Watershed Case Profile Series: Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township – 'Design with Nature' to Create Liveable Neighbourhoods
Design with nature, a whole-system approach, learn by doing and adapt. These three phrases capture the essence of how the Township builds neighbourhoods. “There are many staff members that have made this happen,” stated Mayor Jack Froese. “Council makes policy and we approve policies. And then it is our wonderful staff that carry out the policies. And so, I certainly want to recognize the work that they have done.”
DESIGN WITH NATURE BECAUSE: "The reality of climate change has exposed the hubris of the pave, pipe and pump mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century," wrote Sophie Knight in an article for the Guardian newspaper's resilient cities page
“As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it’s not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms that can cause disaster: it’s urbanisation,” observed Sophie Knight. “A recent survey of global city authorities carried out by the environmental non-profit CDP found 103 cities were at serious risk of flooding. With climate change both a reality and threat, many architects and urbanists are pushing creative initiatives for cities that treat stormwater as a resource, rather than a hazard.”
Interview offers insight into ‘watershed / stream’ approach: What makes BC’s stormwater approach different than other jurisdictions in North America?
James Careless had an assignment to look into stormwater modelling tools (for projecting flow and other patterns); both to determine the most common tools used, and some of the most innovative approaches that are coming into use. His research into BC’s water balance approach led him to switch gears from an examination of modelling tools to learning what ‘establishing watershed objectives for stormwater management’ means in practice.
SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “The Gibsons Eco-Asset Strategy allows the Town to bring the value of nature into the DNA of municipal decision-making,” states Emanuel Machado, Chief Administrative Officer
Gibsons is leading by example in successfully implementing its visionary Eco-Asset Strategy. The Town is the Living Laboratory for the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative. It is also a demonstration application for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management. “Since declaring Nature its most valuable infrastructure asset, the Town has integrated the Eco-Asset Strategy into everything that the municipality does,” states Emanuel Machado.
BACKGROUNDER SERIES ON SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: Governments of Canada and British Columbia fund water balance tools and resources for climate adaptation action (September 2017)
“Local governments in British Columbia already face a $200 billion challenge for renewal of aging hard infrastructure. And now, as communities face the increasing impacts of climate change, there is another unfunded liability – the cost to restore watershed hydrology and water resilience in the built environment,” stated Kim Stephens. “British Columbia has arrived at a fork in the road. How, and how quickly, will communities respond? And how will they adapt over time to the New Normal? “
ANNOUNCEMENT: Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia re-builds and re-launches waterbalance.ca website for easy access to an array of online tools that support the vision for "Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management" (Sept 2017)
“The current industry-wide move to on-line computation, propelled by changing approaches to software delivery as a multitude of enterprises commit to The Cloud, is hugely important,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney. “The leadership shown by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in decisively moving in this direction well over a decade ago has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn.”
SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: Flood, drought, fire, wind and cold – because extreme events are becoming the norm…..
As communities face the increasing impacts of climate change, there is an unfunded liability – the cost to restore watershed hydrology and water resilience in the built environment. “The Partnership for Water Sustainability is evolving, online tools that support implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach. British Columbia, Washington State and California are leaders. We are moving forward in parallel on this journey,” states Jim Dumont.
FLASHBACK TO 2008: "Beyond the Guidebook is a provincial initiative to advance implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices throughout British Columbia," stated Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership
The article provides a concise overview of considerations that have led to integration of two hydrologic models. “The tool underpins ‘Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual (2007)’, a provincial initiative to advance implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices throughout British Columbia. The mantra for this provincial initiative is: Today’s Expectations are Tomorrow’s Standards,” stated Paul Ham.
FLASHBACK TO 2007: "I am very interested in your approach to mitigate environmental impacts associated with urbanization”, stated Linda Pechacek when she represented the Urban Water Resources Research Council at the British Columbia Water Balance Model Partners Forum
BC’s Inter-Governmental Partnership held a Forum in March 2007 so that Partners could share success stories and lessons learned in implementing green infrastructure. “Once the IGP had invited me to be a member of its Expert Advisory Panel, I decided to attend your Water Balance Model Partners Forum because I am very interested in your approach to mitigate environmental impacts associated with urbanization”, Linda Pechacek informed the Partners.
Towards a Water-Resilient Future (Video): Released by the Senate of Berlin in August 2017, the plan “StEP Klima KONKRET” seeks to mimic nature and tackle extreme conditions by making Berlin a “Sponge City”
Heat waves and rainstorms will become common in northern Germany as climate change deepens. To make Berlin more resilient and livable in the coming future, Berlin’s infrastructure is being redesigned to solve drainage and heat problems as climate change accelerates. Rummelsberg, built 20 years ago in east Berlin, has become a large-scale example of the Sponge City concept. Heiko Seiker is the brains behind the neighbourhood’s innovative use of rainwater as a resource.