Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Atlanta vs Barcelona

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I do like a good graphic. You know that old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words. And I have long been an advocate of better land use planning being essential to good transportation planning – and vice versa. This illustration is taken from a new draft publication from the Province of Ontario “Community Emissions Reduction Planning: A Guide for Municipalities” (downloadable as a pdf).

This Guideline has been prepared to support provincial land-use planning direction related to the completion of energy and emissions plans. The plans will typically include community-wide and municipal/corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, the setting of emissions reduction targets, and the development of strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

The Government of Ontario has established provincial GHG reduction targets of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020, 37% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. This Guideline describes how the activities of municipalities are vital to achieving these targets and for planning low-carbon communities..

The Guideline has two core objectives: to educate planners, other municipal staff, citizens, and stakeholders on the municipal opportunities to reduce energy and GHG emissions (in particular for land-use policy); and to provide guidance on methods and techniques to incorporate consideration of energy and GHG emissions into municipal activities of all types. To support the second objective, a detailed planning process is described.

Community Emissions Reduction Planning Ontario graphic

What we were supposed to be doing in Metro Vancouver was to emulate Barcelona to avoid the fate of becoming Atlanta. The way to do that was summarised as “protect the Green Zone, build a compact urban region with complete communities and increase transportation choice”. Instead of investing in transit, the Province of BC decided to widen the freeways, build huge bridges and generally lock us into car dependence. You might also have seen that BC’s greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing in recent years. The two are not – as you can see – unrelated.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 17, 2018 at 4:43 pm

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