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Ecocity at UBC : Propose a Framework to Evaluate and Amend UBC Plans and Policies Haghbin, Elham 2019-08-31

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability Program Student Research Report        Ecocity at UBC: Propose a Framework to Evaluate and Amend UBC Plans and Policies Elham Haghbin University of British Columbia LARC 581 Themes: Buildings, Biodiversity, Community August 2019         Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Sustainability Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student research project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore, readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Sustainability Program representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.           ECOCITY AT UBC 1   University of British Columbia Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability Program Student Research Report            Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Sustainability Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student research project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore, readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Sustainability Program representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.   Elham Haghbin Master of Urban Design August 2019 Ecocity at UBC Propose a Framework to Evaluate and Amend UBC Plans and Policies           ECOCITY AT UBC 2    Completed by: Elham Haghbin - Master of urban Design Supervised by: Kees Lokman - Faculty of Applied Science Support from Campus and Community Planning (C&CP) and UBC Botanical Garden David Gill - Program & Policy Planner, C&CP John Madden - Director of Sustainability and Engineering, C&CP Tara Moreau - Associate Director, Sustainability and Community Programs            ECOCITY AT UBC 3  TABLE OF CONTENTS 1-    Executive Summary .........................................................................................................................................4 2-    Introduction & Methodology ........................................................................................................................5 3-    SDGs and its Application ...............................................................................................................................7 4-    The Ecocity Framework and its Application ............................................................................................ 10 4-1- SDGs in relation to Ecocity Framework ................................................................................................ 10 5-    Other Rating Systems (LEED, SITES, ENVISION, RELI) ................................................................................ 12 5-1- LEED for Neighborhood Development ................................................................................................. 12 5-2- SITES ............................................................................................................................................................. 13 5-3- ENVISION .................................................................................................................................................... 13 5-4- RELi ............................................................................................................................................................... 14 6-    Comparison of SDG’s, Ecocity and 4 Other Rating Systems ................................................................ 15 7-    Proposed UBC Evaluation System ............................................................................................................. 17 7-1- Defining Measurable Criteria for the Proposed UBC Evaluation System ....................................... 17 8-   Recommendations for Future Research ................................................................................................... 20 9-   Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................................... 21 10- References ...................................................................................................................................................... 22 Apendix .................................................................................................................................................................. 23              ECOCITY AT UBC 4  1-     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY One of the primary goals of UBC is to transform its campus into a vibrant, connected and complete sustainable community by going beyond minimizing harm to become net positive contributors to human and environmental wellbeing. UBC has recently aimed to align itself with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In doing so, UBC is one of three institutions in the world in delivering on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to contribute to create sustainable communities, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity in a community. UBC plans and policies play an important role in delivering these goals, they are guiding the university to reach sustainability at the heart of teaching, learning and research, operations and infrastructure, and community. For this reason, it is essential to evaluate the UBC plans and policies and amend where necessary to make them applicable and effective. The purpose of this research is to propose a framework to evaluate UBC plans and policies to understand relationships and identify potential gaps and synergies toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This proposed framework is based on SDGs, EcoCity pillars and standards, and four rating systems include LEED, SITES, ENVISION and RELI. The outcome is a new framework with potential indicators for UBC Campus and Community Planning to both measure the effectiveness of current policies and plans, as well as to guide the development of new plans moving forward.                   ECOCITY AT UBC 5  2-    INTRODUCTION & METHODOLOGY With an increasing majority of the world’s population living in urban centers, cities will need to take the lead in addressing numerous pressures that challenge the health of people and ecosystems [1]. Increasing evidence highlights that cities will be threatened by issues relating to housing, energy production, food or water security, climate change, economic uncertainty, urbanisation, social conflict and terrorism among others [1]. In response to these challenges, the United Nations has developed a collection of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have been adopted by countries, as well as by cities and institutions [2]. The goals reflect a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity in a world where no one is left behind [2].  UBC aspires to teach and learn together how to foster sustainability in the larger world outside the campus [3]. According to the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking system, UBC is one of the top three institutions in the world in delivering on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals [4]. The university embraces sustainability as a societal conversation about the kind of world we live in, informed by an understanding of the ecological, social and economic consequences of our individual and collective actions [3]. UBC plans and policies play an important role in delivering these sustainability-related goals, they are guiding this university to reach sustainability at the heart of teaching, learning and research, operations and infrastructure, and community. For this reason, it is essential to have systematic comprehensive rating system in order to evaluate, monitor and amend plans and policies to make sure they are effective, comprehensive and in line with new knowledge pertaining sustainability and resiliency thinking.   This research aims to propose a framework to assess UBC plans and policies, especially those pertaining UBC Campus and Community Planning, and their alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to better understand relationships and identify potential gaps and synergies toward these goals. The motivation for this research project arose from the EcoCity World Summit which will be held in Vancouver in October 2019. The EcoCity World Summit has brought focus to the International Ecocity Standards (IES) which were developed specifically for cities through a decade-long partnership between Ecocity Builders and BCIT School of Construction and the Environment. The IES has 18 standards pertaining to sustainable urban living grouped under 4 pillars addressing the full expression of a healthy human civilization operating within Earth’s biocapacity [5]. On the outset, there are           ECOCITY AT UBC 6  significant overlaps between the SDG’s and EcoCity Standards. Yet, whereas the SDG’s speak to broader societal goals, the EcoCity Standards tend to be applicable at the scale of a city or neighborhood. With UBC identifying itself as a small but globally important city (or big neighborhood), this study seeks to answer the following research questions: how can UBC plans and policies reach to SDGs and can EcoCity Standards help us get there? To answer this question, 29 UBC plans were mapped against SDGs to evaluate how UBC is currently addressing the SDG’s. By doing this, we learned that SDGs provide broad but relatively shallow goals when it comes to developing precise and measurable indicators for evaluating UBC plans and policies. As such, SDGs and EcoCity Standard were compared and evaluated. However, while the EcoCity Standards begin to address social-ecological and spatial challenges at the scale of the city, few of them contain measurements or indicators that would enable a city or institution to evaluate how well they are doing.   As such, the next step of the study involved research in a number of recognized and certified rating systems for the design of buildings, neighborhoods and infrastructure. These rating systems provide a set of recognizable standards and criteria for sustainable developments that can be used to amend the SDGs and EcoCity Standards. Among many, four rating systems were analyzed, including LEED, SITES, ENVISION and RELI. The different focus areas of each of these rating systems allow for a critical reflection of which measures and indicators can be used to assess and inform sustainable design across a range of scales. An in-depth analysis of these rating systems, combined with the overarching frameworks created by the SDGs and Ecocity Standards, has resulted in a proposal for a holistic evaluating system for UBC plans and policies. This new framework is meant to guide UBC, especially UBC Campus and Community Planning, to reach Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (see Figure 1 for research methodology summary).           ECOCITY AT UBC 7   Figure 1: Research Methodology to assess SDGs and EcoCity  3-     SDGS AND ITS APPLICATION In 2018, The World Bank has created an Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals that tracks global and individual country progress towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). There are 17 goals that were first articulated in 2009 and cover a wide range of topics including reducing poverty, sustainable cities and communities, sustainable consumption, climate action, and more [6]. The first phase of this research involved browsing through, 29 UBC plans and mapping them against SDGs. The goal of this exercise was to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of these plans with respect to addressing the SDGs. Table 1 describes the outcomes of this quick scan. We learn that certain reports and policies are very much in line with many elements of the SDG framework (i.e. Green Building Action Plan and Land Use Plan), whereas others only address a few components           ECOCITY AT UBC 8  (Public Art Strategy). This research also identifies significant gaps with respect to plans and policies developed by UBC to address SDGs related to 1-No Poverty, 2-Zero Hunger, 5-Gender Equalities, 8-Decent Work and Economic Growth, 10-Reduced Inequalities and 14-Life Below Water.  A major limitation of the SDG framework, however, is that it defines very broad and shallow goals, which is practical for developing/evaluating long-term plans such as the 20-year Sustainability Plan or Okanagan charter. For short-term plans and policies however, especially those that are spatial in nature, SDGs are perhaps not the best framework. Moreover, there were some aspects in UBC plans such as innovation, resilience, and management that were not addressed by SDGs. As a result, there is a need to refine, amend and update the SDG framework to address the spatial and temporal scales reflected in UBC’s plans. As such, the following section describes an analysis of several other relevant standards and rating systems. Outcomes of this analysis are incorporated in an expanded evaluation system for UBC with respect to tracking its progress towards a sustainable and resilient campus.           ECOCITY AT UBC 9   Table 1: Mapping UBC plans against SDG          ECOCITY AT UBC 10  4-     THE ECOCITY FRAMEWORK AND ITS APPLICATION The Ecocity Framework comprises 18 standards in four categories – urban design, bio-geophysical conditions, socio-cultural features and ecological imperatives. It is a diagnostic tool for cities and citizens to measure progress towards ecocity conditions. Designed for a wide range of users, including both novices and experts, the Framework charts a city’s steps forward - from existing conditions to “threshold” Ecocity standards and beyond [7]. 4-1- SDGS IN RELATION TO ECOCITY FRAMEWORK Table 2 presents a preliminary map of connections between the Ecocity Standards and the SDGs. The SDGs address sustainability generally whereas the focus of the Ecocity Standards is on cities and their urban ecosystems [6]. The most obvious connection between the Ecocity Standards and the SDGs is through goal 11 that addresses sustainable cities and communities. However, there are other connections as well. Where the SDGs are stronger on social equity the Ecocity Standards are stronger on ecological integrity [6]. As such, it makes sense to combine the two frameworks for the purposes of this study.  Table 2: SDG and Ecocity comparison, emerged from ecocitybuilders.org           ECOCITY AT UBC 11  Table 3 shows the SDG’s rearranged in the four pillars of the EcoCity Standards (Urban Design, Bio-Geo-Physical, Socio-Cultural Features and Ecological Imperatives There are two SDGs (Industry, Innovation and Resilient Infrastructure, and Global Partnerships) that currently don’t fit within the established EcoCity Standards pillars.  This will be addressed in the following section. At the same time, similar to the SDGs, the EcoCity Standards do not have measurable indicators that allow users to track how well they are doing. To address this, we reviewed other certified rating systems currently used in the fields of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and engineering.   Table 3: Recategorizing SDGs based on Ecocity’s 4 pillars           ECOCITY AT UBC 12  5-     OTHER RATING SYSTEMS (LEED, SITES, ENVISION, RELI) As mentioned in previous chapters, Both Ecocity and SDGs have gaps and are not practical for the purpose of this research, which is forming a comprehensive evaluation system to evaluate and amend all UBC plans and policies in every level of detail. In order for the framework to be effective, it should provide measurable indicators and design criteria. To obtain these indicators, four rating systems were collected and analyzed, including LEED, SITES, ENVISION and RELI.  Below is a summary of each rating system: 5-1- LEED FOR NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Neighborhood Development was engineered to inspire and help create a better, more sustainable, well-connected neighborhoods. It looks beyond the scale of buildings to consider entire communities [8]. His rating system combines the principles of smart growth, New Urbanism, and green building into a set of national standards for green planning and design at the neighborhood scale. Sustainable neighborhood development, as defined by the LEED-ND rating system, was prepared by the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School in conjunction with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2013 and aims to push both the public and private sectors to look beyond the individual building to the larger community, recognizing that a building is only as green as its surroundings [9]. The LEED rating systems focus on shaping land and development to have a lighter impact on the environment. They have the most detailed criteria in Urban Design category and some criteria related to energy efficiency, infrastructure and material. But these rating systems do not consider any criteria in social or economic aspect of community, pre-design process, biodiversity, soil, water, quality of life or resiliency [10]. The LEED-ND rating system consists of prerequisites that all projects must meet and a set of credits, from which each project can choose to earn enough points for certification. Each prerequisite and credit have a general statement of intent followed by specific performance thresholds or prescriptive measures. To earn LEED-ND certification, an applicant project must satisfy all of the prerequisites and qualify for a minimum number of points to attain the project ratings [9]. The image of this rating system and the evaluation criteria are provided in the appendix.             ECOCITY AT UBC 13  5-2- SITES SITES V2 rating system for Sustainable Land Design and Development is owned by Green Business Certification Inc. The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is a program based on the understanding that land is a crucial component of the built environment and can be planned, designed, developed, and maintained to avoid, mitigate, and even reverse these detrimental Impacts [10]. This rating system -prepared in 2014- provides guidance and incentives that can transform land development and management practices towards regenerative design. The central message of the SITES program is that any project—whether the site of a university campus, large subdivision, shopping mall, park, commercial center, or even a home—holds the potential to protect, improve, and regenerate the benefits and services provided by healthy ecosystems [10]. SITES has 65 sustainability criteria organized into ten categories include: Site Context, Pre-design Assessment & Planning, Innovation or Exemplary performance, Performance & Monitoring, Operation & Maintenance, Water, Materials Selection, Soil & Vegetation, Human Health & Well Being and Education. An advantage of this rating system is its criteria related to pre-design assessment as well as emphasizing on monitoring and maintenance. The image of this rating system and the evaluation criteria are provided in the appendix. 5-3- ENVISION As a planning and design guidance tool, Envision is about supporting more sustainable choices in infrastructure development. The system provides a flexible framework of criteria and performance objectives to aid local decision makers and help project teams identify sustainable approaches during planning, design, construction, and operation. It then further guides owners, communities, and designers in collaborating to make more informed decisions about the sustainability of infrastructure [11]. Envision takes a holistic view of infrastructure development and evaluating projects in terms of their value to communities, effective use of funds, and contributions to conditions of sustainability. Envision has 60 sustainability criteria (called ‘credits’) organized into five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk [11]. Beside urban design aspect, social wellbeing is comprehensively addressed in this rating system as well as, restoration of natural resources and ecosystems. Envision was developed in collaboration between the           ECOCITY AT UBC 14  Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) in 2015.  ISI is a not-for-profit education and research organization founded by the American Public Works Association, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the American Society of Civil Engineers [11]. The image of this rating system and the evaluation criteria are provided in the appendix. 5-4- RELI  The RELi™ 2.0 Rating System is a holistic, resilience-based rating system that combines innovative design criteria with the latest in integrative design processes for next-generation neighborhoods, buildings, homes and infrastructure [12]. RELi includes multiple pioneering requisites + credits focused specifically on Resilience. It also aggregates key indicators from other existing guides creating opportunities for highly advanced levels of resilience and living design [12]. The RELi has the breadth, depth and fundamental requirements needed to launch almost any project forward in pursuit of resilience or even regeneration, sustainability and wellness [12]. This rating system has 62 criteria organized in 4 high level categories include: panoramic approach, risk adaptation and mitigation for acute events, applied creativity and comprehensive adaptation and mitigation for resilient present. RELi 2.0 is the most comprehensive certification rating system currently available for socially and environmentally resilient design and construction [12]. RELI was first developed by the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) and its RELi Collaborative, a network of professionals, experts and graduate students at Perkins + Will in 2014 [12]. The image of this rating system and the evaluation criteria are provided in the appendix.              ECOCITY AT UBC 15  6-     COMPARISON OF SDG’S , ECOCITY AND 4 OTHER RATING SYSTEMS  In this chapter, the high-level categories identified in the four rating systems explained in the previous chapter, are compared to, and integrated into the combined EcoCity/SDG framework discussed in Section 4.  Table 4 shows how the categories from the rating systems map onto the SDGs and Ecocity standards. Criteria from LEED and SITES primarily fit into the Urban Design and Bio-Geo-Physical pillars while ENVISION and RELI have more criteria that match with the pillars of Bio-Geo-Physical, Socio-Cultural and Ecological Imperatives. Moreover, there are several criteria that emerged from the four rating systems that do not fit into any of the EcoCity Standards. These include criteria related to resilient infrastructure, monitoring and maintenance, risk preparedness, adaptation and mitigation, and innovation. The next section will discuss how these “left-over” criteria can be integrated into the overall framework by adding two more pillars to the framework.           ECOCITY AT UBC 16   Table 4: Recategorizing rating systems (LEED, SITES, INVISION, RELI) based on SDGs and Ecocity          ECOCITY AT UBC 17  7-     PROPOSED UBC EVALUATION SYSTEM Based on the primary focus of the “left-over” categories, this study proposes to expand the EcoCity Framework with two more pillars: Panoramic Approach and Applied creativity. By proposing these two pillars, all the indicators emerged from four rating systems could be organized, and the new evaluating framework will be formed to assess and amend UBC plans and policies. Table 5 shows the reorganization of all evaluation and design criteria drawn from the SDGs, EcoCity Standards, LEED, SITES, ENVISION and RELI into an expanded framework for UBC.  Table 5: Pillars and high-level categories of UBC evaluation framework  7-1- DEFINING MEASURABLE CRITERIA FOR THE PROPOSED UBC EVALUATION SYSTEM Now that the pillars and high categories are defined and well-organized, the final step is to develop potential indicators that can be used to evaluate existing policies and plans, as well as to guide future plans and policies. These indicators are comparable with or derived from indicators already used in LEED, SITES, ENVISION and RELI. Table 6 to 11 indicate each of the six pillars along with their high-level categories (Standards). A maximum of five indicators has been proposed for each standard. Bear in mind that these indicators are potential indicators (placeholders) and future research should be defined to find the best indicators for addressing these standards. These           ECOCITY AT UBC 18  are the best indicators found in the four rating systems, by adding more rating systems or other sources in future research, it is likely to find more effective indicators.  Table 6: Standards and indicators for pillar 1 (Urban Design) Table 7: Standards and indicators for pillar 2 (Bio-Geo-Physical)           ECOCITY AT UBC 19  Table 8: Standards and indicators for pillar 3 (Socio-Cultural) Table 9: Standards and indicators for pillar 4 (Ecological imperatives) Table 10: Standards and indicators for pillar 5 (Panoramic Approach)           ECOCITY AT UBC 20  Table 11: Standards and indicators for pillar 6 (Applied Creativity)   8- RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH Because of limitations in this research project, there are still a number of gaps in the proposed UBC evaluating system that needs to be addressed in future research properly. The 17th goal of UN Sustainable development goals (Global Partnership for Sustainable Developments) was addressed neither by Ecocity nor by rating systems, so it is necessary to find a series of indicators for this particular goal and add this category to the framework in the future. In addition, the framework needs to be refined by studying more rating systems, especially those that UBC is already participating in (e.g. STARS), to make sure all-important aspects of sustainability and possible problems during planning, design, construction, and operation have been addressed thoroughly. Moreover, new source of standards and indicators related to teaching, research and learning are needed to address UBC’s goal to be a global leader in applied research on sustainability. Furthermore, the same as Ecocity framework, a spectrum from unhealthy to Gaia level could be defined for UBC framework to picture how would be the effect of applying different UBC guidelines and policies on the community and the natural environment.  After refining the framework, examination is another important step, all the UBC plans and policies should be read and evaluated carefully to find the gaps and synergies toward this framework and provide recommendations (including goals, targets, strategies) for their future amendment.             ECOCITY AT UBC 21  9-     CONCLUSION This study shows that SDGs are broad but relatively shallow goals, however, they can be made more applicable to cities by merging them with the EcoCity Standards and organizing them in Ecocity pillars. On the other hand, Ecocity standards, the same as SDGs, do not have measurable indicators to allow users to track how well they are doing. This study also shows that sustainable rating systems are one of the sources for defining potential indicators to make SDGs and Ecocity framework more effective. The main goal of proposing UBC Evaluation System is to establish a flexible framework of criteria and performance objectives to aid local decision makers and help project teams identify sustainable approaches during planning, design, construction, and operation. The proposed framework provides three levels of details include pillars, standards and indicators, suitable for evaluating a range of long-term and short-term UBC plans and policies with different levels of details. Furthermore, this framework includes some new aspects and categories that have been overlooked in the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as: restoration of natural resources and ecosystems (emerged from Ecocity Framework), innovation (emerged from all Rating Systems), resiliency and having holistic approach in planning and design process (emerged from RELI Rating System). UBC framework can be used as a diagnostic tool that helps UBC to find gaps among its plans and policies toward UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, UBC can use this framework to prepare new guidelines and plans or amend the existing ones to address the potential gaps diagnosed during evaluation.               ECOCITY AT UBC 22  10- REFERENCES [1]  "Trends in Urban Resilience," UN Habitat, Nairobi, 2017. [2]  "What are the Sustainable Development Goals?" UN Habitat, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html. [3]  "THE World Univerrsity Rankings," 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/university-british-columbia. [4]  f. a. s. UBC staff, "20-Year Sustainability strategies," The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2014. [5]  "About Ecocity World Summit," Ecocity Builders and BCIT School of Construction and the Environment, 2019. [Online]. Available: http://ecocity2019.com/about-ecocity-world-summit/. [6]  "The Vision," EcoCity Builders, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://ecocitystandards.org/about/. [7]  J. Moore, "11 JUL COMPARING THE INTERNATIONAL ECOCITY STANDARDS TO THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS," Ecocity Builders, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://ecocitybuilders.org/comparing-the-international-ecocity-standards-to-the-un-sustainable-development-goals/. [8]  "The Framework," 2018. [Online]. Available: https://ecocitystandards.org/framework/#. [9]  L. U. L. Center and U. G. B. Council, "Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods," 2013. [10]  "SITES v2 Rating System For Sustainable Land Design and Development," Green Business Certification Inc., Austin, 2014. [11]  T. H. Z. Program, "ENVISION, Rating System for Sustainable Infrastructure," Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, Washington, 2015. [12]  U. G. B. COUNCIL, "RELi 2.0 Rating Guidelines for Resilient Design + Construction," U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL, 2018.               ECOCITY AT UBC 23  APENDIX   Table 12: LEED Rating System             ECOCITY AT UBC 24   Table 13: SITES V2 Scorecard            ECOCITY AT UBC 25   Table 14: ENVISION credit list           ECOCITY AT UBC 26   Table 15: RELI scorecard 

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