A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

David Premi

At the recent Bay Area Climate Change Summit, a Hamilton audience of 150 people was told by Sustainability Consultant Yuill Herbert that the city could become carbon neutral by 2050. This, according to increasing scientific consensus, is the necessary target that all cities must strive for in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This is particularly timely as Hamilton city council also recently voted to declare a climate emergency. It is amongst the first few cities in Canada to do so after Vancouver, Halifax and Kingston.

Herbert said that governments have a lot of leverage to change the way we design our cities. He suggests the following:

Change regulations

Governments should enforce a net-zero carbon agenda for any new construction. Provincially, this could be enshrined in the building code if the Government considered climate change an important issue. Locally, bylaws could enforce a higher level of sustainability, for example, Toronto’s requirement for green roofs.

Intensify

The way a city is designed has a direct impact on its carbon footprint.  In an automobile dependent community, a great deal of carbon is produced driving around.  More expensive and resource-hungry roads and infrastructure are required in low-density environments. Cities must urgently adopt new (or finally get serious about enforcing existing) rules that promote compact urban form and intensification. Less sprawl and more density mean a more livable environment locally and a healthier planet. There is no downside to this concept.

Stop Designing for Automobiles

Parking requirements should be greatly reduced or eliminated. Parking stall sizes should be decreased. Require bike storage and car share in all new buildings. Build complete cycling networks. Cities must start to create redevelopment plans around both local and regional transit networks

Photo by Ken Mann – Global News

We are running out of time. All designers should feel an obligation to radically change the way we design cities and buildings and need to act to work quickly towards this goal. By declaring a climate emergency, the City of Hamilton has announced its commitment to this goal. We now have a new lens through which to justify and judge our actions.

9 thoughts on “A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

  1. I am planning on being a creative writing teacher for my Senior project. The problem is, I can’t think of a grade that kids start creative writing. I would rather deal with younger kids than older ones because in the end I want to give them a book of the classes collected works. I was thinking 3rd Grade, but I can’t remember when I started creative writing. Any and all help would be much appreciated. Thank you. :).

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  5. You are a poor junior professor of computer science and are short of cash.. A computer magazine offers you a steady side job writing. one short article a month for three years. 36 months. The catch is the editor wants you to write about. the 12 different types of computer programing languages. And the 12 different types of computer tasks.. And the 12 different types of computer programmers.. . Before you get your first check the editor wants 3 lists of 12 types.. . So have a slice of wonder bread (builds strong bodies twelve ways) and. make a list of the 12 different types of computer programmers.. . Note: the other two lists are posted as similar, but separate questions..

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