Waterbucket Blog

Green, Heal and Restore the Earth: Ian McHarg’s “Design With Nature” vision has influenced development of the Ecological Accounting Protocol

Renowned landscape architect, writer and educator Ian L. McHarg (1920-2001) was best known for introducing environmental concerns in landscape architecture. His 1969 book Design With Nature pioneered the concept of environmental planning. Design with Nature is widely considered one of the most important and influential works of its kind. The ecological planning method developed by McHarg was seized upon and used throughout the world. "So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!," wrote Ian McHarg in 1991.

Neighbourhood character, rainwater management and regulatory change in West Vancouver

West Vancouver is implementing regulatory change through enactment of precedent-setting Site Landscaping Requirements in its Zoning Bylaw. The District is demonstrating leadership and innovation by leveraging Sections 523 and 527 of the Local Government Act to achieve desired outcomes for on-site rainwater management. “The District of West Vancouver, through the ongoing discussions related to neighbourhood character and building bulk, has undertaken to implement a requirement for site landscaping as part of both new development and the redevelopment of properties throughout the community,” states Jim Bailey. "Compliance includes limiting the amount of impermeable surfacing, surface runoff control, the requirement for screening and landscaping to mask or separate adjacent uses."

THE WELL-TEMPERERD CITY: A five-pronged model to design and reshape cities

In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the 21st century. He advocates using green infrastructure to mitigate damage from destructive storms. "What's so compelling about natural systems solutions is that they not only save costs but also improve the quality of life," he contends. "As the 21st century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migrations, education and health disparities, among many others,” observes Jonathan Rose.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Overcoming Barriers to Watershed Plan Implementation

The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable has made significant advancements under its collaborative model. One highlight is the development of a unique watershed plan that recognizes important linkages between ecosystem health and human well-being, and advances ecosystem-based thinking and planning across multiple jurisdictions of the Coquitlam River watershed. “Planning for capacity is proving especially important as the Roundtable looks forward to implementation of its Lower Coquitlam River Watershed plan over the coming years. The logistics of actually implementing watershed-wide initiatives spanning multiple jurisdictions make for uncharted territory in this watershed, however the Roundtable looks forward to taking on this new challenge and building the capacity needed to effectively do so," states Marni Turek.

FLOWnGROW! – A workshop on “Balancing Economy, Ecology and Settlement in the Okanagan” (November 29 in Kelowna)

The concept for FLOWnGROW is both visionary and practical, so constructed to identify solutions regarding water security. FLOWnGROW will explore the role of water from the global to the local. CBC's Bob McDonald, host of Quirks & Quarks, will provide the big picture from a global perspective and beyond, once again reminding his audience of the limited amount of fresh water we have on earth, speaking to the need for a global water ethic and awareness as we collectively navigate an uncertain future. This will provide a rousing opening to the workshop. Bob McDonald, Chief Aaron Sam and Michael Blackstock will be the 'book ends' for the workshop. Bob McDonald is loved by audiences across Canada for making complex scientific issues understandable, meaningful, and fun.

Rain Gardens – evolving standard practice in Langley Township

For the past decade, Township staff have been learning and adapting, and their hands-on experience is reflected in HOW implementation of Langley’s rain garden program has evolved in successive development areas. “To date (from May 2006 to October 2015), an estimated 3100 lineal metres of rain gardens have been handed over from developers for maintenance by the Township of Langley and by property owners that front rain gardens," states Yolanda Yeung. “Many more hundreds of metres of rain gardens are under design and under construction. We are learning by doing. In this way, we refine expectations for the finished product. The designs are more refined and the level of coordination for rain garden design and construction has improved.”

FLOWnGROW: Three Bold Ideas

Water is a form-maker. It defines communities. Also, water-centric decisions ripple through time. Choices made today will determine what the future looks like. “The FLOWnGROW program has the real potential of influencing how we address water sustainability issues in BC going forward,” states Eric Bonham. "The themes, Whole Systems Approach, reflecting integration through inclusion, Blue Ecology, the interweaving of First Nations and Western Thought and Cathedral Thinking, the foresight and planning for future generations, will set the context for the day. The purpose of the workshop is to explore ideas that have universal value and broad application as we travel the road towards genuine long-term water sustainability.”

City of Victoria implements Stormwater Utility + Rainwater Rewards Program

The City of Victoria has shown leadership by looking to the future. With implementation of its Stormwater Utility, the City can ‘make real’ its Caring for the Environment mantra. "In 2001 the City of Victoria began to explore a shift in stormwater management towards a revenue-neutral model, and away from billing proportional to property value,” states Fraser Work. “This idea was put into action in 2011 with endorsement from Council, and a team was assembled to develop the program. Staff and Council saw the new utility as an opportunity to achieve multiple outcomes in parallel. The utility is both an equitable and proportionate billing system. It also builds awareness of how to reduce our environmental and utility impact and find ways to incentivise more sustainable choices for water management.”

Countdown to “FLOWnGROW Workshop” on Nov 29 >> CBC’s Bob McDonald headlines an all-star team of presenters

FLOWnGROW has two keynote speakers! The second is Bob Sandford, author and water champion. A widely published author, Bob Sandford is EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. His background is in the physical sciences and his interest is our relationship with the landscape. “We now realize that our current risk assessments with respect to climate disruption are built on confidence in relative hydrologic stability that no longer exists. This changes everything. We had no idea until recently of how much influence the hydrological cycle has on our day to day lives or on the broader conditions that define the distribution and diversity of life on this planet," states Bob Sandford.

The Partnership on Vancouver Island – Leadership in Water Sustainability (Decade #2)

In September 2006, a bold experiment was launched: CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island: Leadership in Water Sustainability. CAVI is a prototype for a water-centric approach that is guided by intergenerational commitment to action. It will take time and therefore requires perseverance. Simply put, it is a long distance relay race. “The future of Vancouver Island calls for ‘cathedral thinking’ to create an inter-generational vision that is inspirational, pragmatic, and based on a strong foundation,” states Eric Bonham. “The VI2065 initiative envisions a Vancouver Island based on long-term sustainability and water resiliency models that involve innovative partnerships. The results guide us towards effective land and water management practices.”