Green Infrastructure Communication Guide for Elected Officials
In May 2005, the Green Infrastructure Partnership organized a Consultation Workshop with local governments in the Greater Vancouver region. The workshop set in motion a chain of events. One outcome was a decision to have one-on-one conversations with an ‘ad hoc mayors focus group' that has representation from three regions. Key findings are presented in the September 2006 progress report titled Convening for Action in British Columbia: Water – Choosing Sustainability for Life and Livelihoods. For more on this story, please click here.
THE MISSION: Under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, the mission of the Green Infrastructure Partnership is to facilitate implementation of infrastructure practices and regulation province-wide that embody a design with nature way-of-thinking and acting. Because everything is connected, the way we develop land determines how water is used, and how water runs off the land.
OUTREACH & CONTINUING EDUCATION: According to Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership, “The report is a prelude to developing a Green Infrastructure Communication Guide for Elected Officials. The Guide will fill a gap because what has been lacking is this – written information on green infrastructure that is written from the perspective of elected officials for elected officials.”
“Before we can write a Communication Guide, we need to understand what elected officials already know plus what they would like to know about green infrastructure. Only then can we judge what level of information transfer will be useful to them,” adds Ham.
The Green Infrastructure Partnership is implementing an Outreach & Continuing Education Program (OCEP) that comprises ten elements, including Communication Guides for elected officials and senior managers, respectively. The two guides will be the glue that binds OCEP. Because they will mainly be for communication / education purposes, they would not be complex. The emphasis would be on articulating the design with nature vision in clear terms.
THE VISION: The Green Infrastructure Communication Guide for Elected Officials will provide a big picture overview that will help facilitate informed decision-making; and together with the proposed Communication Guide for Senior Municipal Staff, would provide the bridge between those who make the decisions and those who implement the decisions. The vision for the two guides is that:
- they will be clear, concise and compelling in translating state-of-the-art knowledge into a common understanding for senior decision-makers;
- they will enable decision-makers to articulate to elected officials why standards of practice need to change for land (re)development, transportation and infrastructure servicing; and
- they will enable decision-makers to assess recommendations and give direction to technical staff on what will be done, and how changes in practice will be implemented.
These guides are an integral part of the process of building an informed 'community of interest' so that it will become a 'community of practice'. The guides will establish a language. The way they are written will define broad themes so that elected officials and senior managers can step outside their normal view of the world.
Integrated Water Management
The 'integration' process that is at the heart of of a design with nature approach to land development involves consideration of land, water, air and living organisms – including humans – as well as the interactions among them.
Posted August 2006