Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation: Towards a New Infrastructure – Integrated and Water-Centric Planning at the University of Victoria and Beyond
The meet-and-greet for Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation at the University of Victoria starts at 8:30am on October 10. Program concludes at 2:30pm after a walkabout. To download the agenda, click here. Registration will be capped at 40.
University of Victoria and POLIS co-host third of three showcasing events in the 2008 Vancouver Island Series organized by CAVI
Building on the interest and momentum generated by successful series on both sides of the Georgia Basin in 2007, CAVI-onvening for Action on Vancouver Island is collaborating with the Capital Regional District and the Green Infrastructure Partnership to present Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Capital Region: The 2008 Series.
The third in the series will be held on October 10 and will be co-hosted by the University of Victoria and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. For a program overview and registration details, click on this link to download a copy of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation at the University of Victoria.
Showcasing Innovation at UVic
Situated at the headwaters of Bowker Creek, the University of Victoria, a community of more than 25,000 people, is a case study for green buildings and compact growth. According to Sarah Webb of the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability at UVic, “The primary focus of the day will be on the built environment and implementing approaches and practices that achieve a Design with Nature outcome, and reduce physical impacts resulting from intensive urbanization.”
The University and POLIS Project will showcase how each is ‘walking the talk’ in turning theory into action; also, POLIS will elaborate on how it is engaging local governments in discussions about new strategies for achieving the goal of sustainable water management and reduced ‘hydrologic footprints’.
“Emphasis will be on how water sustainability can be achieved through the ‘soft path’ for water and complemented by green infrastructure practices that flow from a Design with Nature guiding philosophy; especially when those infrastructure practices reflect a full and proper understanding of the relationship between land and water,” reports Oliver Brandes, Associate Director of POLIS.
“The workshop will cascade in three major sections: education (with a focus on broader social and cultural contexts that shape attitudes and behaviour), engagement (taking research into the community) and decisions (making it work on campus). This will be followed by a walkabout to inspect green buildings and green infrastructure at UVic,” adds Susanne Porter-Bopp, Community Water Coordinator with POLIS.
“A sit down lunch will be served in the University Club,” concludes Sarah Webb.
How October 10 will unfold
Each event in the Showcasing Series comprises presentations in the morning and a site tour or walkabout in the afternoon. “Experience shows that the site tour creates those unplanned moments for spontaneous and effective sharing of knowledge and lessons learned,” reports Kim Stephens, series organizer and Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, “We also find that the presentations in the morning serve to whet the appetite of the audience, and people then seek out the one-on-one opportunities to have a conversation on the bus or while walking. It is then that the real learning takes place.”
Setting the Scene
“To set the scene for the day, we have structured the morning segment in two parts,” explains Sarah Webb. “First, Oliver Brandes and Susanne Porter-Bopp will tell their story about the POLIS Project. Then I will elaborate on how UVic has implemented the New Business As Usual. This will be followed by a group exercise which creates an opportunity for Showcasing participants to provide input to UVic’s innovative Sustainability Policy and Action Plan.”
“The UVic event should not be viewed as the end of a series; rather, it is the beginning of the next phase in a continuing process to raise the bar and improve the way land is developed and water is managed on Vancouver Island,” adds Kim Stephens.
Natural City Vision
“Vic Derman will round out the morning session by elaborating on his vision for a Natural City.” continues Kim Stephens. “This will help us address the question: what do we want this place to look like in 50 years?”
Vic Derman is a District of Saanich Councillor and a Director of the Capital Regional District. He is also Vice-Chair of the Capital Region Water Commission. He is an elected representative who is well-versed in a water-centric way-of-thinking. Vic Derman chaired the organizing committee and was the driving force behind the highly successful Water in the City Conference, held in Victoria. This 2006 flagship event provided the platform for a Consultation Workshop that served as the official launch of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island.
“The CAVI Leadership Team anticipates that the Natural City vision will help shape the design of the program elements for the 2009 CAVI program, in particular how the current multi-jurisdictional Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative could inform A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island,” concludes Kim Stephens.
The Bowker Creek Initiative is a collaboration between local governments, community groups, post-secondary institutions and private citizens, to improve the health of Bowker Creek and its watershed.
First, the POLIS Story
The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance is a centre for transdisciplinary research that investigates and promotes sustainability. POLIS was established in 2000 by the Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Victoria. POLIS researchers work together with a diversity of people in different ways – urban and rural communities, First Nations, Aboriginal organizations, businesses, co-operatives, public officials and the non-profit sector — to foster healthy and sustainable communities.
Ecological Governance & Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps
The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance fills a unique niche as a place where academic and policy research meets community action, with the objective of identifying how we can ‘create a sustainable future’ and a clear focus on lasting solutions.
“The water focus at POLIS is taking this conceptual work and developing tools and practices on the ground that move society from endless supply augmentation to a more balanced “water soft path” approach that situates ourselves in the context of the watershed as the central focus of decision making and action,” explains Oliver Brandes.
POLIS has produced a number of notable publications on water management, including: Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps: Top 10 Ways Communities Can Save Water and Money; Flushing the Future?; and The Soft Path for Water in a Nutshell. These are downloadable from www.waterdsm.org.
Turning Research into Action: Water Sustainability Pilot Projects in BC
POLIS is taking its water research into communities across the province to help build capacity for conservation and water stewardship.
“By working with municipalities and key partners to develop and implement long-term integrated water conservation plans, POLIS is developing water sustainability as part of a broader community vision and seeks to help establish the leaders today that will raise the bar for water management tomorrow,” explains Susanne Porter-Bopp.
“The process of turning research into on-the-ground action creates a self-fulfilling cycle of success and moves case studies into pilot projects to tomorrow’s new business as usual,” concludes Susanne.
Then the UVic Story
Because Bowker Creek originates on the University of Victoria campus, the on-the-ground successes in implementing the New Business As Usual can inform the community vision for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed over time. The “UVic story” encompasses both planning and engineering..
Campus Planning & Development: An Evolution Towards Sustainability
According to Sarah Webb, the campus planning process in 2003 was a significant turning point at the University of Victoria.
“Through leadership, partnerships, and collaboration, UVic has been able to transition from an incremental approach in planning and resource management to a much more holistic and integrated approach – the new business as usual,” explains Sarah Webb.
“This transformational experience resulted in a new vision for constructing water and energy efficient buildings in a built environment that respects the natural environment,” concludes Sarah.
Group Exercise – Water-Centric Planning at UVic
The 2007 UVic Strategic Plan, A Vision for the Future — Building on Strength, calls for the establishment of a formal framework to manage the University’s physical and financial resources in a sustainable manner—that is, with attention paid to the “triple bottom line” of economic, social, and environmental consequences.
Throughout 2008, the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability is undertaking a process to develop a new Sustainability Policy and Action Plan.
On October 10, participants will get a sneak peek at the innovative Sustainability Policy and Action Plan (to be released in 2009) and an opportunity to apply a watercentric approach to provide input to the Plan. This will be accomlplished through a working group exercise.
Finally, the Walkabout
Delegates will get a chance to tour a number of different LEED buildings, view innovative landscape projects, and learn about the campus waste water treatment system and rainwater management programs.
About the 2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series
The goal of the Showcasing Innovation Series is to promote networking, inform and educate practitioners, and help local governments move ‘from awareness to action’ in doing business differently — The New Business As Usual — through sharing of approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned that will ultimately inform a pragmatic strategy for climate change adaptation.
To learn more about the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation program and how the 2008 Series builds on the 2007 Series, click on this link to “2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series on Vancouver Island” features community-scale projects. Desired outcomes are being achieved through the combination of integration and innovation.
Posted September 2008