How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

GC 2020

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

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  1. Develop a city-supported urban farming program

    Community gardens and farmers markets are on the rise in Vancouver, but there remains a need for more productive farms (market gardens) to produce significant amounts of local food.

    There are more and more people interested in getting into farming as a livelihood, but barriers such as high land values and low profit margins in traditional farming make entry difficult.

    The City could develop a municipally-supported urban farming program where city-owned land would be affodably leased to prospective farmers for a season to gain experience, earn an income, and produce food for local residents. This could be coupled with a…

    240 votes
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      10 comments  ·  Encourage local food  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    • Require businesses to be responsible for their own waste

      Businesses that create large amounts of waste, and in particular those that encourage littering, such as fast food restaurants, should be responsible for reducing their waste - and for cleaning up what is littered onto City streets. While it is indeed the customers that are littering - it's still the businesses practice of creating large volumes of disposable trash that is the source. If they were responsible for cleaning it up and paying higher costs for its disposal, then they might reduce the amount of waste they produce. Only when it becomes more costly for businesses to create waste than…

      234 votes
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        11 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      • Support Green Art Organizations

        Art is used to inspire all matter of people. To shift our thoughts to a greener future, we need to focus on creating in the present.

        Organizations such as eatART ( www.eatart.org ) has a mandate of spreading Energy Awareness Through ART, building audacious and improbable large-scale kinetic, robotic, and
        mechanized sculptures that investigate our human relationship to energy use.

        These pieces are taken to local events and educational institutions to provoke conversation on how we use energy.

        231 votes
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          15 comments  ·  Lighter Footprint  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        • Create a Fare-Free Transit system for GVRD

          Translink funding currently comes from a combination of local taxes and user fairs. The reason for this combination of funding sources is in part because Translink also manages bridges and other transportation services over and above public transit.

          My suggestion is to make Translink completely funded by public taxes and abolish fares entirely.

          There are a number of benefits that this would cause:

          Firstly this would increase ridership in transit and therefore reduce traffic congestion.

          Second, the Free-Fare system will be attractive to tourists and boost Vancouver's image as a friendly and sustainable city.

          Thirdly, this will provide a more…

          229 votes
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            Transit (and transit fares!) are controlled by TransLink, not the city. Having said that, reducing or eliminating transit fares is an interesting idea.

            Unfortunately it’s not very feasible, at least as TransLink is currently funded. Unlike most North American cities, Vancouver’s transit problems aren’t due to a lack of demand but rather a lack of capacity. Anyone who’s ever tried to squeeze onto one of our busy buses or trains knows this all too well — there isn’t enough space even when people have to pay, let alone accommodate the additional demand that would be created if transit were free. Compare this to cities with fare-free zones, which are typically struggling for increase demand, and which typically have (a) less frequent service and/or (b) plenty of extra capacity to accommodate more riders.

            In Vancouver, we need to provide more transit capacity to meet existing demand — and a LOT more…

          • Create more community gardens

            Provide more opportunities for the creation of community gardens. Existing community gardens should be preserved and enhanced. Encourage community gardens on school grounds for educational and aesthetic purposes.

            227 votes
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              8 comments  ·  Encourage local food  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

              City has already moved beyond the 2,010 (garden plots) by 2010 challenge. Three new gardens were created in the summer of 2010 and others are currently in the planning stage. This is an idea included in the Draft Greenest City Action Plan.

            • Put the Blue into Green: daylight our Lost Creeks

              The few Vancouver creeks that have been daylighted is a tragedy. In just a century, we’ve covered over dozens of fresh water creeks that used to traverse Vancouver. In doing so, we’ve also annihilated the plant, marine, bird and ground animal wild life that thrived in these natural, unique ecosystems. A City green vision that fails to bring back the sound of bubbling fresh water creeks, ponds, and natural adjacent linear park ways that these creeks can offer would be a travesty. Visit the tiny portion of Hastings Park (PNE grounds) that is supporting the daylighting of Hastings Creek and…

              226 votes
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                19 comments  ·  Improve access to nature  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              • Support Urban Farming Entrepeneurship

                Urban farming from an entrepreneurial approach holds one of the most exciting possibilities for urban food production. Urban farming is a great way for Vancouver to achieve “worldwide entrepreneurial recognition” and create sustainable urban jobs.

                Other successful urban farming systems (i.e., Havana, Cuba; Detroit, Michigan) have developed out of necessity and urgency. Such conditions do not yet exist in Vancouver. Yet urban farming, which is now a multi-million dollar “industry” in North America, holds the potential to create economic opportunities for those wanting to engage in urban food production; provide the most local food possible to Vancouver residents (and visitors);…

                215 votes
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                  7 comments  ·  Encourage local food  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                • Paperless Receipts for Retailers

                  It would be nice if everywhere I shopped could offer me a digital receipt, instead of a paper one. Seems to me there are an awful lot of trees being cut down just to give me a few inches of paper that says I bought something.

                  And in the digital age we live in, this should be pretty easy to implement.

                  214 votes
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                    16 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                  • Encourage deconstruction to recover used building materials & reduce construction waste

                    Construction waste accounts for a huge proportion of waste in our landfills. The majority of materials can be reused, recycled or repurposed. Deconstruction offers job creation opportunities and supports a new market for used building materials

                    202 votes
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                      10 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                      The Draft Greenest City Action Plan includes an action to develop a building deconstruction policy. The City is piloting a building deconstruction project and is exploring options for an incentive program to encourage deconstruction.

                    • Support Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) auto insurance premiums to reward those who drive little

                      Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD, also called distance-based and per-mile) pricing means that vehicle insurance premiums and registration fees are based directly on the amount it is driven. PAYD pricing is not a new fee, just a different way to pay existing fees. It can be a
                      consumer option, so motorists choose the price structure that best meets their needs, similar to telephone and internet rate options. It can provide many benefits including reduction of per capita fuel consumption and pollution emissions.

                      199 votes
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                        9 comments  ·  Encourage shorter vehicle trips  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • Require residential water metering

                        The City of Vancouver could expect to achieve about a 20 % reduction in water use if residential meters were installed. However, the average water bill for single and two family homes would increase by about 30 %. These costs are related to the installation and maintenance of the meters and to the fact that the majority of the cost of water is related to the filtering and distribution infrastructure - the cost of which remains the same regardless of how much water is used.

                        In other cities where water meters are used for billing, people have a better understanding…

                        196 votes
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                          12 comments  ·  Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                        • Expand the use of electric trolley buses and electric vehicles

                          One third of Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicle use. Vancouver’s electricity is powered by relatively clean hydro-electric sources. Expanding the use of electric trolley buses and electric vehicles can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions related to vehicle use.

                          195 votes
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                          • Ban disposable cups, plates and cutlery in all restaurants/cafes

                            Let's face it: coffee tastes better from a real cup; food is easier to eat from a real plate! Single use containers/cutlery create massive amounts of waste. How to stop this senseless waste of materials and energy? Phase in a progressive ban on them: start with requiring restaurants to offer reusuable plates/cups/cutlery, and eventually require them for all in-house service.

                            190 votes
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                              31 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            • Make composting, proper recycling and waste disposal procedures in restaurants/hotels mandatory.

                              I work in one of the busiest restaurants in downtown Vancouver, and the amount of food alone we throw away daily makes sick.

                              I think that there are enough chain restaurants in the city that if even one caught on, it would create a demand for composting as a service and potentially lead others to do the same.

                              Hotels and grocery stores are other ways the idea could expand.

                              And the new fertilizer could be given to farmers for use in the area.

                              180 votes
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                                2 comments  ·  Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                              • 178 votes
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                                  52 comments  ·  Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                • Develop a Vancouver Food Action Plan

                                  An Action Plan would provide an overall strategy to guide the City’s response to urban agriculture and food system issues.

                                  177 votes
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                                    6 comments  ·  Encourage local food  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                  • Unbundle parking and housing costs

                                    Many people assume parking is free or inexpensive since it is usually included in the cost of housing. In reality, it is a significant hidden cost -- by some estimates, the cost of a single residential parking space can be $40,000 to $50,000 or even greater. People are more likely to own a car and to drive if they've already paid for a parking space.

                                    Vancouver should explore policies that separate (or 'unbundle') the cost of parking from the cost of housing. This gives home-owners or renters an opportunity to pay for housing without paying for attached parking, increasing both…

                                    176 votes
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                                      The City has supported projects that have voluntarily unbundled parking (e.g. Spectrum), and is actively working to gain authority to require unbundling in new development — this requires changes to Provincial legislation. In 2008, the City proposed the Unbundled Parking Resolution to give BC municipalities the authority to require unbundling in new development. This was passed by the Union of BC Municipalities. Provincial response to date: The Ministry of Community Development will review the proposal and refer the issue to the Development Finance Review Committee for discussion.

                                    • a street car named DESire (DES = District Energy System)

                                      What if the transit line you road on also carried the energy used to heat your home?

                                      Just as density begets transit, density begets District Energy Systems (DES).

                                      A DES is a utility like BC Hydro’s electricity grid, or Terasen’s Natural Gas network - only it uses hot water to carry energy. The hot water can be used to heat your home, office or favorite karaoke bar. The heat can be generated from clean energy sources like solar thermal panels, ground source heat pumps, or sewage waste heat recovery - like at the Olympic village. These clean energy technologies are…

                                      170 votes
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                                        9 comments  ·  Reduce greenhouse gas emissions  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • Create a public bike sharing program (e.g. Montreal's Bixi, Paris' Velib)

                                        Montreal has installed the Bixi bike system, similar to many European systems, of having publicly available bikes for a small cost downtown on major street corners. The bikes are incredibly robust, widely available, and highly convenient with bike stands every 2-3 blocks.

                                        It encourages locals to bike (rather than take the bus or metro) and is great for short trips around town. It is very convenient as there is always a drop off location nearby, and there is no worry of getting your bike stolen. It is also a huge tourist attraction, making transport easier, cheaper and greener!

                                        155 votes
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                                        • Bring Life to our Rooftops

                                          The roofs of Vancouver are an un-tapped resource from both a social and biodiversity perspective. The City could initiate a program to encourage the conversion of existing flat, inaccessible roofs to useable, productive greenspace. This could include omitting rooftop access points (stairs & elevators) from height restrictions, providing tax breaks to buildings that eliminate rainwater runoff to the sewer system, or establishing financing mechanisms and consultation to support stratas and individuals undertaking renovations.

                                          The scale of conversion could range from installing standard green-roof systems to rooftop decks with planter boxes to full scale rooftop agriculture. This would help bring back…

                                          148 votes
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                                            9 comments  ·  Green existing buildings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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