Vancouver is now a green, clean and smart urban hub on a mission to make fossil fuels a thing of the past. Perched by the sea in British Columbia, Vancouver is well known for its quality of life and picturesque location, but its interconnectedness, intelligence and eco credentials are now also making waves.
Vancouver plans to be the world’s greenest city by 2020, use 100 per cent green energy by 2050, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent below 2007 levels by the same year. It already has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per person of any major city in North America. Buildings and transportation are the key areas the city is focusing on improving, with plans to switch to energy sources like hydro, solar, wind, biomethane, waste wood, sewer heat and biofuels to reach its targets.
Vancouver is regularly ranked amongst the best cities in the world to live in. Its inhabitants enjoy a stunning setting between mountain and sea, which gives it an active, outdoor culture. Vancouverites can ski in the morning then take a dip in the sea or go kayaking after lunch. Due to its multicultural population, the city offers excellent food, while the weather is reliable. It’s safe, clean and has great schools. Need we go on?
Vancouver is supporting a Passive House design philosophy for new city buildings. Passive Houses are ultra- low energy buildings, first designed by German physicists, which require little energy for heating and cooling. It’s a construction concept which looks to maximise insulation and natural energy sources like body heat and the sun. Requirements for heights and depths of structures are expected to be relaxed in the city to allow for the development of Passive Houses.
ON THE MOVE
Vancouvercombinesanumberofinnovative transport options to create a system that is efficient, easy to navigate and low on emissions. The electrified SkyTrain, TransLink buses, automated trains and SeaBus form transit services that keep car travel to a minimum.The city is in the process of setting up an electric vehicle infrastructure and is investing in hybrid vehicles for the city fleet, as well as biofuel, biomethane and hydrogen power. A car share scheme is also being initiated, alongside a project to reduce demand for motorised transportation.
The Home Forest project connects Vancouver’s citizens with its trees. It revolves around an interactive, dynamic map of every tree in the region, which allows citizens to monitor and care for them as stewards of their neighbourhood’s natural environment. The Open Tree Map lets individuals, organisations and the government work together to look after its trees and protect urban forests via crowdsourced data.
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Photo Credit: Gord McKenna from Flickr.