Green Infrastructure

Green communities – ‘today’s expectations are tomorrow’s standards’ is a provincial government mantra in British Columbia. Since the built and natural environments are connected, design with nature to protect watershed function. The Green Communities Initiative provides a policy, regulatory and program framework for enabling local governments to create more compact, more sustainable and greener communities. Lead by example. Showcase innovation. Celebrate successes.

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What is “Green Infrastructure”? – Looking back to understand the origin, meaning and use of the term in British Columbia

“Two complementary strategies can ‘green’ a community and its infrastructure: first, preserving as much as possible of the natural green infrastructure; and secondly, promoting designs that soften the footprint of development,” wrote Susan Rutherford. “Green infrastructure design is engineering design that takes a ‘design with nature’ approach, to both mitigate the potential impacts of existing and future development and growth and to provide valuable services.”

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“The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is the keeper of the GIP legacy,” observes Paul Ham, a Past-Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership

“I see my years of chairing the Green Infrastructure Partnership as helping to get the ball rolling and ideas disseminated, on green infrastructure, all of which has subsequently been taken up by others to a much greater degree of implementation and success. Our efforts a decade ago moved the state of-the-art of green infrastructure to a more mainstream level,” said Paul Ham.

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What do Boise, Idaho and London, England have in common? – These Urban Cities Are Investing In Smart And Green Infrastructure

Boise uses geothermal energy to heat more than six million square feet of downtown building space, about 90 buildings and is the largest-direct-use system in the United States. “Sustainability for us is all about the triple bottom line – community, economy and environment,” said Boise Mayor David Bieter . “Being green is important, but only if those changes can become part of the very fabric of who we are as a community, how our local businesses prosper and grow, and how we protect those key elements that make Boise such a special place to call home.”

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XIONGAN NEW AREA: “Is China’s ‘city of the future’ a replicable model? Success of Xiong’an’s ambitious green experiment seems guaranteed but its strength may make it hard to emulate,” writes Li Jing

“As part of its green initiatives, Xiong’an will become a testing ground for innovative green financing tools to fund projects to clean up local water systems, build energy-saving buildings and public transportation systems. Whilst the commitment to sustainable development is commendable, the real environmental benefits of Xiong’an’s green experiments are questionable considering the area suffers from chronic water scarcity and severe ecological degradation,” wrote Li Jing.

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DESIGNING WITH NATURE IN NEW YORK CITY: “For better resiliency, don’t just try to defeat nature—work with it,” says Carter Strickland, New York state director of The Trust for Public Land

“Before Hurricane Sandy, most New Yorkers felt immune from natural disasters. We don’t experience frequent tornadoes like parts of the Midwest, earthquakes like California, or droughts and wildfires that have scorched much of the west. Sandy was our wakeup call for how climate change will have significant and widespread affects,” wrote Carter Strickland. “By including innovative parks and playgrounds in our long-term planning, New York City can serve as a model for American coastal cities looking for ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

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Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow’s World (2017): “What is needed is a new approach, based on futures thinking, which embeds the ideas of ecological and social resilience into the very fabric of the built environment of cities,” says Malcolm Eames, editor

“Today, a key challenge for policy and decision makers globally is how best to develop the knowledge and capacity to use resources more sustainably. Governments in the UK and across the world are therefore introducing increasingly challenging targets to reduce the impact we have on our environment,” stated Dr. Malcolm Eames. “However, in what is an increasingly urbanised world, ‘piecemeal’ change cannot equip cities, as major foci of global population, to rise to the challenges of climate change. “

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MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE: Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney conclude that Australian cities are lagging behind in greening up their buildings

“We modelled what could be delivered in the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne based on the measures taken in Singapore (which is voluntary-heavy), London (voluntary-light), Rotterdam (voluntary-medium) and Toronto (mandatory). We combined this with data on actual green building projects in 2017 in Sydney and Melbourne to show the potential increase of projects in each city based on the four policies,” stated Paul Brown.

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GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IN AUSTRALIA: Two years after launching the award-winning Cool Streets project in Sydney’s Blacktown, landscape architect Libby Gallagher remains a staunch advocate for the role that street trees play in mitigating the impacts of climate change and making better cities

“Environmental issues can seem monumental and overwhelming. But if you give people an opportunity to engage with something at their front door, suddenly they feel empowered to start making a positive difference,” stated Dr. Libby Gallagher. “It’s a process of empowering residents to make the right choice for their street, and enabling people to meet each other on the street. This factor is critical in building resilience. It provides people with a sense of ‘this is something that I can do’.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2018): “The BC Framework refocuses business processes on how physical and natural assets are used to deliver services, and support outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and address risks,” wrote Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

“A game-changer flowing from Living Water Smart is ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’. Led by Asset Management BC, the BC Framework sets a strategic direction for local government service delivery,” stated Kim Stephens. “Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. Thus, integration of the Partnership’s work within the BC Framework should accelerate implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach at the heart of the ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ program.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2018): “BC municipalities and regional districts, their respective CAOs and staff would benefit from guidance to a common communications approach to enhance asset management practices,” wrote David Allen, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Courtenay

“Ironically, while AM BC has championed the need for sustainable service delivery, it has increasingly recognized the need to address its own sustainability in maintaining an independent and neutral position in supporting other local governments,” stated David Allen. “This is possibly why there has not yet been a collation of policy practices offered in support of CAOs and council/board elected officials where, from a public administrator’s perspective, something of that nature would be very useful.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Winter 2018): “Operationalizing Asset Management: It’s about People, Too” – David Love, City of Courtenay

“In the spring of 2016 ‘Operationalizing Asset Management’ was ready. We then developed a comprehensive change management plan consisting of workshops, presentations and dialogue amongst all the affected persons,” stated David Love. “The whole thing was led by the CAO, and supported by Council’s Asset Management Policy that had set guidelines for implementing an organization-wide Asset Management processes. This was completed in the fall and the changes were then implemented en masse.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2018): Spall but Mighty: A Closer Look at the Service Sustainability Assessment Tool in Action – Interview with Doug Allin, CAO, Township of Spallumcheen

“It can be daunting, particularly in small communities with limited staff. That’s why you need to start small. Just jump in and get going. Pick one aspect to focus on and start with a plan. One of the first things I do in any community is start with the education – from the inside out. We can’t embrace Asset Management if our decision-makers don’t know what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it will benefit our community,” stated Doug Allin. “It all starts with a conversation, and asking: Is that what we want for our community?”

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