.    Different transportation choices must be provided. Roads must be designed in such a way that people can safely walk and cycle to their destination.

4.    Diversify housing opportunities. There must be different housing types to create varied opportunities for a wide range of family types and income levels.

5.    Encourage upscaling and growth in neighbourhoods. Investments in existing buildings and roads must be highly encouraged, instead of taking up new lands.

6.    Open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas must be preserved. As much as possible, developments must pay respect to these areas.

7.    Protect agricultural lands. Ultimately, these are the areas that will provide for food security and employment. With the ever-growing scarcity of food resources, make it a point to develop and protect agricultural lands.

8.    Build green buildings. They are much cheaper to maintain and will help you save money in the long run.

9.    Have a unique identity as a community. You must strive to have an identity of your community as unique, diverse, and inclusive. 

1.  Educate and engage citizens. More than the buildings, the citizens themselves must participate in decisions that will ultimately affect the welfare of the community.

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