CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Site development is integrated. The components inform design,” explained Dave Cocking, Manager of the Township’s Green Infrastructure Services Department

Note to Reader:

Langley_Green-Infrastructure-Innovation_Oct-2017_cover_500pThe Langley Township story is the fifth in a series of Watershed Blueprint Case Profiles published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability.

The series showcases and celebrates successes and long-term ‘good work’ in the local government setting.

The purpose of the series is to inform and facilitate inter-regional collaboration in the Georgia Basin. 

By telling the stories of those who are spearheading changes in practice, this helps other local governments eliminate the “disconnect between information and implementation” that may otherwise hold them back.

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Integration: It’s Embedded in the Culture

Stephen Richardson_Langley Township_Aug2017_120p“We are nimble because we are integrated,” stated Stephen Richardson with pride during an interview for the Watershed Case Profile Series. He is Director of Development Services in the Township of Langley’s Community Services Division.

“Langley Township is the fastest growing municipality in the Metro Vancouver region. Anticipating and responding to growth requires nimbleness on our part.”

“Our integrated process results in a better community,” continued Dave Cocking, Manager of the Green Infrastructure Services department and a career employee of the Township. “In turn, this attracts people who want to be here.”

“Thus, Langley Township is clearly a community of choice,” added Stephen Richardson.

What Integration Looks Like

During the interview, and to illustrate his concept of integration, Stephen Richardson pointed to the people walking back and forth past his office (which has a full width and floor to ceiling window view).

“Harmony and integration are embedded in the Township culture,” he said. “Those individuals walking by my office are interacting with individuals in other groups. They are not exchanging written memos. The structure sets the framework for the culture, and this enables individuals to advance our core principles.

“The driver for integration is to protect and enhance environmental quality. Yes, we do walk the talk.

“As well, support for integration comes from Langley’s elected representatives,” emphasized Stephen Richardson. “In short, harmony and integration is what we do.”

Time Provides Perspective

“When I started my career with the Township, we did not deal with complexity. We only dealt with subdivisions,” reflected Dave Cocking.

Dave Cocking_Langley_July2017_120p“As development became more complex, greenways and rain gardens came to the forefront.

“Development engineers now had a greater understanding of nature.  No longer was it just greenways. It was also rainwater management.

“Today it is green space altogether such that Langley is a place where people want to live.

“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Site development is integrated.  The components inform design. As a result, people gravitate to these places”

Whole-System Thinking

“The infrastructure we build today is integrated,” explained Dave Cocking. “We recognize that each part is a component of the whole. We strive to make all the parts work together without compromising any component.

“Working together, we are solving community design issues. We have a shared goal – improve the community and provide amenities. This requires integrated thinking. Everyone contributes.”

“Green infrastructure is an equal component,” added Stephen Richardson. “This is how we think.”

Note to Reader:

To read the complete story, download a copy of the Watershed Case Profile. Click on Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township, released in October 2017.

The Table of Contents below is a synopsis. It distills the essence of each section into a succinct statement. These create a storyline. Readers are asked to pause and reflect on them before reading the story itself.

Langley_Table of Contents