The draft Greenest City Action Plan will discuss this in a variety of ways.
I wonder if the point being made by Anonymous is that we need more research, support and shared learning to make urban food production more effective. I suspect there is a wide variation between top yields and average. Worth researching and sharing knowledge. And a reason we need a vertical experimental farm right downtown and some others in more residential areas.
Yes, I understand what is happening in some other cities, it is "Pavel''s comment that I am struggling to understand. Perhaps the intent is that we should only learn from countries that we are in complete agreement with, that would be a very short list.
I am struggling to understand the relevance of Pavel's comment to the topic. Perhaps he or she or someone who understands the point be made could clarify for me. Thanks.
One important step will be to have an urban experimental farm, probably together with the local universities. We lack basic knowledge on urban farms and we lack mechanisms to disseminate this knowledge, an urban experimental farm can do both. Beyond that, roof and vertical gardens will have a big role to play. But so could shellfish in local waters. Cultivating oysters in False Creek and Burrard Inlet could both clean the water and evolve into a local food source. Surfacing streams could improve local fish stocks. One minor idea - how can we make better use of the profusion of blackberries in Vancouver? One important goal, everyone in Vancouver should live in walking disance of a store that sells local produce (local could go as far as the Okanagon if need be).
An idea does not need to be new to be compelling. And there is a lot for Vancouver to do around land use policies, zoning, taxation and demonstration projects to increase local food production and diversity. We should track the amount of food grown in the city as a metric. Vancouver city proper could become a net food exporter!
This should reach out into the urban fringe, bringing farms closer to the city, expanding green spaces and integrating farms into them, and making it possible to cycle to farms. Perhaps we need an urban experimental farm right downtown!
This is critical. Urban farms, urban food gardens, urban hens, goats, sheep; oysters and other fish in False Creek; recovery of the great Fraser fisheries by restoring our source river ... green roofs used for gardens ... this should be a pillar of a green Vancouver.
Low footprint food choices are not the same as vegan food choices in all cases, the analysis is more complex than this. Generally a low footprint diet is local, seasonal food, and limits consumption of red meat, dairy, and some grains. Low footprint food choices are included in the draft Greenest City Action Plan and will be discussed through community engagement activities.
Joanne, you miss my point. Being vegan is not sufficient to sustainability and it is in fact a minor not a mjor part. Anyone who has studied the issue knows that people in NA consume far too much animal protien and that this protien is produced in terrible ways. But so is the soy, wheat, corn, rice. Being vegan is not the only or the most important component in the shift to a sustainable world and there are ways of to have grow dairy and meat that are sustainable.
To Sara Jane, no it is not. It is one very small part of a sustainable or better still resilient strategy. Most vegan's do not lead even remotely sustainable life styles (it is almost impossible to live a truly sustainable life style in today's Vancouver, which is one of the reasons these conversations are so important). And almost none of the core staples in a vegan lifestyle are grown in a sustainable way. In all liklihood organic lamb from Saltspring is more sustainable than any tofu, rice or wheat product on the market today.
Randall, I think your comment speaks more to proposals that Vancouver grow more of its own food than to encouraging vegan options. I am not a vegan and I do not believe that a vegan diet is necessaey or sufficent for a sustainable & resilient society (the opposite in fact), but I do support the idea that vegan options be widely encouraged and celebrated as (i) in North America we consumer too much animal protien, that is (ii) grown under horrible conditions, that (iii) are unsustainable by pretty much any measure. I would like to see more concrete ideas on this thread on how vegan options can be encouraged.
Basically I agree with Jana on this one, though the vegan advocates are correct when they claim (i) that in general a vegan diet is more sustainable and (ii) we over consume animal protiens. Making vegan choices easier will help make us more sustainable, and I say this as a dedicated omnivore.
Thanks S.S. I would summarize my position as follows. (i) A vegan diet is much more sustainable than a conventional animal protien-centric North American diet. (ii) A vegan diet is neither necessary nor sufficent for a sustainable economy. (iii) The modes of production are at least as important as what is produced, and industrial agriculture of all kinds plus long supply lines are not sustainable. But certainly, people in NA eat far too much animal protien than is good for them or the environment or (I believe) than for local economies. And I would encourage more Vegan options, but this is not a silver bullet.
I happen to agree that dairy industry subsidies distort markets and I would like them to goaway. That said, I hope you are not suggesting tofu or almonds as sustainable foods. Soy produciton is one of the most destructive of the agricultural industries. Of course California almonds may be even worse, given the impact it has on bees. We need to move away from any system that requires extensive monoculturing!
Yes, we know it takes even more land and resources to raise food animals and this is a huge drain on all aspects of the economy and ecology. A pure vegan diet is not necessary or even desireable for many people, but introducing a strong vegan thread into all of our diets is necessary and is likely to be forced on us as the cost of meat products goes up and the health of industrial produced meats continues its downward spiral. But it is even more important to support a healthy and diversified local food system. Most current vegan staples are far from sustainable: soy beans (tofy) are an ecological disaster, as is most rice farming, and corn and its by products - a very ecologically and socially expensive way to convert oil into food. Of course we then feed the corn to cattle! It is hard to imagine a worse system than the current industrial model for tofu except the one for beef, pork, chicken ... (And then there is fish farming, sucking low-level food species out the environment to feed a higher level predator (salmon, tuna) kept in pens!)
How many of the staples of a vegan diet are sustainably farmed? How many are local? Is simplifying the foodweb a green or sutainable idea?
Hi ****- I have actually done a great deal of research into this topic. Not sure you have. It don't see how rice as generally grown is as sustainable as goats on free range land not suitable for crops. Lentil production is almost as bad as rice, as is wheat. An then there is corn ... diet does not define sustainability, the networks of production and distribution do.
I disagree. There are many cases where integrating animals into the agricultural system is more sustainable than systems that ignore the natural complexity of the food web. The problems are from industrial agriculture, the reliance on oil forproduction and distribution, and the globalization of food distribution and production. Keeping hens in cities, growing oysters in False Creek and Burranrd Inlet, having goats in our parks are all vital to sustainability.
1,002 votes77 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
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.
I have no problem with a license for cyclists, but such systems are very expensive to set up and adminster and I doubt this would be net cash positive for the city. I also doubt it is within the city's jurisdiction. Cyclists have to step up and create a culture of responsible cycling. Laws are enforced by social norms and cyclists on the streets have to start talking to each other about this. We also need to do a better job separating cyclists and pedestrians before a cyclist kills a pedestrian in an accident.
Rather than have people debate James Twowheeler's ideas in the abstract, I would like to see the city experiment more. The experiments should be as public as possible, with clear hypotheses being tested, and we may need to include some form of monetary compensation for people who are disadvantaged by the experiment. There may be some opportunities to come up with original financing options for these experiments as well. Perhaps there are grants the city could go after in partnership with the universities. In cases where there are possible commercial off shoots the private sector could help fund. ... I suspect that streets with wider sidewalks, more life on the sidewalks, and good alternate transportation access will be at least as economically vibrant as current shopping streets (I avoid stores and restaurants on Broadway and find even Commercial and West 4th a bit too traffic heavy to be comfortable), but that is a hypotheses that I would like to see tested.
In general Tax Free's comment makes sense as long as they are real bike lanes, and have good signaling so that one can actually get into a groove.
On the other hand, I personally do enjoy the jostle and risk of urban cycling, but I don't expect most people to ride as much or as intensely as I do.
It is not clear to me how making the city more friendly for cyclist makes it less so for seniors, and I wonder if Vim is aware of how many seniors cycle (my neighbor cycled every day until she was in her early 80s and then most days until a couple of months before her death) and how much cycling can contribute to a healthy old age. It seems to me that it is a car-centric culture and the investments it requires that disadvantages seniors, many of whom no longer drive. Modest investments in a more bikable city and real investments in public transit are of more benefit to seniors than continuing to subsidize a car-based culture. And yes, car drivers need to understand that they cannot keep getting their free lunch.
This is not unique to Vancouver, although Vancouver does have some of the worst behaved drivers. Ihave been spit on twice in Vancouver (both times in the West End) by people oppsed to urban cyclists. In Boston there seems to be a group of people who shout "get a car" when they see someone on a bike. I used to shout back "get a bike" but these days I respond "cars are for the weak".
I have some sympathy for Wes' view. I am a hardcore urban cyclist and have been for a long-time. I split my time between Boston and Vancouver (long story) and cycle commute 12 months a year in both cities. I was delighed when the first thing my daughter did when she got a new job was to by a bike to cycle commute. That said, cycling is only a part of a sustainable transportation policy and some form of personal-powered transportation is likely to survive. Vancouver should strive to be an open testing ground for alternatives. Reinventing the Automobile by Mitchell, Borroni-Bird and Burns has many provocative ideas. It is foolish to think we know the solutions at this point. We need to actively explore alternatives.
Juvarya has a point, dry cycling in rainy Vancouver would be a great design tihnking challenge. Could we get the local design, architecture and planning schools working on this? That said, as they say in Norway, 'there is no bad weather, just bad dressing." I have no trouble cycling year around in both Vancouver (in the loving rain) and Boston (in the bracing cold).
Our design standards should give pedestrians the most direct and convenient routes, then cyclists, then transit and cars last. Currently we have pretty much the reverse. The comment before this by Alexg is spot on. We need to apply much better design thinking to traffic in Vancouver.
The key is to support multi-modal transit where bikes are always welcome. The current SkyTrain and bus configurations rather discourage bike use. How do we make it easy to combine bike-SkyTrain-bus-bike commutes?
This is an evolutionary process. The City of Vancouver is already considered a North American leader in this regard. Current and future plans and projects (e.g. Cambie Corridor Planning Program) will continue to embrace this ideal.
We need to create communities that people live and work in. Zoning laws need to be changed to mix more businesses in with residential housing and to make it easier to operate a business from a home. The current zoning laws act against sustainability on many levels.
I would like to second @ eMatheus. Vancouver needs a complete redesign of its zoning as part of a Green City strategy. It has to become easier to have small offices (not just one person home offices) and workshops in homes and farming and industry have to be reintegrated into residential areas. The strict separation of function in modern NA urban planning has had many negative side effects. This is going to be a touch issue and we will need a lot of public consultation, experimentation and sympathy for each other, but I believe we can, over time and with experiment, come up with a much more liveable approach. I also think that zoning in Vancouver over planned and top down and that we need to shift to more community and evolutionary approaches. It is a mistake to think there is one optimum solution, we need to have options. Also, as part of a Green City we need to make recycling and maybe even sewage processing more local! The current mega solutions are points of failure and they are so expensive they do not allow for experimentation.
Included in the Draft Greenest City Action Plan.
In the long term, the most sustainable approach will be to require intakes to be downstrem of outflows. We should start some pilot projects where the outflow is up to drinkable standards. In the long term, we will want to see human waste as a resource.
This needs to be applied to roadways and parking surfaces as well. These should be permeable and act as filters (biological filters). It should also be extended to wetlands and marshes, we need more wetlands in the city as part of a sustainable, watershed-based approach to water.
This is a great community led effort.
Nothing wrong with self promotion as long as there isdisclosure. In any case, I am not associated with any art organization and I would like to see a lot more theoretically strong art, well grounded in theory, that connects us to our place, theflows of enerergy and information through it, the transformations and degredations, and the remanents in time. Two of the best things to happen in Vancouver recently are Ken Lum's Van East cross and the piece by Stan Douglas in the Woolworth development. I would like to see more art that borrows its meaning from participation and helps me to participate more in the natutal city.
I would go beyond this and say that we need to fill the city with public art and events that link us to our environment and weave our pasts into out future. We have an opportunity to reimagine the role that public art plays in integrating a city into its physical environment and ecology and creating shared memories (to be contested). I will reallocate some votes to this.
There is a Campus City Collaborative project in the early stages of planning, where all of the post-secondary institutions are working with the City and the VEDC to talk about movement toward the greenest city, with a focus on creation of green jobs.
I wonder if we put too much emphasis on university style education and not enough on the trades. As we live longer and weave more careers into our life times perhaps we should be encouraging more people to have a trade, a university degree and a professional degree. We could begin to build apprenticeship programs in the key areas that are going to be needed in a green economy. I suspect that people who learn to work with their hands and their minds become more deeply skilled than those who do only one or the other.
408 votes72 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
I agree with Brad that it is hard to imagine a public bike program coexisting with mandatory helmets, so we should look at the trade off between the two. Is anyone aware of any holistic studies on this? I would like to see the city study this issue before jumping in. I do not have a fixed opinion. Meanwhile, when I am on my bike I am wearing a helmet.
The obvious risk category to put me in would be urban cyclist. I ride pretty much every day and have averaged 480 km per month so far this year. Over the past ten years I have been hit by cars three times and have also fallen four times (in three cases this was on ice in Boston). Helmet helped in three of the seven incidents. I have ridden without a helmet in Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Montreal, but would prefer a helmet. It is common sense to wear a helmet while cycling and I doubt that the requirement to wear a helmet discourages people from cycling any more than the requirement to wear seatbelts discourages people from using airplanes or cars. The only real issue in this debate is whether the benefits of a community cycling system out weigh those of mandatory helmet legislation and if a work around can be found. I have an open mind on this and think the decision should be data driven.
Yeah, but should the rest of us have to cover the additional insurance if you decide not to wear a helmet? Why do you think I should pay for you?
I personally wear a helmet at all times when I am riding one of my own bikes, and as i have been knocked off my bike by a car (in Boston not Vancouver) I am glad I do. But if we are to introduce a bike rental system like Montreal, Paris etc. we will almost certainly have to repeal helmet legislation. I have used these systems in Montreal, Copenhagen and Paris (sometimes as a tourist, sometimes as the best way to get to a business meeting) and I don't normallyhave a helmet available in these situations. I do think this needs more study though.
This is a tough one. Having used the systems in Paris, Montreal and Copenhagen I can appreciate how much they do to improve cycling in a city. But in Vancouver and Boston I always wear a helmet and I suspect on one occasion it saved my life or at least prevented a more serious head injury. I think this needs more study.
Hi "Drive More". I suspect it is a bit more complex. There are acquisition costs and operating costs. Our current home ownership incentives tend to subsidize acquisition at the expense of operating costs. One thing we should be looking at is the market distortions caused by all of our current subsidies - suburban homes get a lot more subsidies than urban, cars get more subsidies than other forms of transportation, etc. And then there is the question of 'market externalities', these are real costs that are not captured by the market system. For markets to work effectively they need to be transparent and to capture the most important costs. People make buying decisions on a whole host of complex factors, cost being only one of them. And informed buyers base their price decisions on the value they receive, not just on costs.
Oh yes, you would have more credibility if you had the courage to use your own name.
I guess I am not a regular citizen. Live in a single family dwelling, run companies, invest, have grown kids with jobs in the city, pay taxes. Sounds unusual to me. Shifting our economies to be sustainable and resilient is not ideological, it is a practical response to economic and social change. Without change we will become a fractured wreck of a city - look at what is happening in so many US cities (and I have lived in Boston and visit San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix, Austin, NYC for work). Vancouver, like many cities, invests huge amounts of money in its infrastructure every year and I for one am glad to have some input and would like to see investment that will make the city a better place to live.
This idea has been included in the Draft Greenest City Action Plan. We encourage neighbours to get together and develop project ideas.
What a great idea, and a way to give the library system a new mandate. But let's have a very open idea as to what we mean by tools. We don't necessarily know what tools for resilience and sustainability will look like.
So could local gardening, especially food gardening.
Nice idea, it promotes a more sustainable city and stronger neighborhoods. Local bicycle storage and repair could also be part of this.
404 votes17 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
A critical challenge for Vancouver. Laneway housing, STIR, the 20% Inclusionary Zoning Policy, and other programs and policies are intended to help increase housing affordability— see http://vancouver.ca/housing. The draft Greenest City plan recognizes the importance of affordability and will review additional strategies, e.g. unbundled parking.
Thanks Pavel - that is certainly the right question, and I look forward to your thoughts. Some ideas
1. Separate ownership of parking from ownership of house (this is done in Tokyo, parts of Boston, etc.). This allows people downtown to buy a place to live without having to pay for a car. People who need parking can buy the parking separately.
2. Encourage basement suites and greater density.
3. Allow for longer term mortgages
4. Greater density
5. More, many more, housing co-ops
6. Explore other alternate ownership models in addition to co-ops
7. Review tax system to see if there are hidden subsidies that lead to housing speculation
Affordable housing, learning, transit, food ... all have to be a core part of a green Vancouver strategy. But what are the concrete steps we can take on this? Will more density help? Do we need to encourage more housing co-ops? Can we separate home ownership from parking space ownership, and stop requiring developers to put in parking? How do we make Vancouver an affordable place to live?
I would like my children and grandchildren to be able to live in walking distance if they choose. Hard to do at today's prices. What are the best policies to achieve this?
I will reallocate my votes to vote this up. The city will only reallybe sustainable if people can afford to live in it. It is critical to cultural creativity as well - artists, new immigrants, start-up companies and their underpaid workforces all need to be close to each other in a critical mass to create a vibrant and sustainable culture. We need a lot of creative thinking and new ideas here, and we need to design markets that work in favor of afforable housing and not against it.
394 votes16 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
An exciting idea!
I wonder if the sides of residential streets, which are basically used for parking in many parts of Vancouver, could be repaved using an open grid and plant system that would be pourous and add more green to our streets. We need to begin experimenting with alternate paving systems and lanes and parking areas seem to be a good place to start. It will take decades to develop and grow organic paving systems so we had better get started.
It would be fantastic to see sidewalk life emerge in Vancouver, great for neighbourhoods, great for social cohesion and it would get people outside in their city. We should look at eliminating at least one lane on key commercial streets and turning it over to public art, cafes, performances, fruit trees ... and some of these should be covered or have some way to make them livable outside when it is raining. I live near 4th and would vote for trying this approach on 4th. Imagine if the restaurants on 4th had sidewalk seating, and if there were vendors of all sorts of interesting street food. Combined with a couple of pieces of public art on every block (Jeff Wall, Gathie Falk, Stan Douglas, Doug Coupland, Ken Lum, Sally Gregson ...) wow.
Yes, yes, yes. And where we do have to have pavement lets try to make it pourous, have it filter runoff. We also need to reclaim more space for sidewalks so that we can have more street life. Our sidewalks should become green corridors for wildlife as well.
Let's not treat the symptom. Let's understand why the number of crows is increasing and how (if) their behvior is changing. Direct actions against any wild population is antithetical to creating a green and resilient city ecology.
Let's allow species that adpat to urban environments thrive. The idea of 'invasive species' is ecological nonsense. Species distribution change in response to environment change is a good thing. Let's create a richly varied and linked environment and let the chips fall where they may.
289 votes11 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
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.
Anonymous brings up an important point - is it meaningful to talk about Vancouver being sustainable or do we need to think about the whole of the lower Fraser River and adjacent waters.
We should link SFU and UBC directly by rapid transit, flowing this through the ECUAD and integrating VCC campuses where we can. Our future depends on education and we should better integrate transportation into education. It would also be nice to have better access to the North Shore Mountains and to the ferries.
43 votes4 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
Outside city boundaries and jurisdiction. Addressing major gaps in the regional cycling network could potentially be addressed through the relevant local municipalities and/or TransLink. TransLink’s draft regional cycling strategy can be found here: http://translink.ca/cycling .
Yes, yes, yes - I know it is a long ride to downtown but I for one would use this to go to Whiterock and to use the ferry when I need to get to Victoria.
52 votes10 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
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).
I think Water would benefit from this, and I would like to see this for 4th Ave. Keep a two lanes on 4th for Busses, one lane for a major bike path, and turn the rest into gardens, cafes, performance space and public art. We should find places to do this in all of the centres.
I would go farther and say let's find ways to repave our sidewalks, parking lots and roads with some new form of pavement that combines an open grid with resilient grasses and herbs. This will require some research and we will need to learn how to grow and maintain these systems but they have many advantages: they let the rain through instead of causing runoff, this will filter the water and support more trees and other plants, and it will replenish our daylighted creeks. The research could lead Vancouver to become a leader in these new systems. Of course we will have to design them to provide good traction, to be wheelchair and stroller friendly and to stand up to snow, ice and even some road salt, but these challenges are what makes it a huge opportunity. Let's start by repaving some parking lots and sidewalks and see what works.
Tax maybe, but I am strongly opposed to bans. A resilient and sustainable society requires lots of options. And why pick on water? All bottles should carry higher tax, unless your goal is to encourage more people to drink pop.
Or they could cycle, or use public transit. In fact, I have heard that many do.
1 vote5 comments · GC 2020 » Travel predominately by foot, bike, and transit · Flag idea as inappropriate… · Admin →
I wonder who the 'we' is in Lawson's claim. Can't speak for anyone else but I certainly care deeply, and the city government's commitment to making Vancouver a green city is one of the reasons I moved back from Boston. I am not aware of an electronic voting system in Vancouver, but I can see the arguements for developing one. It could become an important part of a new participatory democracy. It is certainly an idea worth exploring.