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Implementation of Green Projects in British Columbia and Beyond

WORK AT MULTIPLE SCALES TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS IN CREEKSHEDS: “To protect watershed health, understand the watershed as a Whole System, and mimic the natural water balance,” stated Dr. Richard Horner, University of Washington (Seattle)


In the mid-1990s, the pioneer work of Dr. Richard Horner and Dr. Chris May resulted in a hydrology-based framework for protecting watershed health. The framework provided a starting point for applying science-based understanding to reinvent drainage engineering practice. “So many studies manipulate a single variable out of context with the whole and its many additional variables,” stated Dr. Richard Horner. “We, on the other hand, investigated whole systems in place, tying together measures of the landscape, stream habitat, and aquatic life.”

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MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE: Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney conclude that Australian cities are lagging behind in greening up their buildings


“We modelled what could be delivered in the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne based on the measures taken in Singapore (which is voluntary-heavy), London (voluntary-light), Rotterdam (voluntary-medium) and Toronto (mandatory). We combined this with data on actual green building projects in 2017 in Sydney and Melbourne to show the potential increase of projects in each city based on the four policies,” stated Paul Brown.

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Green Infrastructure in the United Kingdom: “These are truly modern times, and we need truly modern water management solutions to keep up,” stated Dr. Jason Shingleton at the Infragreen Conference


“With water such a major global issue, it’s vital that we make use of every available opportunity to save, re-use and re-cycle water and, where we return it back to the ground, we do so in a managed way,” stated Dr Jason Shingleton. Hence, it is imperative that the design of infrastructure changes to become more environmentally friendly. He urged using Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems on the roofs of high-rise buildings to manage rainwater and reuse it to nourish the trees and vegetation planted on ‘green roofs’.

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Green roofs and walls could boost residential property values by 15%, report Australian researchers


“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.”

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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.”

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“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.

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The Economist explains: Why are Chinese cities flooding?


“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.”

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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.

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GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE INNOVATION: Architect Stefano Boeri has a vision for “forest cities”


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.

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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.”

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