Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sustainable cities (July 24)

I am reading The Geography of Hope by Chris Turner, and I am getting pretty excited about our chances. Of surviving, I mean. He traveled the world looking for examples of existing communities/technology that can greatly affect how much impact we have on the planet, in terms of climate change. It got me to thinking about what Vancouver can do.

How "sustainable" can cities be? What does that vague word mean as it relates to how cities function, consume and regulate?

A few quick ideas:

1) Restrict pesticide/herbicide use. Simple, effective, free.
2) Switch city fleet to bio-diesel. I'm not sure how easy this would be, nor how far along Vancouver is.
3) Introduce/enforce "green" building codes, such as LEED.
4) Restrict automobile usage, or at least charge users more and put the money into beneficial programs. Annoying to consumers but necessary in the long-term.
5) and promote public transit usage. Right now it costs twice as much for two people to take the Skytrain to a Whitecaps game than it does for parking.


6) Property tax refunds/breaks for alternative energy production (solar panels, etc...) and energy-saving measures (garden-roofs).

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