Vancouver’s Greenest City Plan: A story of citizen engagement

April 8, 2015 at 9:25 am Leave a comment

When the City of Vancouver began its journey to become the world’s greenest city by 2020, it needed to find a way to get Vancouverites excited about – and involved in – such a bold vision. This frequently required breaking the mold of traditional government communications, including by creating the city’s first Facebook page (2008) and holding it’s inaugural webinar. The city created an “off-brand” website that looked nothing like its official municipal pages (with an easy to remember url – TalkGreenToUS.ca – and an online suggestion box that allowed people to vote on their favorite ideas) and reached out to networks asking them to host Greenest City events to broaden their reach.

The intention behind these efforts was to connect with people where they were, in other words, to make it easier for community members to be part of the process. Public meetings are limited to those who have the time, means and ability to participate. The city wanted everyone to be able to engage, whether that was in person or online from their couch at home.

After much consultation, the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan was unveiled in 2010 with a range of goals influenced by the ideas of community members. These included growing the green economy, leading on greenhouse gas reductions, creating green buildings, green transportation options, becoming zero waste, providing access to nature, reducing the city’s carbon footprint, providing clean water and providing clean air and local food.

The good news is – it’s working! Green jobs, which the city aims to double by 2020 have increased by 19% in 2013-14, following a national trend across Canada where green jobs now employ more people than the oil industry.  Greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 6% since 2007, making Vancouver the North American city with the lowest per capita GHG emissions. The city now has 93 EV charging stations, 265km of bike network (and that’s even before you get to the mountain bike trails of the North Shore) and 44% of trips made in the city in 2013-14 were by bike, walking or transit.

Read Vancouver’s Greenest City Plan: A story of citizen engagement, by Amy Huva at Climate Access.

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Entry filed under: Active Transportation, Carbon_Emissions, Economy, Energy, Food, Renewables, Resilience, Waste.

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