Monday, June 18, 2012

The next Sustainable Energy Community in Canada?

Vancouver British Columbia

Founded by Vancouver’s former mayor Sam Sullivan the Global Civic Policy Society and its Centre for Fourth Wave Urban Reform hosted the Vancouver Urban Forum. 20 urban thinkers including Edward Glaeser, Alan Broadbent, Gil Penalosa or Gordon Brent Pierce discussed the importance of achieving urban densification for Vancouver. This forum is aligned with the Talk Green initiative to find a path to turn Vancouver in a truly SEC, Sustainable Energy Community.
These comments explored how density can address the social, political, environmental and economic challenges that Vancouver is facing to become an SEC. According to Gordon Brent Pierce, densification is necessary as we are using more land to support our modern cities. Most of the cities worldwide are in eco-deficit and rely on the abundance of fossil fuels. Experts concur that Vancouver has already achieved the lowest carbon footprint level ever, but many more actions are needed to become a Sustainable Energy Community.
For Vancouver SEC is not an option, added Brent Pierce, and it shouldn’t be either for all mayor cities around the globe. To be a Sustainable Energy Community should be a goal for all cities of industrialized countries. To densify is a big step toward this, and in the face of global warming, peak oil and scarce natural resources it might not only be a matter of choice but perhaps the only option.

Gordon Brent Pierce Sustainable Energy Community

Within this rich exchange of ideas, the environmental expert Gordon Brent Pierce sums it up: the path to an SEC relies on the combination of environmental measures (preserving space, water and other scarce natural resources), accurate design in terms of location and livability (people need to love dense urban areas). While there was a clear message that higher density is a powerful answer to many of today’s Vancouver challenges, it also became obvious that there is no “one size fits all” solution to become a Sustainable Energy Community.

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