BC Green Infrastructure Partnership

    POLICIES, DECISIONS, AND RAINFALL INDUCED FLOODING IN CITIES: “Communication is king. As urban decision making brings in more voices, and climate change becomes less of an abstract future but a present-day reality, it is imperative for policy to understand what the different perspectives are and how to weigh their importance,” stated Charles Axelsson, PhD, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in the Science and Management of Climate Change (March 2022)

    “One of the main takeaways from my doctoral work is there is still a lot of disagreements in communication throughout this decision-making process. Within policy itself, there is a disconnect between the way the problem of stormwater adaptation is framed theoretically versus perceived in reality. Theoretically, there is a large focus on adaptation. However, in my research I found that many of those involved in policy still place a higher importance on the political limitations of policy making and the economic costs of project management.,” stated Charles Axelsson.

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    WHAT IS GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE, REALLY: “Cities are increasingly incorporating ideas for ‘green infrastructure’ into their planning, but what they mean by that can be unclear and inconsistent within and across cities,” wrote Maria Rachal, editor of Smart Cities Dive, in her article about recently published findings from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (January 2022)

    City planners often fail to clearly define “green infrastructure,” although they tend to favor hydrological or stormwater concepts in such projects, according to a study by the New York-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. The report calls for a clearer and more comprehensive definition as part of a larger project assessing equity in cities’ ecological services. The empirical study is the first of its kind. It is part of a multiyear project assessing green infrastructure’s role as “a universal good.”

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    TOWARD A MORE INCLUSIVE DEFINITION OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: “Green infrastructure is broadly understood to be a good thing, but many city plans lack a clear definition of what it actually is. Hydrological definitions dominate. This narrow view can cause cities to miss out on vital social and ecological services that more integrative green infrastructure can provide,” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, lead author of a nationwide analysis of GI plans from 20 American cities (January 2022)

    “City planning often fails to explicitly define “green infrastructure” (GI), but when it does, stormwater concepts of GI are much more prevalent than landscape or integrative concepts. Types of GI vary widely and significantly, and often exclude parks and larger urban green spaces in favor of smaller engineered facilities. Functions of GI are primarily hydrological, although more functional diversity is provided by landscape and integrative definitions of GI. Stormwater concepts appear to engage in greenwashing by purportedly offering the greatest number of benefits,” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski.

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    SHARED RESPONSIBILITY EXPLAINED: “Policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to implement green infrastructure solutions and ensure responsible outcomes. Each party in the process has a responsibility,” stated Susan Rutherford, former Legal Counsel with West Coast Environmental Law, during capacity-building presentations delivered under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan in the first decade of the 2000s

    “If someone says something is not working – that barriers prevent success – then our challenge for them is: Think about what would make it work, and what are you going to do to make that alignment of goals happen? Our theme is ‘imagine’. Once we know what we want our watersheds and neighbourhoods to look like, the next step is to decide what the tools are that will get us there. What this underlines is that we are all interconnected – our actions influence whether others will succeed, and our own achievement of goals is influenced by how we’re supported,” stated Susan Rutherford.

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    CREATING OUR FUTURE IN THE METRO VANCOUVER REGION: “Today, what we as leaders do, will resound for the people of the future, their cities and their regions. In fact, for the world at large,” stated the City of Delta’s Lois Jackson, currently a Councillor and formerly the Mayor, when she reflected on her five decades of public service in local government and why it matters to ‘make a difference’ as a champion for ‘design with nature’ infrastructure practices (June 2020)

    “One of the reasons that I ran for office in 1972 was ‘to make a difference’…. a difference to the children and their families of the future. But we are not the only ones sharing this planet, and what we do on a daily basis, can impact positively or negatively having a resounding effect and rippling effect of which we must be aware. We must all be leaders who selflessly have a vision, and we must then act to make the vision a reality, because air, water and continents are interconnected and if you can dream it — you can do it,” stated Lois Jackson.

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