How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

Adam Hyslop

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  1. 52 votes
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    The draft Greenest City plan will include directions to explore pedestrian-only and pedestrian-priority streets in the downtown core. Potential locations will be identified at a later date (e.g. as part of the transportation plan update).

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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    This is a great idea! On busy days people already spill off the sidewalk into the street. A first step might be to have it be pedestrian-only on weekends since the reduced weekend car traffic can probably be adequately accommodated on Georgia.

    The Car-Free Day festival is a great start but having a regular place to go every weekend would be fantastic. The City should build on the success of Car-Free Day and have a rotating car-free day in different communities every weekend throughout the summer. Check out the "Pedestrian Sundays" model in Toronto for inspiration!

  2. 148 votes
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    9 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Green existing buildings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop shared this idea  · 
  3. 28 votes
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    2 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Reduce greenhouse gas emissions  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    "Geothermal power and heating technology" could mean two very different things:

    Ground-source Heat Pumps (also called Geoexchange or Earth-Energy systems) are probably what this user is referring to. These systems use the relatively constant temperature (10-15C) of the ground just a few feet down as a heat source in winter or a heat sink in summer. Water or an antifreeze solution is circulated through pipes in the ground and a heat pump (think backwards refrigerator or air conditioner) 'upgrades' the stored heat. They can be applied at a building site or neighbourhood scale and while their capital costs are high, operating costs can be much lower than conventional heating so they pay off in the long run. These are often termed geothermal even though, technically, geothermal systems are quite different (see below). For more info on these systems, see: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/home/Heating_and_Cooling_with_a_Heat_Pump_Section4.cfm

    True geothermal is the the use of the deeper, higher-temperature core heat of the earth to provide heat or generate power. Usually these projects happen in areas of high geothermal activity (hot springs, volcanoes, etc). This is a more industrial-scale system and is possible, though probably unrealistic in Vancouver. Elsewhere in B.C. though, geothermal could play a role in supplying power to the grid.

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  4. 770 votes
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    25 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Reduce waste  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    The City supports Metro Vancouver’s plans to ban food scraps from the incinerator and landfills by 2015. The City will collaborate with Metro Vancouver to develop and implement a plan to ensure apartments, condos, businesses and institutions have access to food scraps collection programs before the ban comes into effect.

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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    One of the things that surprised me most when I moved to Vancouver 2 years ago was the total lack of municipal composting (as well as an inefficient, frustratingly complex recycling system). In many Ontario cities, community-wide composting programs have been in place for years, and I thought Vancouver would have been ahead of the curve. It's great to see they are catching up quickly though, and I agree that multi-unit buildings are pivotal.

    Check out this awesome (& poetic) booklet that was circulated with green carts when they were introduced in the City of Hamilton in 2006: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/612E94EB-AE1F-49FD-8A62-0659986D434B/0/GreenCartSmartstory.pdf

  5. 4 votes
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    1 comment  ·  GC 2020 » Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    Gasification makes the most sense for cogeneration systems (producing both heat and electricity) and has huge potential in areas where the electrical production can offset dirtier forms of electrical generation (e.g. coal). In Vancouver, a more efficient use of biomass (waste wood from the forestry industry or urban sources like construction and demolition wastes, land clearing, etc) may be direct combustion for thermal energy. This was one of the options considered for South East False Creek's Neighbourhood Energy Utility. Because of the nearby sewer main and proposed pumping station, sewer heat recovery was selected. But biomass combustion could play a role in future district energy systems, heating our homes and water in a GHG-neutral way. With modern emission control technologies air contaminants can be effectively limited to the point where they have almost no appreciable impact on ambient air quality.

    The first step towards either a direct-combustion or gasification approach to waste management is to improve diversion rates. Right now a substantial amount of wood still gets landfilled because it is mixed up with other debris. You rightly point out that a lot of the diversion and recycling that goes on is done by a handful of private companies. The City and the Regional District could do more to tackle this challenge directly by implementing more sophisticated collection and diversion programs.

  6. 426 votes
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    started  ·  26 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Use less water  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  7. 70 votes
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    4 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Improve access to nature  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  8. 226 votes
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    19 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Improve access to nature  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  9. 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.

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  10. 404 votes
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    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  11. 394 votes
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    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  12. 82 votes
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    4 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Improve air quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  13. 8 votes
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    0 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Improve water quality  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  14. 44 votes
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    2 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Green existing buildings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 
  15. 1,002 votes
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    An ongoing process. Many of the City’s recent initiatives (e.g. downtown separated bike lane trial, additional traffic calming on existing routes) work towards this vision. The draft Greenest City action plan will support this idea, and include directions to help inform the upcoming transportation plan update and new active transportation plan.

  16. 29 votes
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    TransLink is currently leading a study to determine the best approach to deliver high-capacity, fast, frequent, and reliable rapid transit for the Broadway Corridor from Commercial Drive to UBC. A number of technologies and alignment options are being considered, including rail rapid transit (e.g. SkyTrain), surface light rail transit, and bus rapid transit.

    The City of Vancouver is directly involved as a partner agency in the study. In April 2010, City Council endorsed ten principles to guide City input into this process (http://vancouver/ubcline/principles).

    Visit http://vancouver.ca/ubcline to learn more about this work, including upcoming public engagement events.

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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    An underground system out to UBC would cost a fortune (in the $$ billions) to implement and wouldn’t see very substantial ridership increases since most students are already transit-borne. While it would definitely make our lives as students less stressful, there are better ways of spending public transit funds. For about the same cost Translink could install (restore & expand) a streetcar or tram system throughout the entire city (See http://www.sxd.sala.ubc.ca/8_research/sxd_FRB06_tram.pdf). Using signal priority, dedicated right-of-ways and altered street designs (eg. median loading), speeds and capacities could still be boosted along key corridors and the line could be part of a reinvigorated whole city transit system where everyone could walk to a streetcar and get around quickly.

  17. 32 votes
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    As the City reviews land use policy and development bylaws through Community, Central Area, and City-Wide planning programs, opportunities for increased residential density (particularly in walkable neighbourhoods with good transit connections) are actively pursued (in balance with concerns for neighbourhood character and community involvement in city building decisions at the neighbourhood level).

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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    The environmental and social benefits of higher density development can be achieved through a variety of building forms (townhouses, mid-rise apartments, laneway housing, etc) that don't drastically change the character of a neighbourhood. Equating density directly with height is a common misconception. Many European cities have densities much higher than downtown Vancouver without having any high-rises at all. Height limits exist for a reason; high-rises done poorly can have very dramatic livability impacts. There are also diminishing returns (in terms of environmental and social benefits) as you go higher. For example, wood-framed construction can now go as high as 6 storeys, avoiding GHG-intensive concrete.

    The City’s current zoning bylaw allows them to get community amenities (parks, schools, community centres, etc) partially funded by development through the rezoning process and through density bonusing. This is an important funding source that would be lost if all restrictions were lifted. The City’s EcoDensity program and land use policies do advocate for increased densities and a lot has been done already. All single family zoned areas, for example, can now legally include basement suites or separate laneway housing for rent.

    Being strategic about where we target higher densities is also important. (around rapid transit stations, near high concentrations of jobs, etc.) Putting a bunch of highrises out in the middle of nowhere won’t have any environmental benefits since their residents will still end up driving everywhere.

    Ensuring a mix of housing types and tenures in all neighbourhoods, with a focus on higher-density affordable housing and rental suites should be the focus, not just opening the flood gates on high-rise construction.

  18. 29 votes
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    8 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Reduce greenhouse gas emissions  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    The City has already started a food scraps collection program for neighbourhoods where yard trimmings are collected. These materials are currently composted. With more organic waste diversion, the City will explore opportunties to implement technolgies that produce biogas like gassifiers and anaerobic digesters.

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    Adam Hyslop commented  · 

    The burning of biogas (in this case from the decomposition of waste organic matter) is considered "carbon-neutral" because the CO2 released is equal to the CO2 absorbed and stored by the original plant matter. Unlike fossil fuels, where carbon that was stored for thousands of years is released into the atmosphere, burning biogas is simply recycling atmospheric carbon from recent years. Obviously not as ideal as sequestering the carbon permanently, but a step in the right direction.

    Pradeep rightly points out that CO2 is a much weaker greenhouse gas than methane, so burning waste methane has positive climate change benefits while also providing a source of heat energy.

  19. 78 votes
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    3 comments  ·  GC 2020 » Improve access to nature  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Adam Hyslop supported this idea  · 

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