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Sustainable Urban Regions

Executive Summary of Vancouver Greenest City Plan

The Vancouver Greenest City Plan 2020 is an ambitious plan of the authority of Vancouver to make the city a flag bearer and the prototype of the city plans to adapt to the climate change needs and sustainable development protocols. A brief introduction of the plan has been given with some assessment criteria’s indentified to analyze the efficiency and comparability of the plan. Then this plan has been analyzed one by one on the following assessment criteria which also cover the details of the plan which throw light on the climate assessment techniques and internationally accepted ideas which are helpful even for a layman to understand the concept. Internationally accepted Green city protocols like UnHabitat and UN SDGs are been included in the same assessment criteria which will make better understand the basic framework on which a green plan be based.



The Assessment.



17 UN SDGs.

Maintenance of resources and efficiency.

Intergenerational and Intragenerational equity-.


What is the need of the Plan.

Support to Informality.

Leadership Role.



Introduction to Vancouver Greenest City Plan

The concept of sustainable development has gained most importanceamong governments today. It is the principle of development for meeting current developmental needs while sustaining the needs of the future generations. Sustainable development is concerned with such practices so that the natural reservoirs can retain their ability of sustainability. It’s aim is to establish a state of development in which the living conditions and the resources are to be used without undermining the stability and integrity of the natural system (Mensah 2019).For example, the use of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels which exhaust extra pollutants into the environment that will create harmful conditions to live for the future generations.

The plan of the city which is chosen here is the city of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 action plan, which will be assessed on the following criteria-

Does the green plan recognize and, has the ability to respond to, the current and potential natural hazards and threats in a sustainable way?

Does the plan acknowledge social justice and have the ability to promote pro-poor, gender sensitive and all inclusive?

Does the plan acknowledge the 17 global UN SDGs?

Does the plan acknowledge the rights of the urban dwellers of the city? (Goldstandar 2018)

Does the planning system have the ability to respond to socio economic and spatial diversity at all scales?

Stakeholders- Does the plan encourage and include all the stakeholders related to the plan viz the different groups on the processes of planning and its outcomes? - The Vancouver City Plan 2020 repeatedly insists on the role of all the stakeholders related to the green city and has included them in the plan actions and steps (Greenestcity 2020).

Local Identities- Does the plan do anything topreserve the cultural and social identities and needs related to the local place?

Infrastructure- Does the plan support the sustainable urban infrastructural and transport systems that are environmentally sustainable?

Social Inclusion- What does the plan do to support the local livelihoods and social inclusion? (Gibson 2012).

Support to Informality- Does the plan acknowledge and support the important role played by the local informalities, which includes urban slums and informal settlements, and is the plan sufficiently flexible to act on the plans presented by the working groups, the community and non government organizations?

Effective Planning and Update- Does the plan have effective communication systems to the specialized agencies working in the sustainable habitat development like UN habitat, WUF, WUC to effectively cross-check the plans with the current trends and developments made by these agencies?

Support- Is there a support which is sustained by the poor people, the government, the politicians, the business sector and if not, what corrective measures have been put in place to tackle the issue?

What is the Need of the Plan- What are reasons for it? Has it been implemented because of other reasons such as impose ad agencies or international consultants?

Intergenerational and Intragenerational equity- Does the plan favor and support the present options and actions which promote the actions and opportunities of the future generations to live sustainably? And does it reduce the gap between rich and the poor in matters of security, opportunity, sufficiency of the resources etc? (SalaCiuffo and Nijkamp 2015)

Maintenance of Resources and Efficiency- does the plan provide a larger base for ensuring sustainable livelihood for all, avoids waste and cuts the resource use and energy per unit.

The Assessment of Vancouver Greenest City Plan

Current and potential hazards

The plan has a clear strategy to reduce solid waste going into the landfills by 50% of the 2008 levels and to achieve this, many plans are outlined like going plastic bag free, borrowing the table saw, making valuable resources out of waste, to plant 150,000 trees by 2020.Creating six new mini parks by conversion of existing street right of way unto parks. However, there is no mention of the mini forest concept recentlydeveloped.


 The2020 plan has an active transportation plan with reference to Greenest City perspective. The new plans will provide framework and strategies to be completed in the next 2 decades in the city to meet the active transportation and mobility plans (greenestcity 2020). The city planned for fast, active, cost benefit, resource benefit reliable and fast transport system like the bike share stations, Broadway corridor, advanced policies and laws to discourage citizens to buy fossil fueled cars. The plan has fixed targets on building codes which are

  • All the buildings construction from 2020 to be zero carbon in operation.
  • Reducing the emission levels and energy use in the already existing buildings by 20% of the 2007 levels (greenestcity, 2020).
  • Financial tools to be developed for enabling energy efficiency by bridges the gaps.
  • Using the price signals in permit fees to enable the new constructions and also for renovation of the existing buildings and rewards on energy efficiency and GHG reductions.


 The same team recommended a kick start of 75 actions that the city could quickly adopt and begin to act on immediately. The city staff was tasked with a plan on how these actions can be converted into practical steps to achieve the desired goals and in result the greenest city plan 2020 came out. Around 35,000 people all over the world took part in the process online. The citizens of Vancouver also took part in the plans to share their ideas, paths, actions, and insights to contribute to developing the best plans. More than 120 organizations including NGOs and numerous individuals participated in the program (Greenestcity 2020).

17 UN SDGs

 Vancouver City Green Plan 2020 aims at bringing the greenhouse gas emission levels to 5% below the 1990 levels, despite the fact that the population has grown by more than 27% and the jobs in the city have grown by 18% (Greenestcity 2020). The electricity generation of Vancouver is set in British Columbia province and 93% of the generation is through the renewable resources. In addition to these, the Vancouver City 2020 plans includes all the 17 SDGs in their city plans which are evaluated in different sections like capacity building, developing a climate change adaptation plan and support provincial climate and energy plans.

Maintenance of Resources and Efficiency

The city plan has clear targets of providing additional 3% green jobs, half of which will be given by existing businesses by transforming green (greenestcity 2020), also city will work efficient transportation rather than building new roads, thereby achieving additional per unit resource utilization benefits. Vancouver economic commission has identified five key areas to go green and create green jobs.

Intergenerational and Intragenerational Equity

The ex-chief economist of the World Bank, Sir Nicholas Stern has estimated that if the world fails to contain the crisis of climate change, it would cost the economy of the world $6.6 trillion(greenestcity 2020). Though there is a considerable amount of investments needed to make Vancouver a green city, it will cost hugely if the steps to make green and contain the climate change will not be taken into hands. The action plan sets out a clear vision ad concrete targets and necessary steps and processes to the goals aimed at making the greenest city. The results could be very promising and that these results can help every citizen to exploit his/ her full potential with considerable benefits which will be gifted by clean natural systems of the earth.

The strategy is to create opportunities today to the fullest while building a strong economy, inclusive neighbor and to make it an internationally recognized green city that can meet the needs of the generations to come.

Vision of Vancouver Greenest City Plan

The vision is a strategy to create opportunities today to the fullest while building a strong economy and making a city which is recognized internationally as a green city and which can meet the needs of the generations today and tomorrow. The goal is directly connected to the other nine defined goals particularly green building, zero waste and local food, these are the areas where bulk of green jobs are expected.

The greenest city action plan is further divided into 10 sub-plans and which are further divided into long term and short term plans for 2020 and 2050 respectively. These 10 plans address 3 main areas of focus which are waste, carbon and ecosystem. For this plan, four areas of priority have been identified which are-

  • Planning and implementing aninclusive waste reduction and diversion program for all of the city’s facilities.
  • A policy and process that will aid the purchase and use of local food in the facilities including the community centers and restaurants.
  • Green community events opportunities identification to run, permit and sponsor.
  • Planning and implimenting a program to run greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuels in the buildings and vehicles which the city runs and plans to achieve zero carbon operations (greenestcity 2020).

What Is the Need of The Plan

The city plan 2020 explains that the city has a carbon footprint 3 times more than the earth can afford and already the city has been developing on the green pattern, thus nothing concrete has been explained on this criteria.

Support to Informality

 The plan aims to double the green jobs from the 2010 levels with doubling the companies which are engaged in changing operational patterns to green (Greenestcity 2020). The plan ensures creation of green jobs, empowering the community with optimum benefit of the available resources for utmost living conditions and to live life with all opportunities to exploit the potential, without compromising the future needs of the generations. The two clear aims in this regard-

  • Community based economic development - create job opportunities and reduce barriers to employment. The EMBERS green restoration program.
  • Capacity building, research and education- Programs to connect students and researchers with the sustainability questions of importance in the city, also training by the local institutions for the needs of the potential green workforce (greenestcity 2020).

Effective planning and update- The city plan has effective framework to include international organizations, NGOS, citizens, government machinery into the plans and its processes. The four key factors which are outlined to carry the plan are vision, leadership, action and partnership and all these 4 factors have been detailed in the plan as to how will they contribute towards the plan (greenestcity 2020).

Maintenance of resources and efficiency- Development of economy- Vancouver economic commission identified 5 key cluster areas to be made green and create jobs. The plan aims to make the majority of the transit over 50% by foot, bicycle and by public transport. The plan has an innovative aim of reducing the average distance driven by every resident by 20% from 2007 levels.

Greening the already existing workplaces- the city and the VEC have planned to make sustainable the existing companies by their process, operations, waste management.

A new gold standard for buildings has been introduced in the form of LEED which is for environment performance of the buildings. The system is internationally accepted and recognized (greenestcity 2020).

Social justice and socio economical diversity acknowledgement- Community based economic development to create employment opportunities and reducing barriers to it like The EMBERS green restoration program.Capacity building, research and education- programs to connect students and researchers with the sustainability questions of importance in the city, also training by the local institutions for the needs of the potential green workforce (Greenestcity 2020).The plan brings new neighborhood-scale renewable energy systems online,support with its plans green code for buildings, transportation and plans for zero waste.

Leadership Role

The city staff and elected officials from the different organizations including the public sector agencies operating into diverse avenues from all over the city, which are well versed with the plan. The city will need to demonstrate the green city like buildings, facilities and activities.

Conclusion on Vancouver Greenest City Plan

15 assessment criteria have been indentified for the Vancouver greenest city plan and the plan is assessed on the criteria in the compact form. It can be concluded that the plan has been made keeping in view all the requirements and major assessments recognized internationally and the plan has been openly been supported by the stakeholders and they have been included in the plans and procedure and it has been made with almost every detail and a well planned framework has been developed to make Vancouver greenest city by 2020.

References for Vancouver Greenest City Plan

Davidson, K and Armaan, M,(2014) Planning for sustainability: an assessment of recent metropolitan planning strategies and urban policy in Australia. Australian planner 51 (4).

Gibson, R. 2012 Sustainability assessment: basic components of a practical approach. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal.Doi-

Goldstandard (2018).Criteria for sustainable development and how to use the sustainable development goal (sdg) framework.Unep Dtu Partnership. Retrieved from

Greenestcity, (2020).Vancouver greenest city 2020 action plan. 10-72. Sustainable development goals. Available at

Mensah, J. (2019). Sustainable development: meaning, history, principles, pillars, and implications for human action: literature review. Cogent Social Sciences 5(1) Retrieved from

Sala, S., Ciuffo, B. &Nijkamp, p. (2015). A systemic framework for sustainability assessment.Ecological Economics 119.Doi-

UNhabitat , 2009. Planning sustainable cities. Global report on human settlements 2009.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Sustainability Assignment Help

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