“Currently, Australia has no consistent policy approach to GRGW except for the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne, which have policies that align with their respective 2030 and 2040 sustainability targets,” stated Sara Wilkinson. “Barriers to adoption here in Australia include installation and maintenance costs, and a lack of awareness, professional guidance and experience when it comes to working on projects involving this kind of green infrastructure.”
Implementation of Green Projects in British Columbia and Beyond
Vision for Kus-kus-sum estuary restoration in the Comox Valley: “This is a generational moment to create a legacy. Kus-kus-sum shines a light for many estuary communities in the province,” stated Tim Ennis, Executive Director, Comox Valley Land Trust
“After nearly 75 years, tides may soon flow again over Kus-kus-sum’s shoreline,” wrote Tim Ennis. “This is a generational moment for the Comox Valley to create a legacy based not on conquering nature, but a new era of collaborating to restore our relationships with the land and each other. One of its greatest values is that it’s literally creating common ground where citizens can imagine together with First Nations partners what a healthier, more inclusive and sustainable future looks like.”
“The Buttertubs Marsh pilot study added up the value of natural infrastructure, and found that environmental assets have dollar value,” says Rob Lawrance, City of Nanaimo environmental planner
Buttertubs Marsh is a bird and wildlife sanctuary located in the middle of the City of Nanaimo. The marsh is man-made. For anyone looking at a wetland or watercourse, the value is clear but it’s also subjective, said Rob Lawrance, who noted the study put the marsh in the context of a physical utility asset and a language city financial planners speak. The natural system is able to handle increased pressure and has resiliency, he said, adding it has more value than he thought.
“Flooding has become a deadly problem in China, especially in major cities. As this Economist article notes, the country’s urban land has more than doubled in the last 20 years, and cities sometimes expand right into the floodplains,” wrote Janice Kaspersen. “Sponge cities are an approach to what we commonly call green infrastructure—an attempt to reduce flooding and infiltrate stormwater runoff in some of the areas most affected by rapid urbanization.”
FLASHBACK TO 2004: City of Courtenay established a precedent when it was the first BC municipality to adopt and implement a ‘Soil Depth Policy’ for rainwater management
The policy was adopted in January 2004 immediately after the City became a founding member of the Water Balance Model Partnership. The requirement was included in the Official Community Plan. “Because the City places importance on the soil sponge as a rainwater management tool, we explored options to ensure that developers and house builders fulfil their obligations to provide and preserve the minimum required depth,” stated Sandy Pridmore.
Architect Stefano Boeri is passionate about green infrastructure and demonstrates the art of the possible. “Cities are two per cent of the entire Earth’s land surface, but they are producing 70 per cent of CO2. If we seriously want to deal with climate change, we have to study where climate change is produced. Forests absorb approximately 40 per cent of [man-made] CO2, so increasing the number of trees and plants inside a city is a crucial issue,” comments Stefano Boeri.
FLASHBACK TO 2006: “The urban environments that we can build using LID will be healthier, more sustainable and use less natural resources then the ones we grew up in,” stated Bert van Duin at the Cochrane Innovations in Urban Development Conference
“LID is a practical and cost-effective approach to reducing and/or better managing the impacts of urbanization on our landscape in order to leave a better place for our children and grandchildren,” stated Bert van Duin. This is an exciting turning point in how we can reduce the impacts of urban development on watersheds.”
FLASHBACK TO 2007: Township of Langley Showcased Green Infrastructure Innovation in Three New Neighbourhoods
The goal in showcasing innovation and celebrating successes was to promote networking, build regional capacity, and move ‘from awareness to action’ – through sharing of green infrastructure approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned. “After many years of what you would call research, we are now in the developmental phase,” stated Ramin Seifi in 2007 at the Langley event. “We will be monitoring and measuring what matters. This will enable residents and Council to maintain their focus over time.”
City as Platform is more than a tour, and more than just a conference session—it is a hands-on, collaborative learning experience in the field. First debuted at CNU 24 in Detroit, it made an encore appearance at CNU 25 in Seattle and featured the Belltown neighbourhood. It is an ideal laboratory, said Isabelle Giasson, for expanding GSI (Green Stormwater Infrastructure) to meet multiple community outcomes.
Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities: “Projected changes in land use and climate have nearly equivalent effects on flooding,” says Chris Jensen
“The effects that climate change may have on flood hazard is a concern for many local governments and citizens in British Columbia. Planning for future changes in precipitation is important, but it should not overshadow the significance that day-to-day development has on stream flows,” stated Chris Jensen. “Local governments may not be able to change future storm events, but they can affect how land is developed and redeveloped.”