Smart Neighbourhoods

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A Catalyst for Sustainable Practices

Smart Neighbourhoods are designed to be efficient, healthy and economical places to live, work, shop and play. They help cut GHG emissions primarily through a reduction in car trips – up to 40 % less compared to a typical suburban neighbourhood. [1] Additional benefits are that Smart Neighbourhoods increase residents’ health and quality of life. A successful Smart Neighbourhood can act as a catalyst for community support for further widespread adoption of more sustainable practices.

Building Smart Neighborhoods is not new in British Columbia, and many communities have retained complete, compact pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods, such as in Nelson, Fernie, Revelstoke and Ladysmith, as well as a number of neighborhoods in Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria. For much of the last 50 years, however, we have moved away from creating compact neighbourhoods. Smart Neighborhoods incorporate “neo-traditional” neighbourhood design elements, along with new ones that take advantage of energy and environmental innovations.

Smart Neighbourhoods exhibit all or some of the following characteristics, including:

  • Compact and complete, characterized by higher densities and a mix of uses
  • Central location, with clustering of employment, retail, residential, and other activities and uses
  • Accessible, multimodal transportation, allowing people to get around easily on foot, bicycle and transit
  • Green networks, integrating landscaping, green roofs, street boulevards, parks, and environmentally sensitive areas
  • Green buildings
  • Reduced energy and resource use, based on district energy and efficient infrastructure
  • Diverse housing options, accommodating people of all ages and walks of life
  • Economic viability, ensuring the long-term resilience of developer, town, and residents
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[1] Ewing, R., K. Bartholomew, S. Winkelman, J. Walters, and D. Chen, 2008. Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. Urban Land Institute, 4.