what makes a sustainable city
September 28, 2010, 2:52 am
Filed under: betaCITY, Cities, density | Tags:


The true measure of sustainable living is per capita energy consumption or per capita footprint.  If you read articles that leave out the phrase per capita, be sceptical.  It’s probably telling you half the truth for one reason or another — trying to sell a perception of green; trying to sell a green product; trying to avoid making structural change by doling half measures.

Here’s an article about Vancouver which has it right.  The city has recognized that it is in density that per capita energy consumption is reduced.  But despite planning efforts, the greater Vancouver region ranks higher than desirable for per capita footprint.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Vancouver is often praised as one of the most liveable cities in the world with its location between the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. For many years, planners in Vancouver have worked towards a high-density city. Despite this, Vancouver – like most other North American cities – has a large environmental impact. Today, Greater Vancouver has 2.1 million residents and an ecological footprint of 6.7 hectares per capita. The ecological footprint available pr. capita is only 1.8 and thereby the ecological footprint of Greater Vancouver amounts to almost 300 times its geographical area. This is, however, not unusual for a North American city of the equivalent size.

From the article:

Eight pillars that support a sustainable city:
1: A complete walkable community
2: A low-impact transportation system
3: Green buildings
4: Flexible open space
5: Green infrastructure
6: A healthy food system
7: Community facilities and programmes
8: Economic development

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