Living Clean and Free

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[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]A[/mk_dropcaps] NUMBER OF Vancouver’s 10 goal areas can be grouped under the “livability” banner. Perhaps the most impressive of these is the city’s stated goal to become a global leader in urban food systems, to meet, as it says “social, environmental, economic and health goals.”

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In 2013, city council released the Vancouver Food Strategy to align and integrate all the various food system initiatives that the city is pursuing. They include encouraging residents to buy food from local sources, boosting the number of small-scale urban farms, adding more local farmers markets, fostering the growth of neighbourhood food networks and planting more fruit trees. The city is even trying to integrate food production into the streetscape, including growing vegetables and fruit and nut trees on urban boulevards, traffic circles and other similar spaces and by planting food-bearing trees in parks and on other public property. The plan also calls for the continued development of community gardens, which, according to city social planner James O’Neill, have doubled to more than 4,200 plots in 110 gardens in the last four years. Even so there is a demand for more, with as many as 16,000 people on waiting lists for plots.

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As befitting of a city perched on the edge of a rainforest, Vancouver boasts one of the world’s cleanest supplies of drinking water. In addition to maintaining this high standard, Vancouver’s goal is to reduce water consumption across the city by 33 per cent from 2006 levels.

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Perhaps the most impressive of the city’s stated goals is its aim to become a global leader in urban food systems.

[/mk_blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]The municipal effort to reduce water consumption includes promoting water-wise gardening, installing efficient water fixtures in restaurants, upgrading sewers and charging more for water. All new single- and two-family homes must have a water consumption meter installed. Every four months, residents pay a flat rate for maintenance and water consumption, but if you use less water than the average then you pay less. The strategy appears to be working. According to the latest numbers, Vancouver’s water consumption is down 16 per cent.

As is the case with its water, Vancouver is also praised for the quality of its air, which ranks first among the 27 North American cities analyzed by the Economist Intelligent Unit. At the top of the priority list of actions for improving air quality is increasing the use of electric vehicles. Vancouver already claims the largest collection of smart cars of any city in the world: a fleet of 1,250 electric-powered Car2Go vehicles that can be rented at 41 cents per minute. As well, the city has more than 200 public and private electric vehicle-charging stations and has set quotas on making parking lots electric vehicle ready — 20 per cent in apartments and condos and 10 per cent in mixed use and commercial buildings. Still, electric vehicles have yet to catch on in any big way with the Vancouver public.

Increasing access to parks is another of the goal areas of the city’s action plan. The city wants every resident to live within a five-minute walk of a park or other green space by 2020. Currently, 92.7 per cent of the population qualifies. “It’s going to be hard to move the dial on that metric,” admits Dave Hutch, manager of research and planning at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. One method that the city is exploring is creating mini-parks about the size of a city lot.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_button dimension=”three” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#fff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#13bdd2″ text_color=”light” icon=”moon-next” url=”/living-clean-and-free/6/” target=”_self” align=”right” fullwidth=”false” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″ animation=”scale-up”]Next Page

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2 thoughts on “Living Clean and Free”

  1. I wanted to share the article “Living Clean and Free” on Facebook but couldn’t find an option on the EnergyExchange website to do so. My reason for wanting to share this, and other articles relating to the need for us to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, is my observation that very few people seem interested in doing their part to help in this endeavor.

    1. Hi Donald, we’re happy to hear that you enjoyed the article on Vancouver. The button to share the article via Facebook and other social media is just above the aerial photo of Vancouver, on the right hand side. It looks like a sideways V connected by three dots (beside the printer symbol). Thank you for reaching out and sharing!

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