Key Green Infrastructure Practices, and Issues to be Resolved
The Green Infrastructure Consultation on May 11th 2004 provided a timely and strategic opportunity to formally launch the Green Infrastructure Partnership and broaden awareness of the goals and objectives of the Partnership in developing a Model Subdivision Bylaw and Green Infrastructure Standards.
Consultation participants included representatives with expertise in the jurisdictions and with the projects that have embraced some aspect of green infrastructure. It also included practitioners who are at the forefront of developing green infrastructure practices (architects, developers, engineers, biologists, and transportation planners).
Each of these practitioners was asked to make a 5-minute statement on best development practices. There were two parts to each presentation. First, each reflected on what they believed are the key green infrastructure best practices used today in their area of expertise. Then each addressed key issues yet to be resolved.
A Perspective on Rainwater Management
Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, spoke about rainwater management and his work as the principal author of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in 2002.
“I shared a number of key messages, in particular the importance of judging progress by the distance traveled, not the distance remaining to reach the goal or the destination,” stated Kim Stephens. “We have come a long way in just four years. Our experience in bringing the vision to fruition for the UniverCity Sustainable Community on Burnaby Mountain provides relevant context. It was not that long ago that the project was hanging by a thread. We have been successful in overcoming fear and doubt.”
“We talk a lot about the need for, and importance of, INTEGRATION. But we have not yet achieved integration of perspectives. Nor have we achieved integration of land use planning with rainwater management. We are still paying lip service because many land use and infrastructure practitioners are not comfortable operating outside their comfort zones.”
UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain
“In 2000, translating high expectations for UniverCity into practical design guidelines meant revisiting accepted drainage engineering practice,” continued Kim Stephens.
“We were literally hanging on by our fingernails. At the time, it was Patrick Condon who said…‘if we fail, it will be a generation before anyone will even have the opportunity to try again; so we must not fail’…Well, we did not fail! And because we succeeded with East Clayton and UniverCity, those hard-fought successes have ultimately made it possible to talk about successes.
“The UniverCity experience, and in particular the Water Balance Methodology that was the key to overcoming fear and doubt, later became the heart of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. This then triggered development of the Water Balance Model for British Columbia, which in turn led to formation of the Green Infrastructure Partnership.
To Learn More:
Download the AGENDA.
Download the DISCUSSION PAPER that was distributed to participants prior to the workshop.
Download LIST OF PARTICIPANTS (Green Infrastructure Panel, Invited Observers and Interested Consultants)
Download the complete text of the commentary by Kim Stephens.