by Jennie Moore, Director of Sustainable Development, British Columbia Institute of Technology-School of Construction and the Environment
Update on Vancouver’s Second IEFS Workshop
The City of Vancouver is an early partner city to the development of the International Ecocity Framework and Standards (IEFS). On February 9th, 2012, BCIT hosted a workshop led by Ecocity Builders to assess progress to date in the IEFS development and explore next steps. Workshop participants included representatives from the City of Vancouver and many other local government and provincial government agencies, the construction industry, and non-government organizations.
The workshop built on the outcomes of a previous workshop held in Vancouver in 2010. At that time, the original concept of the IEFS was introduced and participants worked on establishing the fifteen conditions that now comprise the standards. Participants also identified the need to develop a guiding framework.
At this year’s workshop, participants reviewed the progress made to date, including the first attempt by City of Vancouver staff, in 2011, to assess their City’s performance using the IEFS. Important data gaps in the areas of soil fertility and food growing capacity were identified; however, City staff reported that the IEFS can be used to assess the City’s performance. Moving forward from that review, the workshop participants re-iterated the importance of metrics to both guide and inform performance.
Workshop participants broke into five table groups to further explore:
Bio-geophysical conditions (City within its bioregion)
Bio-geophysical conditions (City and the environment)
Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.
– Albert Einstein
City planners aren’t usually on the list of people we associate with paradigm-shifting embers of wisdom. Spiritual leaders, artists, and philosophers — yes — they have sparked our collective imagination and shaped the course of society throughout history. While Be the change you wish to see in the world and I have a Dream will forever be guiding lights in our journey through a complex and often confusing world, it’s clear that each generation brings with it the need for new symbols and archetypes in response to the struggles of its time.
It was at last month’s Ecocity World Summit in Istanbul that I thought I’d heard a concept expressed that reflects and encompasses so much of the millennial Zeitgeist, as a theme to embrace as well as aspire to: The Power of Nearness
Other than just being a great place to live, Vancouver, Canada may soon become a great green place to live. EcoDensity is their flagship green project, and the scope and breadth of what they are planning is pretty amazing.
In beginning this process, Vancouver is putting itself at the cutting edge of sustainability and ecoplanning for cities its size. The complete Draft Initial Actions [pdf] document gives a glimpse of this project. Still in the public input phase, the year and a half old project has a great spokesman in Brent Toderian. In our last post on Friday we featured Brent, Director of City Planning in Vancouver. It’s important to remember that no decisions have been made in this project, and that the Vancouver city council will make the final say on any concrete changes. Until then, we can applaud the vision that Brent and other Vancouverites have, and encourage the healthy dialog that will make projects like this possible all over.
Past the jump you’ll find some very enlightening info from their FAQ…
Director of City Planning in Vancouver, Canada Brent Toderian has been described as an “urban firecracker” and a “sophisticated urbanist.”
Add to that list one more: Speaker at Ecocity World Summit 2008.
As Director of City Planning, his broad mandate involves both current planning, including the many projects related to the up-coming 2010 Winter Olympics, and visioning/city plans. The eco-project that he is working on in Vancouver is a major urban re-envisioning called EcoDensity. EcoDensity is a concept currently being discussed with the Vancouver community. EcoDensity is an acknowledgment that high quality and strategically located density can make Vancouver more sustainable, livable and affordable.
In this segment from Greater Vancouver Television, he describes the goals that EcoDensity is striving for, and the community effort that is required to accomplish them.
For a truly illuminating peek into Brent’s work and perspective on all things urban, check out his blog.