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Toward the sustainable city : Vancouver's Southeast False Creek Cornelia, Sussmann G. 2012

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TOWARD THE SUSTAINABLE CITY: VANCOUVER’S SOUTHEAST FALSE CREEK  by Cornelia G. Sussmann  M. E. S., York University, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Planning)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August, 2012  © Cornelia G. Sussmann, 2012  ABSTRACT  This dissertation takes an ecologically-based view of sustainability to investigate the planning process and analyse the outcomes of planning for Vancouver’s model sustainable community, Southeast False Creek (SeFC). SeFC has achieved LEED-ND Platinum rating for environmental design and received a UN Livability Award (2010). Following Rees (1995) and Lombardi, Porter, Barber and Rogers (2011), I examine how central actors in the Southeast False Creek planning process conceived of and approached urban ‘sustainability’. I identify their influence on policy making, plan implementation and sustainability outcomes. I also assess the community using scientifically determined metrics of sustainability: per capita greenhouse gas emissions levels and ecological footprints. Through in-depth interviews and detailed document analysis I found that central actors in the planning process approached urban sustainability from a perspective that resembled a ‘three pillars/status quo approach’, i.e., sustainability can be achieved through improvements to environmental performance and without significant changes to existing socio-economic systems, cultural beliefs or values. Southeast False Creek, rather than being a breakthrough response to global ecological change, was planned as an incremental improvement over existing local models of development. Southeast False Creek makes limited progress toward sustainability when sustainability is defined through scientific metrics such as ecological footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. I find that achievement of the published goals and standards for the project could yield per capita ecological footprint reductions of approximately 5% and per capita greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 8% from the Vancouver average.  Scientifically determined  requirements are in the range of 75 – 80% respectively (WWF, 2007; Weaver et al., 2007). Although Southeast False Creek does not model ecologically sustainable living, the City’s experience in planning this community may have yielded some bureaucratic, political, industry and public support for efforts toward that goal in future city developments.  ii  PREFACE  This study was approved by the University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board, Certificate number H10-00181.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract ........................................................................................................................ ii Preface ......................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ......................................................................................................... iv List of Tables ................................................................................................................ x List of Figures ............................................................................................................. xii Acknowledgements .................................................................................................... xiii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................... 1 1.1  Introduction and Research Questions .......................................................... 1  1.1.1 1.2  Theoretical Approaches to Sustainability ........................................... 6  Research Context and Theoretical Frame .................................................. 13  1.2.1  Global Ecological Change and the Case for Cities as Key Sites for Intervention ..................................................................................... 13  Global ecological change ........................................................ 13  Cities as sites for responding to global ecological change ........ 16  1.2.2  Sustainable Cities............................................................................. 20  1.2.3  Measuring Global Biophysical Limits and Urban Biophysical Demands .......................................................................................... 21  1.2.4  Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases as a Measure of Living within Global Biophysical Means ............................................................... 22  1.2.5  The Ecological Footprint as a Measure of Living within Global Biophysical Means ........................................................................... 24  1.2.6  Planning Sustainable Urban Land Projects: Influence of Sustainability Approaches ................................................................ 26  1.2.7  Reforming Cities: Toward Reconciliation with Global Biophysical Limits ............................................................................................. 26  iv  1.3  Literature on Sustainable Urban Land Development Projects: Policy, Plans and Implementation ......................................................................... 29  1.4  Structure of the Dissertation ...................................................................... 37  CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH METHODS ...................................................................... 38 2.1  Research Strategy ..................................................................................... 38  2.1.1 2.2  Case Study of Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood .. 38  Data Collection Procedures ....................................................................... 40  2.2.1  Evaluating Progress toward Sustainability ........................................ 40  2.2.2  Sustainable Ecological Footprint and CO2 Emissions Measures ....... 41  2.2.3  Impact of Actor Perceptions and Contextual Factors in Sustainability Outcomes................................................................... 41  2.2.4  Current and Historical Documents ................................................... 42  2.2.5  Interviews ........................................................................................ 43  2.3  Data Analysis Procedures.......................................................................... 45  2.3.1  Southeast False Creek: Anticipated Ecological Footprint and Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions............................................. 45  Sustainable per capita ecological footprints and CO 2e emissions ................................................................................ 45  Vancouver’s per capita ecological footprint and CO2e emissions ................................................................................ 46  Vancouver’s average per capita ecological footprint ............... 47  Vancouver’s average per capita greenhouse gas emissions ...... 49  2.3.2 2.4  Documents and Interview Transcripts .............................................. 50  Validation of Findings .............................................................................. 51  2.4.1  Triangulation ................................................................................... 51  2.5  Limits of the Method................................................................................. 52  2.6  Summary .................................................................................................. 53  v  CHPATER 3 CONTEXT OF THE CASE 3.1  Southeast False Creek Statistics and Background ...................................... 54  3.1.1  False Creek ...................................................................................... 56  3.1.2  Planning and Development History of Vancouver ............................ 57  From pro-growth to livability .................................................. 58  The Electors Action Movement: visions of a postindustrial city ......................................................................................... 59  3.2  False Creek South ................................................................... 60  False Creek North ................................................................... 63  Summary and Discussion .......................................................................... 73  CHAPTER 4 CREATING AN OFFICIAL POLICY STATEMENT FOR SOUTHEAST FALSE CREEK ................................................................................... 75 4.1  Southeast False Creek Policy Statement: Approaches to Sustainability ...... 76  4.2  Central Actors: Developing Approaches to Sustainability at the City of Vancouver ................................................................................................ 83  4.2.1  Actor Influence on Sustainability Thinking at the City of Vancouver ................................................................................... 86  4.2.2  Real Estate Services: Another Approach to Sustainability ................ 90  4.2.3  Capacity for Sustainable Urban Planning Builds Slowly at the City ............................................................................................... 96  4.2.4  Stanley Kwok Consultants Inc. Hired as Development Consultant........................................................................................ 98  4.2.5  An Interested Public Responds to Creekside Landing Plan ............. 100 4.3  The Creekside Landing report ............................................... 101  Visions, Tools and Targets: Defining Sustainability for Southeast False Creek ...................................................................................................... 112  vi  4.3.1  Sustainability Targets: What About Living Within Global Biophysical Means? ....................................................................... 114  4.3.2  Contested Perspectives on Sustainability for Southeast False Creek ............................................................................................. 121  4.3.3  Developing a Viable Policy Statement: The Advisory Group and the City .......................................................................................... 125  4.3.4  Performance Targets Appended ..................................................... 130  4.4  A Model of Sustainable Practices or Economically Viable Practices? ...... 140  4.5  Summary and Discussion ........................................................................ 146  CHAPTER 5 THE OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN: ADDING AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAYER .................................................................................. 151 5.1  Sustainability: Adding an Environmental ‘Layer’ in Southeast False Creek ...................................................................................................... 151  5.1.1  Five Environmental Plans for Southeast False Creek ...................... 152  5.1.2  Approaches to Sustainability in the Environmental Plans ............... 159  5.1.3  Target Setting and Monitoring Strategies in the Environmental Plans ............................................................................................. 167  5.2  Developing a Green Building Strategy for Southeast False Creek ............ 177  5.2.1  Gaining Acceptance for LEED from the Development Community .................................................................................... 182  5.2.2 5.3  Short-comings of the LEED Building Rating System ..................... 191  Summary and Discussion ........................................................................ 194  CHAPTER 6 THREE DECISIONS ........................................................................... 196 6.1  Revisiting Building Heights for Southeast False Creek ............................ 197  6.2  COPE Council in Office: Strengthening Sustainability Goals ................. 208  6.2.1  Performance Targets, Indicators and Monitoring ............................ 211  6.2.2  Official Development Plan By-law Adopted (2005) ....................... 217  6.3  From Local Model of Sustainability to International Event Site ............... 221 vii  6.3.1  The City Selects a Developer for the Olympic Village ................... 223  6.3.2  Olympic Post Script ....................................................................... 236  6.3.3  The Southeast False Creek and Olympic Village Project Office ..... 237  6.3.4  The Stewardship Group Loses Influence ........................................ 241  6.3.5  The Fate of the 2005 Council Resolution Performance Targets ...... 242  6.4  Rezoning of the Olympic Village Site (2006) .......................................... 244  6.5  Summary and Discussion ........................................................................ 246  CHAPTER 7 TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY: MEASURING PROGRESS IN SOUTHEAST FALSE CREEK ................................................................................. 250 7.1  Per Capita Ecological Footprint and Greenhouse Gas Emissions ............. 251  7.2  Olympic Village ReZoning ..................................................................... 260  7.3  Evaluation of Achievements: Southeast False Creek Sustainability Objectives ............................................................................................. 267  7.4  Summary and Discussion ........................................................................ 276  CHAPTER 8 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS ................................................ 278 8.1  Discussion and Implications for Policy ................................................... 280  8.1.1  Development of Performance Targets ............................................ 281  8.1.2  Steps Toward Performance Targets ................................................ 282  8.2  Answering the Research Questions ......................................................... 288  8.3  Implications for Theory Development and Contributions to the Field ...... 297  8.3.1  Contributions to the Field ............................................................... 297  8.3.2 Contributions to Literature on Planning and Development in Vancouver .......................................................................................... 300 8.3.3  Theory of the Sustainable City ....................................................... 301  8.3.4  Contributions to Planning Theory .................................................. 303  8.4  Future Research ...................................................................................... 304  8.5  Final Conclusions ................................................................................... 305  viii  EPILOGUE ............................................................................................................... 307 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................... 314 APPENDIX A  Sample Interview Questions ........................................................... 336  APPENDIX B  List of Interviews and Explanation of interview Codes ................... 338  APPENDIX C  List of Southeast False Creek Advisory Group Members ............... 340  APPENDIX D  List of Preliminary Targets and Indicators for Southeast False Creek .................................................................... 341  ix  LIST OF TABLES  Table 1.1 Sustainability: Conceptions of problems and required actions .................................... 10 Table 1.2 Conceptions of sustainability: problems, cause, actions ............................................. 12 Table 1.3 Local and global ecological impacts of urban activity ................................................ 18 Table 1.4 Major international and recent Canadian policies and initiatives relating to urban resource use reductions ...................................................................................... 19 Table 1.5 Characteristics of sustainable cities ............................................................................ 27 Table 2.1 Average Canadian per capita CO2e emissions adjusted for Vancouver ....................... 49 Table 4.1 Proposed targets for environmental performance in Southeast False Creek, 1998 ..... 119 Table 5.1 Proposed environmental performance targets for Southeast False Creek, 1998 and 2002 ........................................................................................................... 156 Table 5.2 Comparison of proposed environmental performance targets for Southeast False Creek ................................................................................................ 172 Table 5.3 Southeast False Creek Green Building Strategy 2004............................................... 190 Table 6.1 Council resolution targets related to resource use and waste production (2005) ........ 215 Table 6.2 Official Development Plan By-laws relating to target setting, monitoring, education and environmental performance .............................................. 218 Table 7.1 Potential ghg emissions reductions from Southeast False Creek Strategies ............... 251 Table 7.2 Potential ecological footprint reductions from Southeast False Creek Strategies ................................................................................................................... 253  x  Table 7.3 Comparison of Southeast False Creek and sustainability requirements: ghg emissions and ecological footprint ...................................................................... 255 Table 7.4 Estimated resource use and waste reductions: resolution targets and Olympic Village rezoning ........................................................................................................ 256 Table 7.5 Highlights of the Olympic Village rezoning ............................................................. 261 Table 7.6 Southeast False Creek Strategies: resource use and waste reductions ....................... 264 Table 8.1 Comparison of project characteristics: False Creek North, South and Southeast ....... 287 Table 8.2 Sustainability approaches of interviewees ................................................................ 289  xi  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 1.1 Three pillars model of relationships between human and ecological systems ............. 7 Figure 1.2 Nested hierarchy model of relationships between human and natural systems ............ 8 Figure 2.1 Component of Vancouver’s per capita ecological footprint ....................................... 48 Figure 3.1 Map of False Creek and downtown Vancouver ......................................................... 55 Figure 4.1 Graphic representation of the Southeast False Creek Policy Statement approaches to sustainability ....................................................................................................... 79 Figure 4.2 Guiding principles for Southeast False Creek ........................................................... 80 Figure 4.3 The economic viability model of sustainability for Southeast False Creek ................ 81 Figure 5.1 Nested scales of impact from Southeast False Creek water and waste management study ..................................................................................................................... 159 Figure 6.1 Sub Area 2 A of Southeast False Creek .................................................................. 224  xii  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  The successful completion of my doctoral studies, research and written dissertation is only possible because of the expertise, encouragement, and enthusiasm of many collaborators. My research supervisor Dr. W. E. Rees provided the theoretical framing that guides my academic interest. Dr. L. Sandercock has been a dedicated committee member. She provided consistent encouragement and expert advice. Dr. T. Hutton guided me toward a view of Southeast False Creek as part of the on-going narrative of Vancouver planning and development. I am grateful to all three committee members for their interest in this dissertation, and for the research rigour which they model. Special thanks go to Dr. John Friedman for helping me to scope out this research project. I wish to acknowledge the interview subjects who agreed to participate in this research and gave their time generously. Friends and colleagues at the School of Community and Regional Planning made the days and years at West Mall Annex memorable. They were a source of stimulating research debate, and personal and professional support. In particular I wish to acknowledge Janice Barry, Sarah Church, Meidad Kissinger, Leonard Machler, Jennie Moore, Ren Thomas, Silvia Vilches, and James White. My friends and family offered consistent, generous support. Without them I would not have been able to complete this work. I wish to acknowledge my mother Helga Sussmann; my sisters, Andrea Sussmann and Barbara Duff; my mother and father-in-law, Merle and Bonita Howard. Finally I acknowledge my partner in life, Lane Howard, with love and gratitude for every day. Financial support from this research came from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Doctoral Fellowship dates), and The School of Community and Regional Planning (Graduate Entry Scholarship, 2005).  xiii  CHAPTER 1 Introduction  Southeast False Creek, Vancouver, British Columbia 2011  I think many people would now say we know we have to go way beyond any of these targets in the future if we are truly going to make human settlements sustainable. (Former Director of Planning, City of Vancouver)  That project should have died fifty deaths. There are angels looking after that project. That project was called into being out of some deep collective desire that we all have; something in the city, something in the water I don't know what it is but it is, that project is way bigger than any person, or even the collective of all people involved. (Former Planner, City of Vancouver)  One of the things I want to emphasize is that it's all about practicing... it's more important that we just keep going. And because we have such an amazing sort of relationship with nature, governance situation, cultural context for sustainable values in a place where we can fairly nimbly invent urbanism and associated best practices and if we don't get it right quickly the rest of the world who come to us and look to us among other places... (Senior Urban Designer, City of Vancouver)  1.1 Introduction and Research Questions In 1997, the City of Vancouver, Canada began the official planning for a neighbourhood to be built on City-owned land on the southeast side of Vancouver’s False Creek waterway. Billed as the last downtown waterfront development, the project was preceded by a series of major downtown developments that had contributed to Vancouver’s repeated ranking as one of the most livable cities in the world (Mercer, 2010). From those projects, the Vancouver model of tower-podium architecture had emerged, and the Vancouver planning system had garnered both academic attention (Ley, 1986; 1996; Punter, 2003; Olds, 2001; Sandercock, 2005) and professional emulation (Boddy, 2006; L. Beasley, personal communication, August 24, 2010; 1  Hein, personal communication, October 28, 2010). The projects have been lauded for their public-amenity provision and quality of public realm (Punter, 2003; Sandercock, 2005). In the mid-1990s, an era of increasing local and international attention to global ecological concerns including climate change 1 , the mandate for the new Southeast False Creek neighbourhood demanded something more; the community was to be developed as a model of sustainability: a community in which people live, work, play and learn in a neighbourhood that has been designed to maintain and balance the highest possible levels of social equity, livability, ecological health and economic prosperity, so as to support their choices to live in a sustainable manner (City of Vancouver, 1999:7). A central goal for the project was that it should model sustainable practices and strategies that could be replicated throughout Vancouver and beyond (City of Vancouver, 2007). By 2011, the first completed phase of Southeast False Creek had served as the Athletes’ Village for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the development had been awarded the United Nations Best Built Project, 2010 Award for Livability.  It had also  achieved LEED ND Platinum, the highest rating from the North American sustainable community rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development (City of Vancouver, 2010). The former Olympic Village is frequently referred to by local officials and City staff as the “greenest neighbourhood in North America” (CITY 1; R. Bayley, personal communication, March 21, 2011). Based on the awards and ratings, Vancouver’s planning system has delivered another livable, public amenity-rich project, with the additional achievement of addressing local environmental performance.  But is Southeast False Creek a model to be replicated in pursuit of the  sustainable city? This study evaluates Vancouver’s model sustainable community, Southeast False Creek, from the perspective in which sustainability is understood to require living within global biophysical means (Rees, 1988; 1996; 2010, 2012; White and Whitney, 1992; Roseland, 1992; Beatley and Manning, 1997; Prugh, Costanza and Daly, 2000: xi; Girardet, 2004; Low, Gleeson, Green and Radovic, 2005; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010; Lombardi et. 1  Southeast False Creek was identified as an area for experimentation with energy efficient land use planning in the Clouds of Change (1990) report by the City of Vancouver Task Force on local responses to atmospheric change.  2  al. 2011). I take my cue from experts who argue that urban sustainability plans must be viewed as a response to mounting global ecological crisis (Roseland, 1992; Rees, 1995; Beatley and Manning, 1997; Low et al., 2005; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Lombardi et al., 2011).  As urban planning theorists have long argued, policy development and plan  implementation are value-laden, contextually bound processes (Sandercock, 1979; Flyvbjerg, 1998). In the case of sustainability-oriented policy and planning, theorists have posited that fundamental conceptualizations of sustainability will affect the way policies are developed and implemented (Rees, 1995; Owens and Cowell, 2002; Lomdardi et al., 2011). At the local project scale, Lombardi et al. (2011) propose that the way actors in the planning process conceive of sustainability, the problems it must address and actions required will powerfully shape sustainability outcomes. In addition to evaluating the ecological sustainability of the Southeast False Creek project, the progress it makes toward living within global biophysical limits, I analyse the planning process to examine how the sustainability approaches of central actors influenced sustainability policy making and plan implementation. As part of this examination I take into account contextual factors of the case, local and extra-local, that influenced the project. To help evaluate the ecological sustainability of the project I compare the project targets for reductions in resource use and waste production against targets for globally sustainable ecological footprint and carbon dioxide emissions levels (measures of living within global biophysical limits). My research pursues the following questions: 1. How did central actors in the Southeast False Creek planning process conceive of and approach urban ‘sustainability’? 2. How did the sustainability approaches of central actors influence the way sustainability was interpreted and applied in policy and plan-making for Southeast False Creek? 3. How ‘sustainable’ is Southeast False Creek when evaluated against measures for living within global biophysical limits: the human ecological footprint and global greenhouse gas emissions?  3  The sustainable city is a contested theoretical proposition (Marvin and Guy, 1997; Giddings, Hopwood, and O’Brien 2002; Rydin, Holman, Hands and Sommer, 2003; Le Heron, 2006; Bulkeley, 2006; Rees, 1995; 2010). Generally accepted to encompass goals for social, economic and ecological viability, at its most aspirational the sustainable city delivers social justice and an ecologically restorative economy through participatory, collaborative processes of governance (Roseland, 1992; Haughton and Hunter, 1994; Beatley and Manning, 1997; Register, 2000; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Sarkissian, Hofer, Shore, Vajda, and Wilkinson 2008; Rydin, 2010); at its least ambitious, the sustainable city replicates existing modes of economic and social development, addressing environmental concerns through technical and market mechanism solutions (Rees, 1996; 2002; 2006; Rydin, et al., 2003; Whitehead, 2003; Lombardi, et. al. 2011). Academic literature is rife with arguments on the merits of theorizing a sustainable city (Swyngedouw and Cook, 2010); a host of theories on qualities and characteristics that define a sustainable city and the paths to achieving them (Roseland, 1992; Haughton, 1997; Guy and Marvin, 1999; McGranahan and Satterthwaite, 2003; Moore, 2007; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rees 2010; 2012), and competing views on whether and how to measure urban sustainability (Rees, 1995; 1996; Folke, Jansson, Larsson, and Costanza, 1997; Devuyst, Hens and De Lannoy, 2001; Portney, 2002; Moore, 2007). Despite these differences, a common perspective unites much sustainable cities research and theory: the view of the earth as a planet of finite biophysical capacity the limits of which the global human enterprise, urban or otherwise, must not exceed (Elkin and McLaren, 1991; Roseland, 1992; Rees, 1995, 2012; 2002; Beatley and Manning, 1997; Prugh, et al., 2000: xi; Girardet, 2004; Low et al., 2005; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010; Lombardi et. al., 2011). Cities, through characteristics of physical form, their function as engines of resource-driven economic growth, and the consumption based values and habits of their residents, are identified as key drivers in the scientifically documented global degradation and overexploitation of natural resources and ecosystems services including climate moderation; in short, breeching limits to biophysical capacity (Roseland, 1992; Beatley and Manning, 1997:3; Rees and Wackernagel, 1996; Rees, 1997, 2012; McGranahan and Satterthwaite, 2003; Low et al., 2005). For sustainable city theorists who take this approach, a necessary criterion of the sustainable city is that its form, function and the flourishing of its inhabitants respect the capacity limits of global ecological systems (Rees, 1995; 1997; Baccini, 1997; Beatley and Manning, 1997; Prugh, et al., 2000: xi; Girardet, 2004; Low et al., 2005; 4  Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010; Lombardi et. al., 2011). Few academic studies have applied this criterion to evaluate outcomes of sustainability-oriented urban development projects. While exact limits of global ecological systems are not known, two available metrics are atmospheric carbon levels (IPCC 2007), and global resource demand and availability as determined through ecological footprint analysis (Rees, 1992, 2006; Rees and Wackernagel, 1994; Ewing, Moore, Goldfinger, Oursel, Reed and Wackernagel, 2010; WWF 2010). Both of these metrics have been proposed for determining the sustainability of a community (Rees, 1992; 1997, 2010; Alberti, 1996; Beatley and Manning, 1997:29; Roseland, 2005: 12; Newman and Jennings, 2008:80-90; Rydin, 2010:80), and both are in use in North America at various levels of policy (for example, British Columbia, 2010; City of Calgary, 2010; City of Vancouver, 2011). Case-based research on sustainable urban development projects to date has been limited and has taken two approaches: examination of planning process and sustainability-oriented policy development (Irwin, 2004; Vaughan, 2008) and most commonly, investigation of how sustainability oriented policy is implemented (for example, Rydin, et al., 2003; Brown and Carpenter 2009; Bunce, 2009; Raco and Henderson, 2010; Lombardi et al., 2011).  A central  focus of research has been to determine whether sustainability policy is delivering transformative outcomes in urban land development projects: advancing a paradigmatic shift in human-nature relations in conjunction with socio-economic change toward equitable governance and access to resources, or whether it is reproducing existing unsustainable systems of social and economic production (Rydin, et al., 2003; Brown and Carpenter 2009; Bunce, 2009; Raco and Henderson, 2010; Lombardi et al., 2011).  What has not been  included in the research on outcomes is assessment of quantifiable progress toward biophysical sustainability.  If global ecological change is occurring at the rapid pace  documented in scientific studies (IPCC, 2001; 2007; MEA, 2005; WWF 2010; Ewing et al., 2010), and human activity contributes to that change, then quantifiable measures of resource use and waste production must form a central part of the assessment and evaluation of any sustainability-oriented urban development effort.  5  1.1.1 Theoretical Approaches to Sustainability The concept of sustainability that entered mainstream discourse with the publication of the UN Commission Report Our Common Future (WCED, 1987) linked global resource depletion and pollution with patterns of over-consumption in the global North, and underconsumption in the global South. Thus the authors identified three spheres of concern that have come to be associated with sustainability: environment, economy and society (Lombardi et al., 2011). Twenty-five years after Brundtland (Our Common Future), the central idea of pursuing global social development through sustained economic activity while maintaining basic ecological systems remains.  Critical divisions exist between interpretations of the  problems of each sphere and how they should be addressed (Rees, 1995; 2006; Prugh et al., 2002; Low et al., 2005; Rydin 2010; Lombardi et al., 2011). A starting point for argument is the very assertion that human society and economy must conform within finite biophysical resources of the planet. This relationship, held by most natural scientists, is pitted against the neoclassical economic view of the human-nature relationship as being unconstrained (Ayres, 1993). The conflict is also described in terms of an expansionist economic view versus a steady-state worldview (see Rees (1995) for detailed comparison). Proponents of the two perspectives perceive a different set of problems; they describe different origins; and posit different solutions (Rees, 1995; Lombardi et al., 2011). In the neoclassical perspective, the human economy is a circular system of exchange that functions largely independently of natural systems (Prugh et al., 2000:17). Ecological conditions are not considered to be limiting factors for this economy largely due to the concept of substitution: scarce resources can be substituted with more abundant alternatives; factors of production can also be substituted, such as increasing fertilizer for nutrient depleted topsoil (Rees, 1995; Prugh et al., 2000:17). From this perspective, the current economic model of expansionist growth can continue indefinitely (Costanza et al., 1997). As resource scarcities or ecological degradation occur, society will marshal market mechanisms and technological innovations to find alternatives or develop strategies for remediation. Further, growth should continue as the means to deal with poverty and increase global material well-being. This view has been associated with a common visual graphic of sustainability: three linked and overlapping, but largely independent circles (Figure 1.1).  6  Economy  Environment  Society  Figure 1.1 Three pillars model of relationships between human and ecological systems  A concern about this view from social justice advocates and critical political economists is that no significant change to current socioeconomic systems is required to address global ecological concerns, or problems of material inequality among and within nations. Moreover, from the ecological economics or natural science perspective, the expansionist approach misrepresents the physical relationship between the human economy and nature (Daly and Cobb, 1994; Rees, 1995; Prugh et al., 2000). The biophysical or natural science view of this relationship posits a nested hierarchy of systems with the human social systems completely contained by and dependent upon functioning ecological systems and services (Figure 1.2). While global ecosystems can thrive without human society and its economic activities, human societies with their economic activity cannot exist without functioning ecosystems that regulate climate, replenish nutrients in soil; cycle fresh water; provide habitat for plants and animal life, etc. The biophysical perspective understands un-sustainability to be a consequence of fundamental incompatibilities between the existing expansionist global economic system and the ecosphere. As presently structured the global economy is already over exploiting renewable resources, irreversibly degrading ecosystems, and, at the same time, generating global social and material inequalities (Daly and Cobb, 1994; Rees, 1995; Prugh et al., 2002).  7  Ecological Systems Society  Economy  Figure 1.2 Nested hierarchy model of relationships between human and natural systems  Given the nested hierarchy model, global society and individual nations must re-shape socioeconomic systems to respect global biophysical limits. Global change science shows that the current economic system has already breeched important biophysical limits (resulting in, for example, fisheries collapses, atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation; climate change and biodiversity loss).  Due to the magnitude of the global economy, technical  solutions such as substitution and efficiency improvements will not be achieved quickly enough or at a large enough scale to avoid continued degradation of global ecological systems.  A paradigmatic or transformative socioeconomic shift is required so that  biophysical systems can continue to provide global conditions conducive to human flourishing (White and Whitney, 1992; Rees, 1992; 2006; 2010; Daly and Cobb, 1994; Prugh et al., 2000; Low et al., 2005; Lombardi et al., 2011). The distinction between these two views of human economy-nature relationships has been linked to other contrasting perspectives on sustainability, such as weak versus strong sustainability (a debate that centres around the amount of natural capital versus human-made capital that must be maintained for future generations), and a modernist versus sustainabilityoriented paradigm (Lombardi et al., 2011). The difference in perception of solutions to global ecological problems as represented on a continuum from weak to strong sustainability has been categorized by Rees (1995):  8    Status Quo: change can be achieved within current structures through technical fixes to external environmental problems.    Reform: reform to economic systems is necessary: internalising costs for example, but without a full rupture of existing paradigms and social structures.    Transformation: the roots of the problems are the beliefs, values and assumptions (the paradigmatic framing of) the very economic and power structures of society; a radical transformation is needed.  Lombardi et al. (2011) developed a range of sustainability perspectives comprising three positions: Status Quo; Reform; and Transformation (grounded in and expanding upon Rees, 1995; and corresponding to weak and strong sustainability positions 2 ).  Their rubric is  presented (in adapted form) in Table 1.1.  2  Lombardi et al. reference Springett (2003) and Ward (2003) to extend the weak- strong sustainability definitions beyond natural capital stocks to include aspects of social sustainability.  9  Table 1.1 Sustainability: conceptions of problems and required actions Status Quo  Reform  Transformation  Conception of Sustainable Development Environmental  ‘weak sustainability’  Reduce energy/carbon use; reuse materials; healthier ecologic  Transformation of society and human relations with environment  Weak concern with poverty and lack of equity in political power  Sustainable, accountable and equitable forms of capitalism  Radical reform to socioeconomic structure;  Environmental  Minor problem; pollution  Mounting problem of environmental degradation; global instability;  Mounting crisis; environmental degradation; possible future collapse  Socioeconomic  Minor problem: poverty  Mounting problems: inequality and poverty  Mounting crisis: poverty, lack of justice  Cause of problem (socioeconomic)  Lack of information, existing values  Failure to capture externalities  Existing socioeconomic power structures  Actions to redress the problem (socioeconomic)  Improve management techniques; new technologies; taxes and trading; generate and evolve consumer demand  Good science and information; modify markets through taxes and subsidies; role of technology; reform government; increase democracy and participation  Build alliances; mobilise coalitions and polity; radical reform to markets, taxes, and subsidies; inclusive social and political action within and outside existing structure  Technological solutions Socioeconomic  Social issues important; human needs, poverty, democratic revitalization  Strong commitment to social equity  Problems to be Addressed  Adapted from Lombardi et al., 2011 For my research on Southeast False Creek I drew from the above descriptions (Rees, 1995 and Lombardi, et al., 2011) to identify sustainability approaches of central actors in the planning process, and determine how sustainability was interpreted in project planning, policy, and implementation. The approaches I used are described in Table 1.2 below. My 10  central focus was on ecological sustainability. To the ‘problems to be addressed’ I added “perceived urgency for action”. I did not include socioeconomic objectives of social justice as presented in Lombardi et al. (2011), Table 1.1, and included in by other researchers in assessments of sustainability oriented urban land development (for example, Bunce, 2009; Dale and Newman, 2009; Raco and Henderson, 2010). While improved social justice is a value position I support, from the ecologically-based, nested hierarchy perspective, social justice among the global human population is not a requirement for sustainable living. It may not be desirable to have societies that are socially and economically unjust, (and in fact, it has been argued that such societies cannot be sustained for long, see for example Marris, 1987:147; Rees, 1995) but it is biophysically feasible that societies with varying levels of social and economic inequality could function in an ecologically sustainable manner. In this vein, some researchers have demonstrated that democracy is not a requirement for ecologically-based sustainability policy and action (Moore, 2007; Kahn, 2010). The opposite is not the case. No society could survive in the absence of functional ecosystems and the essential life-support services they provide.  Ecological (or biophysical) sustainability is  prerequisite for socio-economic sustainability. The central requirement for ecologically based sustainability is that the human enterprise, in aggregate, functions on an on-going basis within the biophysical limits of the planet. Transformed social and economic systems will embody a paradigm shift to recognize these limits (Table 1.2) (Daly, 1992). In my study of SeFC, I look for evidence that actors in the planning process are aware of the biophysical limits paradigm, and that they are pursuing socioeconomic change toward it. Increased levels of social justice may accompany the paradigm shift, they might be key to achieving this shift, and they might be vital to maintaining the new paradigm (Rees, 1995). However, assessment of social justice outcomes in planning and development of Vancouver’s SeFC is outside the scope of inquiry for my research.  11  Table 1.2 Conceptions of sustainability: problems, cause, actions Status Quo  Reform  Transformation  Problems and perceived urgency for action Environmental  Minor problem of pollution.  Mounting problem of environmental degradation; global instability.  Mounting crisis of global ecological degradation and breech of global biophysical limits; possible future collapse.  Action can be taken as markets and technology allow.  Immediate action should be taken; market mechanisms and technological solution can be directed toward this goal.  Immediate action is required.  Cause of problem  Lack of information  Failure to capture environmental externalities in market economics  Existing socioeconomic structures and paradigm based on misrepresentation of the relationship between human and ecological systems  Actions to redress the problem  Technological solutions  Reduce energy/carbon use; reuse materials; healthier ecological systems  Radical reform to socioeconomic structure; to paradigm of relationships between human socioeconomic systems and ecological systems  Incentivize markets and technology toward solutions; change consumption behaviour Associated Models  Three pillars/components  Three pillars/components  Nested hierarchy  Adapted from Lombardi et al., 2011  I associated both status quo and reform positions with the three pillars/components model because neither of these positions requires changes in the way relationships between human socioeconomic and ecological systems are viewed; consequently they do not promote 12  transformation of existing socioeconomic systems.  The transformation approach is  associated with the nested hierarchy model of relationships between human and ecological systems. Sustainability requires a transformation in the beliefs, values and assumptions about the relationship between human and ecological systems, and in the economic and power structures of society (Rees, 1995). From the transformative approach, sustainability must be understood as a response to a mounting crisis of environmental degradation and possible future collapse.  1.2 Research Context and Theoretical Frame 1.2.1 Global Ecological Change and the Case for Cities as Key Sites for Intervention Global ecological change International scientific research provides increasingly compelling evidence that human activity is negatively impacting ecosystems that support life on Earth, and that the impacts result from the rate of human resource use (land, water, minerals, ores, petroleum, plant life) and waste production (air and water pollution; solid and liquid waste; greenhouse gas emissions) (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005; 2005a; 2005b; 2005c; 2005d; 2005e; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1995; 2001; 2007; World Wildlife Fund, 2010). The interpretation of these data is that the global human enterprise, given current resource use and waste production rates, is not sustainable even in the foreseeable future (Rees and Wackernagel, 1994; Baumert, Herzog and Pershing, 2005; Hansen, et al., 2008; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2009; World Wildlife Fund, 2010). Although some of the findings and policy implications have been contested, particularly by well-funded anti-science and climate change denialist organizations, evidence of accelerating change is accumulating from a broad range of scientific fields and from transdisciplinary collaboration from scientists from around the world. 3  3  The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is a scientific body that reviews and assesses the most current scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.  13  The United Nations Environmental Programme has published a series of reports from its Global Environment Outlook project (UNEP, 1997; 2000; 2002; 2007). The reports are based on coordinated scientific assessments that record and review the interactions between humans and the environment (UNEP, 2009). The most recent report, GEO-4 (2007), establishes the state and trends of the environment between 1987 and 2007 and examines the human dimensions of environmental change. The report highlights the following trends: the Earth’s surface is warming: global average air and ocean temperatures are rising; there is widespread melting of snow and ice; global average sea levels are rising. Impacts of warming experienced to date include changes in water availability, land degradation, food security, and loss of biodiversity. The hole in the stratospheric ozone layer over Antarctica has increased in size; assuming continued reductions in emissions of ozone depleting substances through compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is expected to recover by roughly 2060.  Both climate change and unsustainable land use are leading to increasing land  degradation: soil erosion, nutrient depletion, water scarcity, salinity, desertification and disruption of biological cycles. Global per capita supplies of freshwater are declining with serious negative impacts for people living in countries with water scarcity; aquatic systems and their services are being impacted by the decrease in quantity and quality of surface groundwater. Over-exploitation of aquatic ecosystems has led to significant, and in some cases irreversible, declines in capture fish stocks. Global biodiversity is decreasing. The report’s authors argue that data trends suggest increasing risk that some biophysical systems are approaching tipping points: points at which abrupt, accelerating, and possibly irreversible changes can take place. The authors conclude that the observed changes to global ecosystems result from globally expanding flows of goods, services, capital, people, technologies and information which in aggregate require increasing throughput of resources and produce increasing volumes of waste. The Synthesis Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 4 (2005b) presents similar conclusions. It argues that in the last fifty years, human activity has resulted in changes to  4  The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) was initiated in 2001 in response to a call by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The objective of the MEA was “to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being. The MEA has involved the  14  ecosystems such that over half of the ecosystem services studied (15 of 24) are being degraded or used unsustainably and that irreversible loss of biodiversity has occurred. Ecosystem services include fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water purification, and regulation of natural hazards, pests, and regional and local climate. In the MEA (2005c) Scenarios Assessment report the authors contend that pressures on these systems results from the rate of human resource use and waste production. Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1990; 1995; 2000; 2001; 2007) argue that anthropogenic increases in global emissions of greenhouse gases are leading to warming of the Earth’s surface. The data in the IPCC’s 2007 report suggests that global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 50% below 1990 levels must be achieved by 2050 if the worst consequences of global climate change are to be avoided (Hansen et al., 2008 ). Measured on a per capita basis, industrialized nations like the United States, Australia, Canada, Russia, Germany and Japan are among the largest contributors (International Energy Agency, 2009); they are also nations which arguably have economic, administrative, scientific and cultural capacities to pursue innovations in emissions reductions through resource conservation, technological efficiencies, development of renewable energy sources, changes to urban form and function, and changes in production and habits of consumption (Haughton and Hunter, 1994; Rees, 2002; Bulkeley and Betsill, 2003). Scientists taking a global carrying capacity approach to the study of human-ecosystem interactions also report negative impacts of human activity over the last fifty years. In ecology, carrying capacity refers to the population of given species that can be supported indefinitely by a defined habitat. Researchers concerned with global human carrying capacity are interested in the reverse, what volume of resources is required to sustain the current human population and are enough resources available to sustain increasing numbers of people with increasing demands? (Rees, 1992) This reverse carrying capacity concept was first proposed by William Rees (1992) through his ecological footprint model.  Ecological  footprint analysis calculates the biologically productive land and sea required on a continuous basis to produce the renewable resources and assimilate the wastes of any given population (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996). Biologically productive land and sea are converted to a work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide” (MEA, 2009). MEA findings are presented in five technical volumes and six synthesis reports.  15  standard measure called a global hectare which represents one hectare of land with average global productivity (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996). The most recent data from the Global Footprint Network (2010) indicates that the human demand for natural resources and absorption of carbon emissions now exceeds the amount nature can provide by 50%. This means it would take the Earth approximately 18 months to replenish the resources used and to assimilate the wastes produced by global population in one year (Global Footprint Network, 2010). The consequences of the ecological deficit are not always immediately obvious; catching fish at a faster rate than they are replaced, for example, can go on for many years before stocks collapse, but if EFA calculations are correct, the human population is rapidly depleting its stocks of natural capital and thus jeopardizing global ecosystems in the present and the future (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996; Rees, 2006; Global Footprint Network, 2010; WWF, 2010). Even some social scientists concerned with human appropriation of global “natural capital” described the human enterprise as being in ecological “overshoot” (Catton, 1982:298). Vitousek, Ehrlich, Ehrlich and Matson (1986) found that humans were appropriating over 40% of terrestrial net primary production; Pauly and Christensen (1995) reported that humans were using approximately 35% of the production of coastal aquatic systems. If the interpretations of scientific data presented in the reports of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, The United Nations Environmental Programme, and resulting from ecological footprint analysis are accepted, then an urgent, global imperative for reductions to resource use of all kinds exists; this imperative represents a serious challenge given that both population and per capita demands for resources have in fact been increasing over the last five decades (IPCC, 2007; Rees, 2009; WWF, 2010; Global Footprint Network, 2010). Cities as sites for responding to global ecological change Cities are home to over half of the human population on Earth (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2010). Between urban residents and urban industry, cities concentrate the majority of global resource demands and waste production (White and Whitney, 1992; 16  McGranahan and Satterthwaite 2003; Girardet, 2004; Rydin, 2010).  The magnitude of  resource demands, particularly from cities of the global North, results in negative ecological consequences at the scales of local and global ecosystems (Alberti, 1996; Rees, 1996; Haughton, 1997; Beatley and Manning, 1997:28; Low et al., 2005:16). Research from both ecological footprint analysis (measure of human demand on global biophysical resources and services) and urban metabolism studies (measures of resource flows into a city and the associated production of wastes over a given time) reveals just how resource intensive urban centres of the industrialized world are (Rees and Wackernagel, 1996; Baccini, 1997; Folke et al., 1997; Decker et al., 2000; Warren-Rhodes and Koenig, 2001; Barrett et al., 2002; McGranahan and Satterthwaite, 2003; Lenzen et al., 2004; Collins, Flynn, Weidmann, and Barrett, 2006; Brunner, 2007; Kennedy, Cuddihy and Engel-Yan, 2007; Schultz 2007; Rees, 2012). Ecological footprint analysis shows that only 1.8 global hectares of biocapacity (biologically productive land and sea area) is available per capita while the per capita ecological footprints of many cities in the global north exceed 6.0 global hectares (Global Footprint Network, 2010). Metabolism studies from the last four decades indicate that urban resource demands have been steadily increasing despite claims from some economists that increased per capita wealth leads to improved ecological conditions (the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis) (Warren-Rhodes and Koenig, 2001; Schulz 2007). Because of intensive resource use, waste production and sprawling urban form that converts agricultural and un-managed natural lands to urban uses, cities are identified as key drivers of global ecological change including loss of biodiversity, disruptions of hydrological systems, soil depletion, and climate change (Haughton and Hunter, 1994; Roseland, 1992; Rees, 1992; 2012; Rees and Wackernagel, 1996; Baccini, 1997; Girardet, 2004; Low et al., 2005). Further, because cities rely on local and global hinterlands to meet their demands they affect both local and global environmental change (Alberti, 1996; Rees, 1997; Folke et al., 1997; Warren-Rhodes and Koenig, 2001; McGranahan and Satterthwaite, 2003; Rydin, 2010:1). Local and global impacts of urban centres are presented in Table 1.3.  17  Table 1.3 Local and global ecological impacts of urban activity Local Environment  Global Environment    Local rivers, streams and coastal zones overwhelmed by organic, inorganic and toxic wastes    Global climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions: nitrous oxide; carbon dioxide; methane    Local air, water, soil pollution including concentrations of heavy metals    Atmospheric pollution    Biodiversity loss    Global resource depletion and degradation; 70-80% global resources consumed in cities of the global North    Draw down on global water resources– many cities import water    Increased nitrogen levels in oceans    Complex and unintended outcomes: e.g. road construction to link cities in China is resulting in iron in the air that will end up in North Pacific marine ecosystem which doesn’t have much iron – impacts unknown    Disruption of hydrologic systems    Desertification    Local biodiversity loss due to habitat destruction and pollution    Loss of agricultural land and agricultural production due to sprawl    Possible reduced agricultural production as aerosols block photosynthetically available radiation      Changes to local hydrological cycles due to impervious surfaces (roofs, streets, parking lots etc.): groundwater is not recharged as rain and storm water are channelled into sewers; heat island effect increases evaporation and precipitation over urban areas Water loss –drawing down of local groundwater sources    Subsidence -land sinking due to depletion of underground aquifer Compiled from Baccini, 1997; Decker et al., 2000; McGranahan and Satterthwaite, 2003 Because they are viewed as drivers of globally unsustainable resource use and waste production, cities are prime targets for stimulating sustainability-oriented change. Some have argued in fact that unless urban settlements become sustainable, global goals for sustainable living (within global biocapacity) cannot be achieved (Baccini, 1997). Urban centres offer advantages of physical agglomeration and scale that can benefit reform efforts such as 18  viability of public transit and shared infrastructure services to reduce energy needs (Haughton and Hunter, 1995; Alberti, 1996; Roseland, 1992; Rees and Wackernagel, 1996; Newman and Kenworthy, 1999; Barton, 2000; Low et al., 2005; Brunner, 2007). Equally important, cities are centres for creativity, diversity, education and social movements all of which can be engaged in pursuit of a transition toward sustainable living: living equitably and well, within the capacity of the earth’s ecosystems (Roseland, 1992; Rees and Wackernagel, 1996; Haughton, 1997; Girardet, 2004; Nelson, 2007; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010). The case for cities as sites for change in global environmental efforts including resource reductions has been taken up in national and international policies and initiatives. Table 1.4 lists major international policies and initiatives as well as examples of recent Canadian initiatives. Table 1.4 Major international and recent Canadian policies and initiatives relating to urban resource reduction (Compiled from Whitehead, 2003; Bulkeley and Betsill, 2003) Events and initiatives  Year  Link to environmental concerns, resource use, waste reductions  United Nations Conference on the Human Environment  1972  Recommendation I – Planning and Management of Human Settlements for Environmental Quality  Habitat I (Vancouver)  1976  Establish international programme to slow growth of urban areas  Establishment of UN Centre for Human Settlement  1978  Specific concern with more sustainable living: urban and rural areas  World Commission on Environment and Development  1987  Chapter 9 “The Urban Challenge” addressed the role of cities in sustainability including reducing environmental impacts  UN Sustainable Cities Programme  1990  Integration of the sustainable development goals of the UNCHS and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)  International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives  1990  Over 1200 local governments committed to promotion of sustainable urban development initiatives through local actions.  UN Conference: Environment and Development  1992  Agenda 21 – Chapter 2 “Promoting Sustainable Human Settlement Development”; Chapter 28 – identifies the role of local authorities in meeting global environmental goals  Canadian Federation of Municipalities  2000  Green Municipal Fund: support municipal research and pilot projects to improve environmental performance and reduce ghg emissions  World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg)  2002  Plan of Implementation – Chapter 3 “Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production”  Environment Canada  2002  Sustainable Community Indicators Program  National Research Council of Canada  2003  NRC Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Research  19  1.2.2 Sustainable Cities In defining the sustainable city, many theorists include the requirement that it function within global biophysical limits (Roseland, 1992; Rees, 1995, 2010, 2012; Prugh, et al., 2000: xi; Beatley and Manning, 1997; Girardet, 2004; Low et al., 2005; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010; Lombardi et. al. 2011). Because cities and their inhabitants function within multi-scale political, social, cultural and economic networks it is challenging to conceive of ways that a city, on its own, can operate within biophysical limits. Rees (2009) has argued that a city could achieve quasi sustainability: meaning that the per capita resource consumption and waste production of city residents is at a level that could be extended to all human inhabitants on earth without exceeding global carrying capacity. To date no city in an industrialized nation has achieved quasi sustainability. The criterion for a sustainable city and its inhabitants to flourish while remaining within global carrying capacity limits reflects definitions of the broader concept of sustainable development which entered public policy arenas in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For example, a definition from the Environmental White Paper of the Government of the United Kingdom (1990): “Sustainable development means living on the earth’s income rather than eroding its capital. It means keeping the consumption of renewable natural resources within the limits of their replenishment. It means handing down to successive generations not only man-made wealth, but also natural wealth, such as clean and adequate water supplies, good arable land, a wealth of wildlife and ample forests.” The European Commission on the Environment describes environmental protection as a key principle in its Declaration on Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development (2005) and provides the following definition: “Safeguard the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity, respect the limits of the planet’s natural resources and ensure a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. Prevent and reduce environmental pollution and promote sustainable production and consumption to break the link between economic growth and environmental degradation.” From the UN Environment Program, the World Conservation Union and the World Wildlife Fund (IUCN, UNEP, WWF, 1991:8) “Living sustainably depends on accepting a duty to seek harmony with other people and with nature...Humanity must take no more from nature than nature can replenish. This in turn means adopting lifestyles and development paths that respect and work within nature's limits. It can be done 20  without rejecting the many benefits that modern technology has brought, provided that technology also works within those limits.” 5 Recognition of global biophysical limits has been expressed in locally and internationally determined urban policy agendas for sustainability. For example, the Consensus Declaration of the Charter of European Cities and Towns Toward Sustainability6 (1994) acknowledges global carrying capacity limits and sustainable rates of resource consumption in their description of sustainable urban settlements: We, cities and towns, understand that the idea of sustainable development helps us to base our standard of living on the carrying capacity of nature. We seek to achieve social justice, sustainable economies, and environmental sustainability. Social justice will necessarily have to be based on economic sustainability and equity, which require environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability means maintaining the natural capital. It demands from us that the rate at which we consume renewable material, water and energy resources does not exceed the rate at which the natural systems can replenish them, and that the rate at which we consume non-renewable resources does not exceed the rate at which sustainable renewable resources are replaced. Environmental sustainability also means that the rate of emitted pollutants does not exceed the capacity of the air, water, and soil to absorb and process them.  1.2.3 Measuring Global Biophysical Limits and Urban Biophysical Demands If there is a general acceptance in sustainability and sustainable cities literature that global biophysical limits must be respected, there is no agreement on how best to measure those limits, or even whether measurement should be a central focus of research (Haberl, FischerKowalski, Krausmann, Weisz, and Winiwater, 2004; Sorensen, Marcetullio and Grant, 2004). Haberl et al. (2004) propose that, given present limitations to measurement systems, a more 5  The full definitions from these documents encompass social and economic conditions of sustainability. Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability was adopted by participants at the European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns in Aalborg, Denmark, 1994. The Charter outlined a campaign and local action plans for engaging in Locla Agenda 21 Processes. The Charter was followed by the Aalborg +10 local government Commitments in 2004. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/urban/aalborg.htm 6  21  pressing research agenda is investigation of the socio-economic factors that drive current global production and consumption systems. Sorensen et al. (2004:4) propose a focus on developing strategies to reduce resource use and waste production rather than attempting to measure capacities and demands; their view reflects a concept of sustainability as a direction rather than a measurable destination. Others call for urban change toward living within limits but do not commit to any specific means of measurement (Brunner, 2007). Despite these concerns over discerning accurate biophysical thresholds and research priorities, two metrics for determining global biophysical limits have become dominant in academic literature and in urban policy: atmospheric carbon levels and the human ecological footprint.  1.2.4 Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases as a Measure of Living within Global Biophysical Means The greenhouse effect describes the mechanism by which the earth’s atmosphere moderates its surface temperature. A measured increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is understood to be the key factor in global climate change (Natural Resources Canada, 2011).  Most  atmospheric scientists believe that human activity such as combustion of fossil fuels is the major contributor to atmospheric increases in carbon dioxide (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007; Solomon et al., 2008; Environment Canada, 2011). The human contribution to climate change was recognized internationally through the UN Convention Framework on Climate Change, (Kyoto Protocol) (UNCFCC, 1998). Many atmospheric scientists argue for an absolute limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (measured in parts per million7) to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Beyond a 2 Celsius degree increase, these scientists contend, severe, unpredictable and likely irreversible effects of climate change will occur (IPCC, 2007). Data from the Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007,8 (IPCC, 2007) suggests that global carbon dioxide emissions must be 7  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change determined 450ppm as a maximum atmospheric level of carbon dioxide in order to keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (IPCC, 2007); some scientists contend that 350 ppm is a safer target (Solomon et al., 2011). 8 Since it was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been reviewing and assessing internationally produced scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to the understanding of climate change. The IPCC has published four assessment reports (in 1990; 1995; 2001; 2007)  22  reduced to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 if global warming is to be limited to 2 degree Celsius. In developed countries the required emission reduction is approximately 80% below 1990 levels (Weaver, Zickfeld, Montenegro and Eby, 2007). Reductions within this range have been endorsed at various levels of government. The G8 nations agreed in 2009 that their collective emissions should be reduced 80% by 2050 (baseline year was not determined) (Wintour and Elliott, 2009). The European Commission has developed a plan toward a long range goal of European Union emissions reductions of 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 (European Commission, 2012). The 2008 Climate Change Act of government of the United Kingdom calls for 80% reductions from 2008 levels by 2050. In British Columbia, the provincial government committed the province to emission reductions of at least 80% below 2007 levels by 2050 (British Columbia, 2007). The City of Vancouver, British Columbia adopted a target of 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050 (City of Vancouver, 2010a).9 Despite the challenge in forecasting the precise relationship between a specific parts per million target for carbon dioxide and a global temperature increase, it is widely accepted that a greenhouse gas limit exists beyond which potentially catastrophic climate events will occur (IPCC, 2001; 2007; Hansen, et al., 2008). Living within global biophysical means, in the case of atmospheric carbon dioxide, requires not exceeding that limit. City- level initiatives to support greenhouse gas emissions reductions include: Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCP) of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) established in 1993 to facilitate local efforts at emissions reductions. According to its website, in 2009, over a thousand local governments from around the globe are participating (ICLEI, 2011). The Canadian component of CCP is a network of municipalities called Partners for Climate Protection which had two hundred and sixteen member municipalities as of July 2011 (Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 2011). In the United States, the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, established in 2005, commits signatories to meet the US Kyoto reduction target of 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Over 500 mayors have signed the Agreement (United States Conference of Mayors, 2011). all providing data to support the position that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have a threshold beyond which severe, adverse climate conditions are expected. 9 In all cases, the targets are for reductions in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) to encompass other gases like methane and nitrous oxide which have global warming effects.  23  1.2.5 The Ecological Footprint as a Measure of Living within Global Biophysical Means The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on ecosystems. It is a calculation of the biologically productive land and sea required to provide the renewable resources and assimilate the wastes (mostly CO2) of any given population: of a city, a nation, or the entire global population on a continuous basis (Rees, 1992, 1996; 2006; Wackernagel and Rees, 1996). From an ecological footprint perspective, humanity would be in a sustainable state if the global human population used renewable resources and produced wastes at a rate equivalent to the earth’s capacity to reproduce the resources and absorb the wastes. Ecological footprint calculations reveal that between 1961 and 2005 human demand on the biosphere has more than doubled (WWF, 2008). In terms of ecological footprint analysis the global human population is now living in part, off the earth’s natural capital, while living within global biophysical means requires living off nature’s interest. On a per capita basis, sustainable resource use can be determined as globally available biocapacity in gha/yr divided by the global population; the result of this calculation is called the fair Earth-share by Wackernagel and Rees (1996). Regardless of whether one accepts the position that global resources should be shared equitably among the human population, ecological footprint analysis identifies the approximate limits to global biocapacity and determines that the human population is exceeding those limits. In 2007 the human ecological footprint on earth was 2.7gha per person while only 1.8gha is actually ‘available’ for each human inhabitant of Earth (Global Footprint Network, 2010). The per capita ecological footprints of developed nations are significantly larger than those of poor nations. For example, Canada’s per capita ecological footprint has been calculated at 7.6 global hectares. This means that on average, Canadians must reduce their renewable resource demands and waste production by approximately 78% (WWF, 2007) to reach their fair Earthshare.  If all the residents of Canada were using only their fair Earth-share of global  biocapacity a state of ‘quasi-sustainability’ would be in effect: that level of economic activity and energy/material consumption per capita which, if extended to the entire system, would result in global sustainability (Rees, 2009). The ecological footprint has been challenged for the accuracy of its method (Van den Bergh and Verbruggen, 1999; McManus, 2005) but since its inception, ecological footprint 24  calculation methods have been continually revised and data availability and accuracy improved. The ecological footprint is being used in academic research and in national and local policy to measure ‘sustainability’ from a global renewable resource perspective (Aall and Norland, 2005; Hammond, 2006; Moos, Whitfield, Johnson and Andrey, 2006; Brown, Kruger and Subler, 2008).  Ecological footprint analysis has been used by national  governments including the United Kingdom; United Arab Emirates; Japan; Switzerland; Wales; and Belgium; it has been adopted by the European Union as a key indicator of sustainability (Global Footprint Network, 2011) and it was included as the 4th of 10 Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities adopted as part of the Local Agenda 21 program, at the Local Government Session of the Earth Summit 2002 in Johannesburg. 10 The City of London, England commissioned a comprehensive footprint analysis in 2002 (Barrett, Valleck, Jones and Haq, 2002). At least two Canadian cities have recently set goals for reductions in the ecological footprints of their residents: the City of Calgary plans to reduce its average per capita footprint by approximately 36% per capita (City of Calgary, 2009) and the City of Vancouver announced as part of its Greenest City initiative, a long term target (2050) for a “one planet ecological footprint” equivalent to a fair Earth-share of 1.8 gha per capita 11(City of Vancouver, 2009b:8). The ecological footprint has been adopted as part of a holistic sustainability design framework, One Planet Living, developed by the UK organization BioRegional and promoted by the World Wildlife Fund as a resource for planning and evaluation of urban land development projects (WWF One Planet Living). Despite methodological and data challenges, greenhouse gas emissions inventories and ecological footprint accounting are two scientifically grounded tools for measuring global biophysical limits and for determining whether or not the global human enterprise, or a specific city, is functioning sustainably within them.  10  Melbourne Principle #4: Enable communities to minimize their ecological footprint. (ICLEI, 2011) Because the target is long term, the available per capita biocapacity could be less than 1.8gha; therefore the target is set at ‘one planet’. 11  25  1.2.6 Planning Sustainable Urban Land Projects: Influence of Sustainability Approaches Researchers have suggested that the outcomes of sustainability policies at the level of urban land development projects have largely fallen into the category of weak sustainability, status quo (as per Rees, 1995), also known as ‘business as usual’ (Irwin, 2004; Rydin, et al., 2003; Brown and Carpenter, 2009). Lombardi et al. suggest that outcomes at the land development level will be strongly influenced by the perceptions of actors involved in the planning process (Lombardi et al., 2011). How these actors conceive of sustainable development, the problems it should address and the avenues available for solutions will significantly influence the way sustainability policies are interpreted and applied.  Lombardi et al. (2011) tested this  hypothesis in a case of urban brownfield regeneration in Birmingham, UK. They found that despite transformative conceptions of sustainability among some planning actors and in some policy documents, in general, business as usual outcomes prevailed. The authors posit that in Birmingham and beyond, the dominant ‘growth-first ethic’ in urban regeneration discourse must be displaced by transformative conceptions of sustainability if innovative, holistic outcomes are to be achieved.  1.2.7 Reforming Cities: Toward Reconciliation with Global Biophysical Limits The goal for cities to function within global biophysical limits, or at least to reduce resource use and waste production, has been supported by some sustainable cities researchers and theorists through promotion of strategies to restructure city forms, spaces, functions and flows (Table 1.5 below).  Proposed physical characteristics include: compact form; increased  density; mixed-use zoning; prioritizing mobility options such as walking, bicycling and public transit; and energy efficient building design. Socioeconomic characteristics require changes to economic structure and activity, personal and cultural behaviour and values, and more participatory, local forms of governance  (Register, 1987; Roseland, 1992; Haughton and  Hunter, 1994; Satterthwaite, 1997; Prugh et al., 2000; Girardet, 2004; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010).  26  Table 1.5 Proposed characteristics of sustainable cities Characteristic Proposed from Literature on Urban Sustainability Urban Form/Land Use  Mixed-use; compact; high density; transit-oriented; pedestrian and bicycle oriented design; brownfield redevelopment  Transportation Systems  Prioritize public transit systems; prioritize non-auto modes of transportation; support electric vehicles; reduced parking for private automobiles; encourage car-pool; car share programs  Energy Systems  District energy systems; on site renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal  Built Form  Energy efficient building design and layout including passive design; flexible design so buildings can be adapted to user needs over time  Water Use  Conservation technology such as low flow faucets; re-use of gray water; naturalized storm water management systems; limited impervious surface area to replenish surface and groundwater  Waste – solid, liquid and atmospheric  Composting of organics (on site to reduce transportation); diversion of waste from landfill through increased recycling and re-purposing centres and pick up; re-design of products for recycling and re-use; methane capture at landfill; air emissions standards  Urban Agriculture  Reduce ‘food miles’ distance from food production location to consumption site; urban community and demonstration gardens for local food production, education and aesthetics  Urban Green Space Wildlife Habitat  Retain wildlife habitat; use native species for planting where possible; walking distance access to green space for residents, local employees and visitors  Personal Consumption  Encourage reductions in consumption of resource intensive products and services through education; changing cultural values  Governance  Increase local legal and regulatory jurisdiction; increase participatory and stakeholder-based planning and decision-making  Economy  Localized restorative economies: provide more local control over local resources; meet local needs from local sources; closed loop production systems; local eco-industrial networking; encourage local stewardship ethic  Sources: Van der Ryn and Calthorpe, 1986; Register, 1987; Elkin and McLaren, 1991; Haughton and Hunter, 1994; Satterthwaite, 1997; Roseland, 1998; Newman and Kenworthy, 1999; Girardet, 2004; Wheeler, 2000; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rydin, 2010  27  The sustainable city characteristics listed in Table 1.5 are not uncontested.  Which  characteristics and strategies should be most ardently pursued is a point of debate among theorists (Evans and Jones, 2008). The physical changes, when promoted independently of socioeconomic changes, can be conceived as operating within the sustainability paradigm promoting technical and market solutions to environmental problems (the independent spheres approach). Guy and Marvin (1999) caution against defining the sustainable city in physical terms alone, arguing that political tendencies to apply technical solutions to complex social challenges will eclipse opportunities for more holistic change. Political economists warn that technical aspects of sustainability can be co-opted into the existing neoliberal agenda of economic growth through privatization and commoditization of the city while progressive agendas for economic and social sustainability reform are sidelined (Whitehead, 2003; Krueger and Savage, 2007).  They argue for investigation of the socioeconomic  systems that reproduce ecological and social un-sustainability. Others argue that promotion of a common set of physical measures is conceptually unsound; the sustainable city is not “a generic, planned object” (Whitehead, 2003: 1202), but a contextually developed and implemented construct.  Further, efficacy of physical changes (individually or in  combination) is to date uncertain and remains the subject of academic debate (Crane, 1996; Handy, 2005). Despite these varied positions on sustainability strategies, the set of characteristics in Table 1.5 remains the dominant set promoted in academic literature. In planning practice and policy, the physical characteristics are most commonly pursued, although concepts like food security have led to increased policy work on local control over and access to agricultural production (Mendes, 2008). Among sustainable city theorists, some argue against quantitative measurement of sustainability and data collection. They argue that quantification reinforces the status quo approach to sustainability (see Table 1.1 and Table 1.2) in which problems of unsustainability can be solved if enough of the right data is collected to inform technological and market solutions (Guy and Marvin, 1999; Whitehead, 2003). These theorists argue that it is more urgent to interrogate the socioeconomic structures that have led to and continue to deepen un-sustainability. I propose that identification of quantifiable measures of sustainable human living and investigation of the socioeconomic structures that produce unsustainable 28  forms of human living are not in opposition; both must be pursued. Without a quantifiable measure of sustainability, it is not possible to determine whether policy directions, be they governance changes, economic changes, or technological changes are actually leading toward patterns of human living that respect global biophysical capacity, and so avoid potential unanticipated, catastrophic environmental changes.  1.3 Literature on Sustainable Urban Land Development Projects: Policy, Plans and Implementation Published research on sustainability-oriented urban development projects falls into three types: 1) descriptive: cataloguing sustainability strategies and technologies implemented, sometimes including comment on successes and challenges to implementation; 2) evaluative: applying sustainability frameworks or indicator checklists to projects; and 3) exploratory: studies on how sustainability policy is perceived, interpreted and implemented; factors that influence implementation and outcomes. Among the first group, studies range from reviews of individual sustainability strategies such as water technologies, (for example, Shirly-Smith and Butler (2008) on innovations in water technology for Beddington Zero, UK; Novotny (2010) on energy efficiencies in Masdar, UAE), to inventories of strategies implemented in various projects, such as Ceretta and Salzano (2009) comparing eight neighbourhood level cases in Europe, and Beatley’s and Newman’s (2000) catalogue of sustainability initiatives in Australia.  Two central  contributions can be drawn from this literature: first, the research helps to establish a much needed inventory of strategies that have been attempted; second, examples of actually existing sustainability strategies (Krueger and Agyeman, 2005) may help to promote cultural interest and confidence in the possibilities for a sustainable future. A critique of this literature is its lack of attention to the multi-scale contexts and local conditions that first give rise to and then support implementation of sustainability policy and strategy. A small number of studies have applied sustainability frameworks to urban development projects, evaluating project plans and outcomes against sustainability criteria determined from the literature. Examples include Kim’s (2002) evaluation of four communities, two in Asia, 29  one in the UK and Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek; Irwin’s (2004) 12 analysis of sustainability outcomes in Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek Policy Statement; and Deakin’s (2003) examination of sustainable community settlement plans outside of Edinburgh, UK.  Both Kim and Irwin evaluate urban development projects against criteria  ‘toward’ sustainability without including an absolute measure of sustainability such as ecological footprint or carbon emissions limits. Irwin’s criteria for ecological sustainability, for example, are “efficient and ecologically sensitive land use in urban areas; and minimizing the use of natural resources, and the reduction or elimination of pollution” (2004:74). Minimization and reduction are not criteria for ecological sustainability. The criteria for ecological sustainability are that resource use and pollution production levels remain within global carrying capacity (Baccini, 1997; Newman and Jennings, 2008; Rees, 2009). Deakin (2003) attempts to measure what he calls the ‘ecological sustainability’ of plans for developments in Edinburgh’s South East Wedge. He finds that despite inclusion of current ‘best practice’ characteristics like high density, compact, mixed use development and energyconscious transportation infrastructure, there is no formal assessment of the settlements’ ecological footprints, biodiversity or natural capital. Deakin (2003:44) argues that a model without such measures cannot be a model for sustainability at all; design solutions should be required to demonstrate their ecological viability in light of these measures. Deakin is one of the few to apply criteria based on living within global biophysical means. Given the broad acceptance within sustainability literature and theory of global biophysical limits, the low profile of such a measure marks an important research gap in analysis and evaluation of sustainable urban development plans and projects. It also highlights the challenge of bridging diverse academic discourses such as ecological and environmental science with theories of planning and place-making, policy development and urban political economy. A third body of literature examines planning processes, policy development and implementation in sustainable urban development projects. This research focuses largely on the aspirations for transformative change that will lead to greater social and political equity. The research literature finds little evidence that application of sustainability policy has had 12  Irwin’s analysis is one component of research which has as a central focus, an investigation of the effectiveness and contribution of collaborative planning processes to sustainability outcomes in urban development projects.  30  significant impact on urban land development projects to date. It also reports that economic interests can fairly nimbly adopt elements of sustainability policy such as technical requirements into business as usual development (Raco and Henderson, 2010; Lombardi et al., 2011). A number of researchers have investigated brownfield regeneration projects in the UK, which have since the early 2000s been influenced by state and local level policies on sustainable development (Whitehead 2003; Rydin et al., 2003; Porter and Hunt 2005; Evans and Jones, 2008; Brown and Carpenter, 2009; Raco and Henderson, 2010; Lombardi et al., 2011). Several hypotheses emerge about implementation of sustainability policy: without support from comprehensive sustainability policy at other levels of government, local sustainable development policy will be limited in its effectiveness at delivering social, economic and ecological outcomes; if brownfield redevelopment is commodified, uneven outcomes among objectives are likely (Raco and Henderson, 2010). The sustainable city cannot be ‘rolled out’ as a uniform set of technical reforms, checklists and benchmarks. Rather, policy implementation will be influenced by local actors and networks of actors (Rydin et al., 2003; Whitehead, 2003; Evans and Jones, 2008; Lombardi et al., 2011). Research attention must focus on local governance structures and how they can be reformed to serve the values and goals of sustainability (Rydin et al., 2003; Brown and Carpenter, 2009). The ambiguity of the sustainability concept makes sustainability policy vulnerable to being co-opted by business as usual development interests, but at the same time, under collaborative processes of policy implementation ambiguity allows for creative problem solving and innovation (Evans and Jones, 2008). The ambiguity of the concept can be viewed as useful in making visible the political and value-laden nature of planning policy (Lombardi et al., 2011). Lombardi et al. (2011) conducted research on policy implementation in an urban regeneration project in Birmingham, UK. Their hypothesis was that sustainability policy for the project would be interpreted and mediated by actors in the planning process and therefore, the way actors conceived of sustainability should powerfully influence how the policy was implemented. Lombardi et al. interviewed planning actors and analysed planning policy documents, ranking them on a scale of interpretation from status quo: no real changes required in development projects or personal lifestyle; technical changes toward energy efficiency within current market systems will suffice to address environmental problems; to 31  reform: immediate action within existing socio-economic systems is required to address mounting ecological problems; to transformative: radical change to existing socioeconomic systems and paradigms is required to avoid problems of mounting global ecological crisis. They found that although several actors in the process expressed transformative views of sustainability, the dominant conception was a growth ethic, business as usual model. For the most part, the project delivered technical strategies for energy efficiency and resource use reduction. The researchers found no evidence of transformative change such as values or behaviour change, increased participation in governance or planning processes, or local economic development. Two studies on implementation of sustainability policy in the North American context associate sustainability-oriented projects with processes of gentrification.  In the case of  Toronto’s West Don Lands, Bunce (2009) argues that local government sustainability policy as delivered by the private sector development industry is an example of both “policy-led gentrification” and “third wave gentrification”. She argues that the institutional arrangements and associations between the public policy-makers and large private development companies will result in socially and economically exclusive communities rather than the more socially equitable communities envisioned from the social justice perspective on sustainability. Dale and Newman (2009) contend from their investigation of Kensington Market, Toronto; Dockside Green, Victoria and Gastown and Yaletown in Vancouver, that development of sustainability-oriented communities (sustainability-oriented activities in the case of Kensington Market) have contributed to local processes of gentrification. They argue that sustainable communities to date are livable communities for a well to do middle class and that future efforts must be more focused on social inclusion and diversity. The planning of Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek has attracted some academic attention. Irwin’s (2004) doctoral research investigated the planning phase that resulted in the official Southeast False Creek Policy Statement. He evaluated the planning process against criteria for communicative planning; and evaluated the outcome of that process, the Policy Statement document, against criteria of strong sustainability which he derived from literature13. Irwin’s 13  Irwin describes the weak / strong sustainability dimensions in terms of natural and human-made capital: from a strong sustainability perspective natural and human made capital are complements not full substitutes; the means of production must not be depleted. Weak sustainability allows for substitution of natural capital by  32  research goal was to determine whether communicative planning processes improve sustainability outcomes and in the case of Vancouver, whether the process advanced sustainability in the city. He found that the Southeast False Creek process met literaturebased criteria for communicative planning. He assessed the Policy Statement as generally representative of weak sustainability (after O’Riordon and Voisey, 1998) characterised by: “environmental policy: new institutional structures to implement formal integrated policy; economic policy: substantial restructuring to encourage use of economic instruments, significant amount of financial investment for sustainability goals; public awareness: broader public education and partnerships between educational institutions and local community; public participation: interested party groups and local Council surveillance”. The characteristics of strong sustainability policy and practice (derived from O’Riordan and Voisey, 1998) which Irwin found to be lacking in the Southeast False Creek Policy Statement are: “ legally binding policy integration, sustainability policy with indicators; economic policy: full cost and green accounting practiced; widely accepted measures of community capacity; public awareness: curriculum integration which delivers educational initiative with intent of improving local community; regular media coverage of sustainability issues: communicative participation: widespread and on-going community involvement, and strong local council support for sustainability initiatives.” Irwin also argues that the process had an impact on general knowledge and promotion of sustainability within the city at large. Irwin approached the research from multiple theoretical frames including a political economy perspective. As such Irwin’s investigation considered the influence of the local political economic context, and the actions of individuals and groups representing various political and economic interests in the city. Irwin found that political and economic powers were exerted in the process and in some instances compromised the collaborative nature of the process. The study was carried out in two parts: an action research component; and a set of structured interviews with planning participants. The communicative nature of the process and the  human made capital when measuring overall capital to be conserved. For purposes of his research, Irwin adapts concepts of strong and weak sustainability from O’Riordon and Voisey (1998) as quoted in the text.  33  sustainability (weak-strong) of the Policy Statement, were evaluated in both components of the research. Vaughan (2008) examined the planning process for Southeast False Creek to investigate the potential for collaborative planning to advance social, economic and ecological imperatives of sustainability. She references Robinson and Tinker (1997) to describe sustainability as the “simultaneous reconciliation of three imperatives: the ecological imperative to stay within the biophysical carrying capacity of the planet; economic: provide adequate standard of living for all; social: systems of governance that propagate the values people want to live by” (Vaughan, 2008:4). A former member of the Southeast False Creek Stewardship Group, (an advisory group to the City of Vancouver) Vaughan examined the nature of collaboration between the advisory group, City Staff, City Council and finally the Olympic Village developer. Vaughan adapted a theory of “policy windows” from Kingdon (1995) to identify points in the process at which opportunities existed to influence policy.  She employed a narrative  approach, presenting a chronology of planning events punctuated by policy windows through which various planning directions and strategies were negotiated. Vaughan found that the collaborative process was most effective at promoting all three imperatives of sustainability in the Policy Statement and Official Development Plan phases. During both these phases Vaughan found that the advisory group had opportunities to influence sustainability goals and initiatives through their work with City staff and their relationships with Council. From her perspective the Stewardship Group helped to promote a holistic, integrated approach to sustainability. However, Vaughan does not offer evidence of specific progress toward the ecological imperative of living within global carrying capacity limits. Vaughan found that at the project implementation stage for the Southeast False Creek Olympic Athletes’ Village the collaborative planning approach was diminished and social sustainability goals were sidelined. Unlike technical and environmental design solutions, the costs of social sustainability strategies in particular could not easily be integrated into the financing scheme of the project which was operating under a conventional market economic paradigm. Vaughan does not identify specific conceptions of sustainability but points out that the “trade-off model” of sustainability pursued during the implementation phase could not reconcile economic, social and ecological goals (2008:41).  Vaughan does not propose a 34  definition for sustainability but argues that the lack of a concrete definition of the concept allowed for the devaluation of social sustainability goals. Vaughan argues that collaborative processes can be effective at promoting integrated goals for sustainability, but that groups involved in the collaboration must be flexible enough to adapt to the pace, demands and micro-politics of the implementation phase of a project. She asserts that in the case of Southeast False Creek, civil society actors did not adapt sufficiently to maintain a presence in the final stages of the process. They could have formed new coalitions and identified new allies from outside of the City process to help challenge the imposition of trade-offs and expert-oriented planning that dominated the implementation phase. Both Irwin and Vaughan examined the Southeast False Creek case to add to theory about the potential for more participatory processes, collaborative and communicative, to advance transformational/integrated goals of sustainability. Both researchers assert that more progress was made toward ecological sustainability than toward social or economic sustainability. Irwin based this conclusion on the number of objectives for environmental performance included in the Policy Statement compared to those targeting social and economic reforms. Vaughan’s assessment reflected measures such as provisions for energy efficient buildings; urban agriculture; investigation of a district energy system; natural stormwater management systems and shoreline habitat restoration. Neither of the studies attempted to evaluate project outcomes against a quantitative measure of sustainability, or to reflect on how far the project’s ecologically oriented outcomes lead toward a defined concept of ecological sustainability. Kear (2007) took an urban political ecology approach in his study of Southeast False Creek. He argued that sustainability planning for Southeast False Creek was an example of efforts to find ‘fixes’ for the social, ecological and economic crisis tendencies of local accumulation regimes. He further asserted that the Southeast False Creek process employed the language of sustainability but was actually a contest to define the appropriate economic future for Vancouver as one that continues to integrate with global markets rather than some more localized alternative. Kear investigated definitions of sustainability only for the purpose of showing the malleability of the terms, and how these were manipulated by specific actors to promote business as usual strategies. 35  Kim (2002) developed a conceptual model of sustainable urban development to evaluate four examples of ‘international best practices’ (:98) in sustainable community design: Shinjung, Korea; Southeast False Creek; Greenwich Millennium Village, UK, and Nagamine, Japan. For Southeast False Creek, Kim compared a concept proposal for the site prepared by Stanley Kwok in 1997, to the Policy Statement that was ultimately adopted by the City Council in 1999. In Kim’s study, the Policy Statement was found to make marked progress toward sustainability compared to the Kwok proposal. Kim’s evaluation tool includes the most commonly identified areas for concern in sustainable urban design and urban form: land use and transportation; energy; air; water; soil; flora and fauna; built form; solid waste/waste recycling; people and community.  However, no  measurable targets representing a state of sustainability are included, and no measurable targets are set for any of the planning areas. Goals are expressed in terms of movement toward sustainability (undefined in measurable terms). For example, transportation goal: “increase choice of transport mode for trips outside the neighbourhood” (2002:86). The corresponding objectives are: “increase pedestrian, bicycle and transit amenities within the neighbourhood; increase accessibility and safety of public transportation;” the indicators are, “percentage of street area dedicated to non-car use within neighbourhood; and number of public transport routes to local centre within 10-minute journey” (2002:87). Such indicators may help to show progress away from current practices, but they are not tied to resource use/carrying capacity measures, and give no insight into how close we might be coming to achieving the necessary target: a state of sustainability.  In its lack of a measure for  sustainable resource use, Kim’s evaluation tool is consistent with most other sets of criteria and targets found in the literature. A significant gap exists between current concepts and biophysically meaningful criteria. Progress toward sustainability is critical. Achievement of sustainability must be the target. Without at least an estimated, quantifiable measure of that target, urban planning researchers are left evaluating progress toward a set of values, defined variously, and easily contested. Global ecological change is occurring at a rapid pace (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005; IPCC, 2001; 2007).  A measure of sustainable resource use and waste production must  serve as a target toward which all policy efforts and strategies can be directed, against which progress can be measured and to which decision-makers can be held account. Understanding 36  how planning actors develop their perspectives on sustainability and promote those perspectives in urban land use policy and plan-making may yield insight into avenues for encouraging transformative conceptions of sustainability.  1.4 Structure of the Dissertation The structure of this dissertation proceeds as follows. In Chapter 2 I describe my research strategy and methods. Chapter 3 provides background on the case including a physical description of the Southeast False Creek site, a history of False Creek development, and a review of the literature on planning and development in Vancouver. The findings from my interview data and document analysis are presented in Chapters 4, 5 and 6 in a chronological narrative of the planning process. In Chapter 4 I identify and discuss the sustainability approaches found in the Southeast False Creek Policy Statement. I then examine how central planning actors developed personal perspectives on sustainability, and how they pursued those perspectives through policy development.  Chapter 5 presents my analysis of  sustainability approaches embedded in a series of environmental plans that were developed for the Southeast False Creek Official Development Plan. I also trace the City’s process of developing a green building strategy for Southeast False Creek, and identify the shortcomings of that strategy from a transformative perspective on sustainability. Chapter 6 is the last of the narrative chapters. I describe and analyse three planning and development decisions that underscore the dominance of the status quo-reform approach among key actors at the City of Vancouver. This chapter also concludes the saga of proposals for performance targets and monitoring in Southeast False Creek. In Chapter 7 I evaluate the sustainability of Southeast False Creek by comparing its performance targets and strategies to externally derived targets for sustainability in terms of per capita ecological footprints and per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Chapter 8 comprises a summary discussion, final conclusions, implications from the research for theory, practice, and further research. Chapter 8 is followed by a brief Epilogue, an account of planning events that have transpired since the development of the first phase of Southeast False Creek, and that intimate a local legacy of sustainability learning.  37  CHAPTER 2 Research Methods  2.1 Research Strategy 2.1.1 Case Study of Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood The central focus of my research is to evaluate the progress of a ‘sustainable’ urban development project toward ecologically defined sustainability and to investigate how actor views of sustainability influenced that progress. The case study approach is appropriate for this research: according to Yin (2009:18) “A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.” Planning processes for sustainable urban projects are contemporary phenomena; planning processes in general, are understood to be embedded in socio-cultural, institutional, economic and political contexts (Sandercock, 1977; Ley, 1996; Flyvbjerg, 1998; Fainstein, 2001; Olds, 2001; Hutton, 2004; Healey, 2007). In-depth investigation of one case for the purposes of exploration, theory development and practice insights is a method with a rich history in planning research. Examples of single case research include Meyerson’s and Banfield’s (1955) study of public housing policy in Chicago; Flyvbjerg’s (1998) case study of Aalborg, Denmark theorizing the relationship between power and rationality in planning; and Healey’s (2007) case study of planning in Newcastle, UK which tests her framework for analysis of institutional change.  In the  Vancouver context Hutton’s (1998) monograph examines urban economic development trends in Vancouver and his (2004) article employs Vancouver as a case for re-theorization of the 21st century city. Siemiatycki (2005) investigated transportation decision-making in the Vancouver Metropolitan Region through a case study of one megaproject. The planning for Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek has been the subject of one doctoral dissertation (Irwin, 2004) which evaluated the collaborative nature of the planning process, and the links between collaboration and sustainability outcomes. In terms of research on the nexus between urban 38  sustainability policy, planning, implementation and outcomes, a small number of studies have been conducted to date and in the main, have focused on single cases (for example Rydin et al., 2003; Evans and Jones, 2008; Bunce, 2009; Raco and Henderson, 2010; Lombardi et al., 2011). Given that research on sustainable urban planning for land use projects is relatively new, continued exploration is warranted. The single case study is well suited to that research task. I considered the merits of a comparative case study for my investigation of planning for ecologically sustainable urban developments. Although there have been few North American efforts at sustainable community/neighbourhood development at the scale of Southeast False Creek, one very nearby development might serve as a good comparison: Dockside Green in Victoria, British Columbia. This project set similar sustainability goals to Southeast False Creek and planning for the project occurred within a similar regulatory system.  A  comparison of the planning for Dockside Green with that of Southeast False Creek would have entailed identification of comparative planning elements, sustainability targets, and investigation of the ways structural, economic, and political differences between the projects might have affected outcomes. I felt that such a comparison, while feasible, might constrain the research to only comparable elements, as well as to those elements I could conceive of at the outset of the research. Given the limited research on urban sustainable development projects to date, I determined that a single case, with its opportunities for exploration of unanticipated themes, could yield significant, useful hypotheses and propositions which might then be tested in other cases, or used for comparative studies. Stake (1995:4) asserts that the first criterion for selecting a case is that it should “maximize” opportunities for gaining new insights, assumptions and understandings.  Flyvbjerg  (2001:177) calls for selection of critical cases, those with strategic importance. Vancouver’s first effort at planning a sustainable community could maximize learning because Southeast False Creek is one of the few urban development projects in North America to have sustainability as a guiding principle, and to employ a full range of urban land use, infrastructure and design strategies as found in the academic and practice literature on sustainable city development. Southeast False Creek may also be a case with strategic importance. Vancouver is a city whose planning both inspires and invites professional emulation (Punter, 2003; L. Beasley, personal communication, August 24, 2010).  The 39  manner in which Vancouver addresses sustainability in its first sustainability-oriented community will likely influence future local development, and has the potential to influence sustainable urban development policy and strategies in other North American cities and beyond. A central aim of this case study was to determine the progress of Southeast False Creek toward scientifically determined measures of sustainability (living within limits of global biophysical capacity). To this end, the sustainability performance targets set for Southeast False Creek were evaluated for their measurable contributions toward achieving sustainable per capita ecological footprints and CO2 emissions levels for future Southeast False Creek residents.  2.2 Data Collection Procedures 2.2.1 Evaluating Progress Toward Sustainability My objective was to assess the performance targets set for Southeast False Creek: what overall reduction in per capita greenhouse gas emissions and ecological footprint would be realized if all performance targets were achieved?  It was not feasible to determine actual  performance because the community was not fully occupied at the time of the study and performance data were not available.  I used published documents from the City of  Vancouver’s official website to identify Southeast False Creek performance targets. The documents are: 1. Southeast False Creek Official Development Plan (City of Vancouver, 2007) 2. Southeast False Creek Green Building Strategy (City of Vancouver, 2008) 3. Sustainability Indicators, Target, Stewardship and Monitoring for South East False Creek (City of Vancouver, 2005) To calculate greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with each target or standard, I used data from the City of Vancouver publication, 2008 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Summary and Methodologies (City of Vancouver, 2009).  40  To calculate ecological footprint reductions associated with each target or standard I used data from a study of Vancouver’s ecological footprint by Moore, (2011). I used the following source to obtain data pertaining to average Canadian per capita greenhouse gas emissions: National Inventory Report 1990 – 2010, Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada. Executive Summary.  Submission to United Nations Framework  Convention on Climate Change; follows UNFCC Guidelines on annual inventories (Environment Canada, 2012).  2.2.2 Sustainable Ecological Footprint and CO2 Emissions Measures The measure of a sustainable per capita ecological footprint was sourced from calculations by the Global Footprint Network (2010) published in the World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report WWF, 2010). Sustainable per capita CO2e emissions (in tonnes CO2/capita per year) were derived from the IPCC (2007) based target of 80% reductions below 1990 levels for industrialized nations (City of Vancouver, 2010a; European Commission 2012) and CO 2e emissions data from Environment Canada (2012).  2.2.3 Impact of Actor Perceptions and Contextual Factors in Sustainability Outcomes To conduct the research on the ways that actor perceptions of sustainability and contextual factors of the case influenced sustainability outcomes for Southeast False Creek I relied upon two key sources of data: written documents and interviews. The written documents provided the chronological narrative of the planning process; they revealed the sustainability vision, principles and targets for the project; insights into explorations of designing a ‘sustainable’ community (for example, the consultants’ reports on possibilities for reductions in energy and water use); and details of economic and other considerations presented to Council. The documents also gave insight into the sustainability perspectives of various planning actors: City Staff and Management; consultants to the City; members of Advisory Groups. The interviews yielded data on actor perspectives of sustainability, and personal observations from  41  key individuals on the ways various actors and factors influenced the sustainability vision, targets and achievements of the project.  2.2.4 Current and Historical Documents The first official reference to Southeast False Creek as the site for an energy efficient community is in the 1990 Clouds of Change report of the City of Vancouver Task Force on Atmospheric Change. In 1996 the official planning for Southeast False Creek began with the decision to hire a development consultant to conduct an economic feasibility study for the site. Since then a large set of policy and planning documents has been produced. I collected documents that span the years from 1990 to 2010 when the first phase of the development was completed to house the athletes for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Key documents for the research included:  The Policy Statement for Southeast False Creek (City of Vancouver, 1999)  The Official Development Plan Draft (VIA Architecture, 2003)  The Official Development Plan for Southeast False Creek (City of Vancouver, 2007)  Staff Reports to Council (1996- 2010)  City Council Meeting Minutes (1996-2010)  Site Rezoning Documents (2006- 2008)  Consultants’ Reports on Urban Sustainability Goals and Targets for Southeast False Creek (1998-2007) The City of Vancouver maintains a detailed on-line archive of planning documents, including Staff reports to Council, consultant reports on projects, and Council meeting minutes. Most of the documents used in this research were accessed on-line at the City’s official website. Other documents, for example specific consultants’ reports, were accessed through the library at the University of British Columbia, and in some cases were provided by interview subjects. This comprehensive collection of documents provided the data from which I constructed the broad narrative, and identified critical details and complexities of efforts to plan and develop a sustainable community in Southeast False Creek. 42  Two additional sources of written documents are news media pertaining to Southeast False Creek (accessed on-line), and The Challenge Series, a narrative of the planning and development of the Southeast False Creek Olympic Village prepared by Millennium Water Development team (also available on-line). The Challenge Series was helpful for identifying key actors involved in the planning and development of the Olympic Village and for a history of planning events which I compared to the narrative I had constructed from planning documents. While I reviewed a wide range of local media news articles on Southeast False Creek, these served mainly to support the observations of interviewees and in some cases provide details I had not encountered in City documents or through interviews.  2.2.5 Interviews I conducted interviews with twenty-four individuals who had direct, personal experience with the planning and development of Southeast False Creek as related to sustainability visions, principles, targets and plan implementation. Given my research purpose to understand how planning actors’ conceptions of sustainability influenced the ecological sustainability of Southeast False Creek, and to understand the impact of contextual factors, it was critical for me to interview actors who were at the centre of the planning process between the years 1995 (inception of the project) to 2010 (completion of the first phase of development). I developed a list of interviewees from a thorough review of policy and planning documents. The list comprised individuals who held the following roles (the dates indicated in brackets reflect years during which individuals held their titles): 1. City of Vancouver Planners: Co-Directors of Planning (1996- 2006); Senior Planner for Southeast False Creek (1997- 2009) and Manager of Project Development, Southeast False Creek Project Office (2009); junior planners for Southeast False Creek (1999- 2002); planning intern (1997-1999) 2. City of Vancouver, Manager of Development, Southeast False Creek Project Office 3. City of Vancouver, Director of Real Estate Service (1996 – 2006) 4. City of Vancouver, Sustainability Group: Manager (2004-2007); Project Manager (2006-2010) 43  5. City of Vancouver, Manager of Engineering for Southeast False Creek and the Olympic Village (2002 – 2009) 6. Vancouver City Council Member 7. Consultants to the City of Vancouver: engineers; sustainability professionals; developers 8. Southeast False Creek Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Village, Millennium Water, Design Manager 9. Members of the Southeast False Creek Advisory Group and Stewardship Group. When conducting interviews, I routinely asked to whom else I might speak for further insight into the planning process. In all but four cases, the suggested individuals were already on my list, confirming that I had developed a robust catalogue of the actors central to the Southeast False Creek planning and implementation processes between 1995 and 2010. I developed a semi-standardized interview schedule with questions reflecting the lines of inquiry for the research. In all instances interviewees were asked to describe their role in the project, to express their understanding or view of sustainability as it pertains to Southeast False Creek, and to comment on successes and failures of Southeast False Creek as a model sustainable development. In case study research it is common for interviewees to have unique experiences and roles (Stake, 1995:65); this was true of my interviewees. Consequently, I tailored interview schedules to elicit information relating to the interviewees’ areas of expertise and involvement with the project. The interview questions were open-ended so that interviewees could describe experiences and events through their own framing and perspectives. As a researcher, I was able to prompt interviewees for more information when it appeared that novel insights or themes might arise. A sample schedule is provided in Appendix A (primary questions and examples of prompts used to elicit further information). Interviews were held in locations selected by the interviewee. In most cases it was the interviewee’s place of work, in five instances a coffee shop and three interviews were conducted via telephone. The interviews lasted between 1.0 and 1.5 hours. All interviews were audio recorded with permission of the interviewees and later transcribed. Many interviewees expressed a wish to have their interview comments attributed to them. These interviewees are identified by name throughout the dissertation. Those interviewees 44  who preferred not to be named have been identified by a code. Appendix B describes the codes and provides a list of interview dates.  2.3 Data Analysis Procedures 2.3.1 Southeast False Creek: Anticipated Ecological Footprint and Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions Sustainable per capita ecological footprints and CO 2e emissions In order to compare the targets set for Southeast False Creek to ‘sustainable’ targets as determined through ecological footprint accounts and CO2e inventories, I had to identify sustainable targets. I used the sustainable ecological footprint figure calculated by the Global Footprint Network (WWF, 2010). It is 1.8 global hectares per capita, the amount that can be used by each person on the planet on a continuous basis. The scientifically determined reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions are commonly prescribed at the national level based on data from the IPCC (2007). The reduction target for industrialized nations has been in the range of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (Weaver et al., 2007; United Kingdom, 2008), in some cases higher (European Commission, 2012).  I  determined a sustainable level of CO2e emissions for the average Canadian using the following: Canada’s total emissions, 1990: 589.0 MtCO2e (Environment Canada, 2012) 80% below 1990:  117.8 MtCO2e  Canada’s total emissions, 2010: 692.0 MtCO2e Emission Reduction Required:  574.2 MtCO2e  Percent Reduction from 2010:  83%  45  Assigning the emissions reduction requirements to the existing Canadian population of 34,088,669 people (2010 data [Environment Canada, 2012]), Canada’s sustainable per capita emissions target is 3.46 tCO 2e (117.8 MtCO2e Canadian target/ 34,088,669 Canadian population). The scientifically determined sustainable ecological footprint and per capita greenhouse gas emissions targets are as follows: Sustainable ecological footprint: 1.8 global hectares per capita Sustainable Canadian greenhouse gas emissions: 3.46 tCO2e per capita Vancouver’s per capita ecological footprint and CO2e emissions A central difference between the ecological footprint accounting and CO 2e emissions inventories is that the former accounts for the ecological impacts of consumption, while the latter records emissions from production. The ecological footprint is designed to account for the total bioproductive land area necessary to fulfil consumption demands of a given population on an on-going basis. Canada’s ecological footprint represents the impact of the total of all resources, including food, consumed within the country for a given period. A per capita ecological footprint assigns responsibility to individuals for the ecological impacts of their consumption choices: the foods they eat, the transportation modes they use, the shelter in which they live. It also assigns them a portion of the ecological impacts of material and energy consumption by senior governments that deliver services and functions (for example, the military) from which individuals benefit. Greenhouse gas emissions inventories, on the other hand, account for the greenhouse gases produced and emitted within the boundaries of a specific jurisdiction: nation, province, state, or city. Canada’s greenhouse gas inventory records all reported emissions produced within the country’s boundaries from various activities including industry (see Table 2.1 for a list of included sectors). British Columbia’s greenhouse gas inventory accounts for all reported emissions produced within its boundaries including those from generation of electricity, mining, industrial processes, transportation, and buildings. The City of Vancouver reports 46  emissions only from: buildings; road transportation (light and heavy duty vehicles) and solid waste management (City of Vancouver, 2009). Canada’s national greenhouse gas emissions inventory when converted to a per capita figure, assigns each Canadian responsibility for a portion of national emissions, even those produced in another province – for example, all Canadians accept a share of emissions produced in the Alberta tar sands, and from Ontario coal-fired energy generation. What green house gas emissions inventories do not do, is account for the emissions related to personal consumption choices: for example, the emissions produced in China during the manufacture of my new Apple iPad are not attributed to me, but to the Chinese population. This raises the question of whether ghg emissions should be allocated at the point of production or consumption. Vancouver’s average per capita ecological footprint I determined the average Vancouver ecological footprint from Moore (2011), and the Global Footprint Network, (WWF, 2007) to be 6.76 global hectares. Moore’s study uses local data to calculate the ecological footprint of key consumption activities (bottom-up component method). She finds that the per capita ecological footprint for the average Vancouver resident is 4.38 global hectares (gha) comprising: 1. Food  2.13 gha  2. Transportation  0.81 gha  3. Consumables and waste  0.78 gha  4. Buildings  0.66 gha  5. Water  0.00 gha  6. Total  4.38 gha.  Moore’s data do not capture the ecological load associated with consumption at other levels of government, for example Canadian military and senior government operations, from which Vancouverites benefit and for which they should be accountable. To capture more fully the per capita ecological footprint, I combine the local consumption footprint of 4.38gha with a Canadian average footprint of 2.38gha/capita for senior government services and operations. The 2.38gha value was calculated by the Global Footprint Network (2003) and is based on 47  national level data. The total per capita ecological footprint I use for Vancouver is 6.76gha. This number is in the range of other ecological footprint calculations for Vancouver, 7.71 gha/per capita (Wilson and Anielski, 2005), and the Canadian average of 7.6gha/capita (WWF, 2007). Wilson and Anielski rely on national level data scaled to the city. Moore’s (2011) study is the first to use local level data and that makes it most appropriate to use for evaluating Southeast False Creek. Figure 2.1 shows the relative proportions of components of the ecological footprint for Vancouver.  Senior Government Services 36%  Water 0% Transportation 12%  Food 31%  Buildings 10% Consumables and Waste 11%  Figure 2.1 Components of Vancouver’s per capita ecological footprint (GFN, 2003; Moore, 2011)  48 Vancouver’s average per capita greenhouse gas emissions I determined average per capita CO2e emissions for Vancouver to be 18.03 tCO2e based on Canadian data adjusted for Vancouver specific data on emissions from: buildings; road transportation; and solid waste disposal. See Table 2.1. By adjusting for local data I was able to compare SeFC emissions targets to existing emissions from local buildings, transportation and solid waste, the areas over which local policy makers have some influence. Further, some of the Southeast False Creek performance targets were described in terms of improvement on existing local performance. For example, the district energy system is anticipated to produce 60% fewer emissions than local conventional sources of energy used in buildings. Despite the adjustment, the magnitude of the overall per capita ghg emissions reduction required to achieve a sustainable level of 3.46 tCO2e, remains similar: from the Canadian average, a reduction of 83% and from the average adjusted for Vancouver, 81%.  Table 2.1 Average Canadian per capita CO2e emissions adjusted for Vancouver Emissions Sources  Canada (2010) per capita emissions (tCO2e)  Vancouver (2008) per capita emissions (tCO2e)  Road Transport Building Operation Solid Waste Other Mining; Oil and Gas exploration Electricity and Heat Generation Agriculture; Forestry Industrial Processes: Solvent use Total  3.93 2.03 0.64 13.70  1.69 2.54 0.37 13.43  20.3  18.03  Sources: City of Vancouver (2009); Environment Canada (2012)  49  2.3.2 Documents and Interview Transcripts My approach to document and interview analysis was to use three coding systems associated with content analysis.  Hsieh and Shannon (2005:1278) describe content analysis as “a  research method for the subjective interpretation of the content of text data through the systematic classification process of coding and identifying themes or patterns.” Analysis can be impressionistic, intuitive and interpretive or strictly systematic (for example counting common responses or occurrences of words and phrases) (Rosengren, 1981). Three common approaches to content analysis are open coding, directive coding and summative coding (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005). In open coding, initial categories of analysis are derived from a first reading of the text data. A more selective coding, using core concepts from the open coding, often follows. In the directive approach to coding, the researcher determines an initial set of categories from theory or research findings. Directed coding is useful for analysis that tests theory or research propositions. For the summative approach a researcher counts and compares key words or content. This is also known as manifest content analysis which is generally used in a quantitative manner. Summative analysis includes a second step which is latent analysis: analysis of the underlying meanings of the words or content. How the initial codes are assigned is not dictated. I used all three approaches to analyse my interview transcripts and documents. First I coded the texts using a small directive set of codes drawn from my research proposition that various actor perceptions of sustainability and specific contextual factors of the case would influence ecological performance targets and outcomes, and from my theoretical perspective on sustainability as a measurable state. Examples of the directive codes are balance; holistic; individual influence; ecological footprint; climate change.  Through open and selective  coding I developed a comprehensive, data-derived set of categories. Categories included: replicability; economic viability; learning opportunity; City-owned land; build on existing Vancouver planning tradition. These categories represented factors and perceptions that appeared to have some bearing on how the project as a whole was conceived and executed. Through manifest analysis of data I counted the number of times a specific actor or factor was identified as having influence on the process. While I did not report these counts, in some cases the frequency of the response and the range of interviewees who identified it helped to strengthen the validity of the finding.  In other cases, a unique interpretation offered 50  important, otherwise overlooked insights and planning details. interpret the meaning of textual content.  I used latent analysis to  For example, one interviewee characterized  Southeast False Creek as “Vancouverism 4.0”; I interpreted this description as support for my evolving hypothesis that several key planning actors viewed sustainability as an incremental improvement on existing planning achievements in Vancouver rather than a critical response to global ecological change. I interpreted the language used in policy documents to see what it revealed about the official perspective or model of sustainability invoked to guide the planning and development of the site. In all cases where I present such interpretations in the dissertation, they are accompanied by the corresponding interview/document text so that the reader may assess for herself the soundness of the interpretation. To assist with coding and analysis I used Atlas ti. software designed for use in qualitative research and analysis.  2.4 Validation of Findings 2.4.1 Triangulation In case study research findings are commonly validated through different forms of triangulation (Yin, 2003:98; Stake, 1995:114). Patton asserts that the goal of triangulation is not to show that different sources of data or forms of inquiry lead to the same results. Rather, the objective of triangulation is to test for such consistency. Some inconsistencies are likely to be found because, for example, different types of data can reflect different aspects of real world phenomena.  Such inconsistencies do not jeopardize the integrity of the research;  instead they may offer additional insights. In my research I have used methodological or data source triangulation (Stake 1995:114): collecting data on the same phenomenon through interviews and from documents. My research design included interviews with participants from four key groups involved with the planning and development of Southeast False Creek; interviewing across a range also contributes to credibility of findings (Patton, 1999).  51  2.5 Limits of the Method The case study has been criticized by researchers who seek predictive theories, causal relationships between phenomena, or statistically valid inferences about a phenomenon or population (Small, 2009; Flyvbjerg, 2012). These criticisms arise from the heavily contextual nature of case study research which limits the generalizability of findings across a class or category. The critiques also arise from common case study data collection and analysis procedures that include personal interviews (purposeful rather than representative sampling), document analysis, and direct or participant observation. While these procedures are well suited for exploration of a phenomenon or process, they lack the controlled conditions associated with many quantitative methods used to test hypotheses and generate predictive theories. The limitation to generalizability applies to my case study of Southeast False Creek. Investigation and analysis of how actors and factors influenced the sustainability outcomes of Southeast False Creek has resulted in a rich but unique set of findings about the case. From these findings I may hypothesize about the opportunities for individual actors to influence change, or about specific factors that influence whether or not performance targets will be adopted. Such hypotheses could be tested in other cases. Both the ecological footprint method and greenhouse gas inventory accounting methods have inherent data limitations of accuracy and completeness, but they also suffer from incompatible reporting and allocation protocols between jurisdictions (Van den Bergh and Verbruggen, 1999; McManus, 2005; Best et al., 2008; Satterthwaite, 2008). In my study, calculations and findings based on these methods must be understood to contain their limitations. The findings and calculations are approximations based upon the best available published data and methods to date, but they are likely to change as data collection, reporting and methods continue to evolve and harmonize. An example of different jurisdictions using different protocols is in Canadian greenhouse gas inventories. To develop a measure of per capita ghg emissions for Vancouver I combined emissions data from the City of Vancouver, which used the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) protocols, with data from Environment Canada which was calculated following the protocols of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  52  2.6 Summary In this chapter I have described my research strategy of conducting a single, in-depth case study. I have explained that Southeast False Creek is an appropriate case for the study of efforts at sustainable urban land use planning and development.  Vancouver has an  international reputation for progressive planning. It has also been identified as one of the most livable cities in the world, in part because of previous downtown and False Creek community developments. These attributes make southeast False Creek an important to case to analyse in terms of planning process and sustainability outcomes. In this chapter I have described my method of evaluating the outcomes: I compare the project’s sustainability performance targets to scientifically determined targets for sustainable resource use and waste production. This chapter provides details of my data collection and data analysis procedures.  Data  collection is primarily through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with individuals who were directly involved in the planning of Southeast False Creek, and from document review (reports to Council; official planning documents; consultants’ reports; Council Meeting Minutes).  I conduct content analysis, applying directive, open and selective coding to data  from interview transcripts and document review. Findings are verified through triangulation of source data. Data on ecological footprints and carbon dioxide emissions (local and international) are collected from municipal, provincial and federal documents as well as published scientific research studies. I use these data to calculate a Canadian average sustainable per capita greenhouse gas emissions level, and to calculate the resource use reductions associated with Southeast False Creek performance targets.  The study  methodology is limited in its ability to generate predictive and explanatory theory; this is a limitation that applies to my study. However, case study research is useful for exploring a phenomenon in its context, generating hypotheses, and gaining practical knowledge about a specific case and its contexts. In the next chapter I describe the physical dimensions of the Southeast False Creek site. I present the planning context for the project through a review of the existing literature on Vancouver’s planning and development history.  53  CHAPTER 3 Context of the Case The Southeast False Creek community is being developed on Vancouver’s False Creek waterfront, near to the city’s downtown core. The physical location and ownership details of the land, in conjunction with the project’s place in the development history of the city are critical factors in how the project was conceived and how it is being implemented.  The  history of planning and development in Vancouver, and the roles of individual actors and groups of actors in that history form the background and context within which this case must be understood. In this chapter I describe the physical characteristics of the Southeast False Creek site; provide a history of planning and development in Vancouver and False Creek; and review the literature on Vancouver planning and development.  3.1 Southeast False Creek Statistics and Background Southeast False Creek is an area of former industrial land situated on Vancouver’s False Creek waterfront.  The site is approximately 36 hectares comprising both publicly and  privately owned land. As shown in Figure 3.1 Southeast False Creek is near to Vancouver’s downtown. It is bounded on the west by the South False Creek community; the City Gate community to the northeast; the False Creek Flats industrial area to the east, and the Mount Pleasant industrial area to the south. Across the creek is the community of False Creek North.  54  Figure 3.1 Map of False Creek and downtown Vancouver (Cartography R. Thomas)  At the time planning began in 1995, Southeast False Creek was the last large area of undeveloped industrial land on False Creek. The City-owned lands comprised approximately 23 hectares and were held as part of the City’s Property Endowment Fund, a fund with current (2010) land holdings worth over 1.5 billion dollars. The Property Endowment Fund was established in the early 1970s to consolidate city-owned lands that were not destined for near term use (for example as park space or non-market housing). The Fund’s holdings are managed on a market basis by the City’s Real Estate Services Division which has a mandate to achieve a ‘reasonable financial return’ (City of Vancouver, 2005a) on the portfolio. The Property Endowment Fund contributes between 7 million and 12 million dollars annually to the City’s operating budget (B. Maitland, personal communication, May 7, 2010). The City’s 55  credit rating as determined by external rating agencies reflects the value and management of the Fund. The Board of Directors of the Property Endowment Fund comprises five voting members: the mayor, the chairs of the Standing Committees of Finance, and Environment and Planning (Council members), the City Manager, and the City’s Director of Finance (B. Maitland, personal communication, May 7, 2010). When the City Council decided to pursue development of the City’s Southeast False Creek lands, the Manager of the City’s Real Estate Services Division led the process on behalf of the Property Endowment Fund. In terms of the planning process, the City was both the land owner- developer and the planning regulator.  3.1.1 False Creek The history of False Creek is tied to the history of the city of Vancouver. Like all of the land in modern day Vancouver, the False Creek area was traditionally used by Coast Salish peoples: the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil- waututh. Evidence of their occupation of the lands surrounding False Creek dates back 3000 years (Roger Bayley Inc., 2009:1). Europeans who arrived in British Columbia in the late 1800s pursued logging and fishing throughout the province. Vancouver was formally incorporated in 1886 and came to serve as a processing and distribution centre for those industries (Gutstein, 1975). False Creek saw a succession of industrial uses, beginning in 1900 with saw and shingle mills. Later ship building and metal works including Western Bridge Steel Fabricating, lumber companies including Sauder Lumber and Ruskin Cedar products, as well as the Vancouver Salt Company were located on the waterfront (Roger Bayley Inc., 2009:1). In the 1950s the City’s major Works Yard was established there. Industrial activity on False Creek began to decline in the 1960s and in the early 1970s much of False Creek was rezoned to accommodate future housing and parks. The first residential community was South False Creek, developed in the 1970s and 80s, followed by False Creek North in the 1980s and 90s. The development and planning for each of these False Creek communities reflected changing political (local and extra-local) and planning contexts from the 1970s through to the 1990s (Ley, 1987; 1996; Punter, 2003; Hutton 2004).  56  Vancouver’s downtown and False Creek planning and development have been the subject of academic and mainstream literature. They have garnered both accolades and criticisms for various project outcomes.  In the next paragraphs I provide a brief history of development  and planning in Vancouver. I then discuss in greater detail the Vancouver experience of developing the False Creek South and North False Creek communities. That experience laid the planning and urban design groundwork from which successive downtown and near downtown projects, including Southeast False Creek, proceeded.  3.1.2 Planning and Development History of Vancouver The history of Vancouver planning and development is recounted extensively by Donald Gutstein (1975; 1983). He traces the political and economic development of the city from its origins as the logging town, Granville, to its evolution as the province’s resource processing and distribution centre. Gutstein’s is the story of a town that was from the outset governed by and developed in the interests of private business.  The town’s first mayor, elected in 1886,  was land speculator Malcolm Maclean (Gutstein 1975:189). The first economic interests were the Canadian Pacific Railway which had its western terminal in Vancouver, saw mills and land speculators (Gutstein, 1983: 191). The rail terminal made Vancouver a major rail and ocean shipping site on the west coast of Canada. The Canadian Pacific Railway heavily influenced the early form of residential and commercial development. It set out plans for roads, the rail station, the company head office and wharf, and neighbourhoods for CPR elite (Gutstein, 1983:192). A group of businessmen from Victoria challenged the initial hegemony of the CPR, buying up large amounts of land east of the town-site and selling small lots and houses to the labourers from the mills and wharves. Thus a development pattern dividing the city between the elite west and the working class east was established (Gutstein, 1983: 192-3). In municipal politics, the Non Partisan Association (NPA) was formed in 1937 with the stated intention of keeping party politics out of municipal governance (Gutstein, 1975: 139). Members of the party came from the city’s business, financial and real estate communities (Ley, 1980:239). The NPA dominated Vancouver government for three decades from 1937 57  until 1972. During its reign the NPA left the day to day work of managing the city to civic bureaucrats, while the mayor and councillors supported growth initiatives. According to Gutstein, they held the view that what was “good for developers was good for the city of Vancouver” (Gutstein, 1975: 152). David Ley describes the early history of Vancouver’s urban development as having “followed the categories of purposive, rational action, of the engineering mind” (1980:246). He states that the business dominated councils from 1937 to 1968 applied scientific management to city governance.  He ascribes to them a tradition of corporate rather than representative  governance that privileged engineering and economic efficiency over aesthetic and public concerns. He describes the influence of the business elite, arguing that “planning achieved little more than the coordination of the desires and development policies of private interests” (1980: 247) until the late 1960s and the emergence of two new civic parties, The Electors Action Movement (TEAM) and the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). Hutton (1998) asserts that Vancouver followed a fairly typical Canadian urban development trajectory: a close connection to resource hinterlands that influenced urban growth through demands for transportation, processing and administration of resource industries. Hutton’s (2004) description of Vancouver during its industrial phase (1900 to 1960s) identifies it as a classic regional centre displaying some characteristics of the industrial city. Its central area included a combination of commercial, industrial and residential uses, but Vancouver did not have traditional large scale Fordist industries - manufacturing jobs consisted of staples processing and production for local consumption. By the 1950s the city’s service economy was the leader in labour force growth. Hutton argues that in the 1970s, following the election of the TEAM mayor and council, Vancouver moved into an era of post industrial planning and development. From pro-growth to livability Under the Non Partisan Association (NPA) city governance and planning lacked public scrutiny and participation (Gutstein, 1983:207; Punter, 2003:18). In the 1960s, however, residents began to express their displeasure with urban growth and urban renewal schemes. 58  Of particular concern were plans for a freeway system that would send eight lanes of traffic through Chinatown and then through downtown to a third crossing of Burrard Inlet. The plans would have displaced six hundred Chinatown residences and businesses (Gutstein, 1975:154-155). Citizens organized in protest. In 1968 both the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) and The Electors Action Movement (TEAM) were formed to challenge the NPA. COPE represented the interests of a range of organizations including rate payer groups, trade unions, students groups and tenants’ rights organizations. TEAM candidates for office, although still connected to business and real estate interests, included university professors, middle managers and white collar professionals (Thomas, 1995: 121).  It billed itself as a  reform party dedicated to controlled growth and to public participation in civic decisionmaking (Vogel, 2003: 57-59).  COPE found little success at the polls, but TEAM took  control of city council and mayoralty in 1972 winning eight council seats and majorities on both the School and Park Boards (Vogel, 2003: 57). The Electors Action Movement: visions of a post-industrial city The TEAM era (1972-1978) is recognized in the history of the city as turning point, a time of reform in governance and planning processes (Ley, 1980; Hutton, 2004; Punter, 2003:17; reflecting the broader public ethos of the day (Ley, 1980). TEAM stopped the freeway plans, organized neighbourhood councils, and reorganized the city bureaucracy so that council and the public would have greater input into land use planning and decision-making (Punter, 2003: 26-33). During this era a progressive, human centred urban planning system evolved; it would resonate throughout subsequent downtown major projects (Punter 2003:380-81; Sandercock, 2005). Two chapters in Punter’s (2003) book The Vancouver Achievement are devoted to detailing the changes to planning processes and practices, and to highlighting the roles of individual actors, such as Alderman Walter Hardwick and Director of Planning Ray Spaxman, in promoting and implementing change. Punter argues that the planning and urban design policies put in place between 1972 and 1975 have been adhered to by successive city councils and have contributed significantly to the broad success of the city’s urban design (Punter, 2003:136).  This perspective is shared by Sandercock (2005) who highlights two specific 59  changes to city planning: the establishment of a Development Permit Board chaired by the Director of Planning which increased transparency in decision-making; and the creation of the Urban Design Advisory Panel 14 which Sandercock argues has “created a forum for social learning for urban professionals” (2005:45). David Ley (1996) has theorized the rise of TEAM as the political expression of a new middle class of professionals who had post-industrial, postmodern ideas about urban living: the interests of people over capital; more open, participatory forms of government; expanded public space; the idea of multiple publics. He argues that this group of people and their social and political views played a key role in the development trajectory of the city. He also notes that the Vancouver experience reflected a period of national social liberalism: the Trudeau era in Ottawa and urban reform movements occurring in Toronto and Montreal.  But unlike  Toronto and Montreal, the Vancouver reforms are viewed as having permanently established an open, participatory form of urban planning and governance (Punter, 2003: 382; Sandercock, 2005; Hutton, 2004; Brunet-Jailly, 2008). False Creek South The South False Creek community, planned and developed in the early 1970s has been described as an exemplar of the progressive, postmodern liberal reform ideology that defined the TEAM years in municipal office (Ley, 1996; Punter, 2003:34).  The False Creek  waterfront at that time ran for approximately eight kilometres along the perimeter of the city’s downtown (Hutton, 2004). Many of the waterfront industries were obsolete, and unpopular with residents owing to pollution and blight (Hutton, 2004). The City had purchased much of the land from the province of British Columbia in 1968, and assembled the rest through land swaps with the province (Ley, 1987). TEAM Alderman and Geography Professor, Walter Hardwick, is credited by many for encouraging a new vision for False Creek from industrial to livable residential (Punter, 2003: 34; A. McAfee, personal communication, September 22, 2010; G. Price, personal communication, September 10, 2010). In 1965, Hardwick and a colleague from the University of British Columbia, Wolfgang Gerson, had initiated a student 14  The Urban Design Advisory Panel is comprised of local architects and urban designers to advise the Director of Planning. Panel members are selected by their peers.  60  project on False Creek which determined how it could be transformed from an underutilized industrial site into a mixed use residential community Punter, 2003:37). The proposal to create a mixed use community on the False Creek waterfront became part of the TEAM campaign platform for the 1972 election (Ley, 1987). Post-election, once TEAM had a majority on Council, planning work ensued. In 1974 official development plan guidelines had been adopted for the site (Punter, 2003: 34). The guidelines required a component of family oriented housing, and aimed for a social mix that reflected the economic and social composition of the city at large, a goal which Ley (1987) asserts was achieved by the time of the 1981 Census at least in terms of reported income. The City determined to recover only the financial costs of obtaining and servicing the land. Land was leased to owners rather than sold (Ley, 1987). Ley (1987) argues that the City realized decreased property tax revenues through this action which reflected their priority to gain use value over exchange value on the land. The project outcome was a neighbourhood of mixed-income, medium density, medium-rise housing that featured public amenities such as parks, a sea wall walk and a community centre. One third of the housing was reserved for low income occupants and a mix of housing tenures included co-ops and subsidized rental housing and market condominiums. The development encouraged a mix of families, couples and singles.  It also included 275,000 square feet of  commercial space. False Creek South received (and continues to receive) acclaim for the quality of its built environment and its social mix. An important factor in the development of mixed tenure housing was the availability of provincial and federal funding in support of affordable housing in the 1970s (Ley, 1987; City of Vancouver, 2004; A. McAfee, personal communication, September 22, 2010). Such funding was not available to local government during the development of either False Creek North in the 1980s or Southeast False Creek in the late 1990s. South False Creek Statistics:   Area: 30 hectares    Population: 4900 (in 2006)    Housing Units: 2811 61    Units per hectare: 93.7    Parks and Open Space: 10.5 hectares  (Roger Bayley Inc., 1: 12, 2009) Hutton (2004) concurs that the 1970s were a progressive phase in the city’s development. However, he also argues that TEAM era post-industrial urban policies, including the redevelopment of South False Creek, contributed to social and economic dislocation, gentrification and loss of traditional working-class neighbourhoods in East Vancouver and the city’s core. The dislocations from gentrification are carefully detailed in Ley’s (1996) The new middle class and the remaking of the central city. Ley (1996) argues that during the 1970s Vancouver renters suffered a serious loss of housing options because rental properties, often in good shape, were converted to condominiums marketed to the emerging middle class of service sector professionals. He claims that development of South False Creek was partly responsible for the gentrification of nearby Fairview Slopes.  The loss of affordable housing and  displacement of poor and working class residents of the downtown and surrounding neighbourhoods is viewed perhaps not as a failure but a negative and persistent consequence of City policies and visions established during the 1970s. Hutton (2004) is less sanguine than some scholars about the loss of industrial employment in the city. He points out that concerns about gentrification and the disappearance of industrial land and jobs entered public and policy debate in the mid-1970s. He also identifies a 1977 City planning report calling for industrial preservation in the city as a repudiation of TEAM’s post-industrial goals. The fate of the city’s industrial lands, employment and working class residential neighbourhoods received increased attention under the mayoralty of Michael Harcourt who was elected in 1980 with strong support from unionized labour and the city’s working class East side. The City initiated a growth management process (the CorePlan), in part to investigate industrial options for the city, but the economic recession of the early 1980s convinced City officials and planners to encourage the city’s economically viable services sector over struggling traditional industries. With the de-industrialization of a second False Creek industrial precinct in the 1980s, first for the 1986 World Exposition and subsequently for the False Creek North neighbourhood, the post-industrial trajectory of the city was set. 62 False Creek North The South False Creek form of medium density, low-medium height, and of mixed-income residents has not been recreated in subsequent Vancouver major development projects. The political economics of the neoliberal era that ensued in the early 1980s (locally, provincially and federally) mediated against re-creation of the one third affordable housing mix demonstrated in False Creek South. Privately developed projects such as Coal Harbour, City Gate and False Creek North, operated on market principles where exchange value dominated; increased densities and building heights were pursued in those projects. Despite increased densities, building heights, and smaller allocations for non-market housing (20%) Vancouver’s downtown projects have received many favourable reviews from academics and from mainstream media commentators. The projects are commended for the quality of urban and public realm design; quantity and quality of public amenities including allocation and integration of affordable housing units, and their contribution to the revitalization of Vancouver’s downtown (Punter, 2003; Boddy, 2005; Sandercock, 2005). They have been cast by some as evidence of an on-going civic commitment to livability and the public interest by successive centrist and forward looking local councils; of responsive, participatory processes of planning and urban design; of committed, innovative city planners and Directors of Planning; and of informed, active citizens (Punter , 2003; Hutton, 2004; Sandercock, 2005). Vancouver’s downtown major development projects are credited with achieving the goal of making downtown attractive for residents, including families. They are also viewed as a contributing factor in Vancouver’s repeated ranking as one of the most livable cities in the world. Design elements have been emulated in various cities, including Dubai and San Diego (Boddy, 2006). Vancouver’s downtown megaproject planning has also been challenged by scholars who argue that among other things, the city has become a resort community for the wealthy; aesthetically pleasing but over-designed; and characterized by decreasing affordability of housing (Hasson and Ley, 1994; Ley, 1996; Blomley, 2004; Hutton, 2004). In February 2012, a survey conducted by The Economist ranked Vancouver as North America’s most expensive city in which to live (relative to incomes) (Meiszner, 2012).  63  The second False Creek waterfront to be developed was False Creek North (see Figure 3.1). The land was originally owned by Marathon, the real estate division of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the late 1960s Marathon had plans to develop the land, initially as a set of high rise towers along the waterfront, but after several years of negotiations with the City, as a set of four distinct neighbourhoods. By 1974 Marathon had achieved rezoning for its first parcels (Punter, 2003: 187).  The City’s demand that 1/3 of residential units be allocated to low income  residents kept the project on hold until the Province decided to purchase the land as a site for the 1986 World Exposition (Punter, 2003: 187). The Social Credit provincial government initiated the drive for the World Exposition in Vancouver, a decision originally opposed by the city (Hutton, 2004: 1961). Vancouver’s economy was in a slump and the Social Credit Party was looking to win over urban voters (Hutton, 2004; Punter, 2003: 187). Local boosters and growth enthusiasts saw opportunity in the Exposition. It was agreed that the industrial North False Creek lands being assembled for the event would not be returned to industrial use once the Exposition was over. Instead, they would become a site for future investment and development (Hutton, 2004: 1961). Following the 1986 World Exposition, the province sold the Expo lands to Hong Kong developer Li Ka Shing. Some speculate that the provincial government made the sale as a purposeful way to increase Hong Kong investment in Vancouver (Punter, 2003; 193), a scenario which came to pass in part because of Li Ka Shing (Olds, 2001), and also because of the looming 1997 British hand-over of Hong Kong to China, and Canada’s establishment of a business investor class for immigrants. It was during the years of planning that preceded and followed the Expo 86 event, that many of Vancouver’s megaproject development guidelines and protocols were established.  Local  architect Stanley Kwok, first appointed project manager for the development of BC Place Stadium (see Figure 3.1), and later hired by Hong Kong developer Li Ka Shing to lead the Concord Pacific Project (Concord Pacific was the company set up to develop the former Expo lands) was instrumental in developing a collaborative process for working with the City, and a participatory public process (Punter, 2003: 237; Kwok, personal communication, 2011). During the late 1980s the City was establishing its development cost levy system for major projects, as well as a structure for determining community amenity contributions.  Punter 64  (2003:1998-99) sets out the following set of planning and development protocols that evolved from the work on False Creek North. Megaproject Development  Developers pay all costs of city planning and regulatory work; this includes a team of staff comprised of planners, engineers, park board members, housing officers, social planners, cultural affairs to work with the developers and their consultants  Collaboration between City staff and developer team to work through design and development rather than a conventional process of developer submission and staff response.  The public amenity requirements set out for False Creek North eventually became the Major Project Public Amenity Requirements applied to all major projects in the city.  The requirements included: land for  schools, a public library, daycare facilities, and a community centre; public art; public walkways and seawall access; 20% housing core needs; 25% family housing; a park space ratio of 1.1 hectare per 1000 people. False Creek North Statistics (Roger Bayley Inc., 1: 12, 2009):  Area: 67 hectares  Population: 13000 (in 2006)  Housing Units: 9180  Units per hectare: 137  Parks and Open Space: 17 hectares Punter (2003: 191-212) has carefully chronicled the development of the urban design guidelines for the neighbourhoods developed on the north side of False Creek. From False Creek North emerged the tower-podium architecture (townhouse blocks from which rise setback slim towers) which has become associated with downtown Vancouver. Slim, pointed towers help to protect view corridors toward the city’s ocean and mountain scenery and  65  increase solar penetration into streets and townhouse courtyards 15 .  Townhouse blocks  provide street orientation and animation. The public realm has been designed with multiple pocket parks, with installations of public art, public access to the seawall, and attention to details of material quality and aesthetic (for example paver selection for public walkways). Punter argues that North False Creek is widely viewed as one of the most successful waterfront redevelopments in North America (2003:232). False Creek North with its street oriented townhouse blocks, and the tower-podium form embody what has come to be known in urban design as “Vancouverism” (Sharp and Boddy, 2008). Vancouver’s planning and development is widely viewed as progressive, innovative and people centred. Planners and municipal politicians from countries as diverse as China, Dubai and the United States have come to Vancouver to learn the secrets of its planning success (L. Beasley, personal communication, August 24, 2010). A somewhat less congratulatory view of the development of False Creek North is presented by Kris Olds who chronicles the project in Globalization and Urban Change: Capital, Culture and Pacific Rim Mega-Projects (2001).  Olds investigates the impacts of globalization and  transnationalism on local urban change. He presents an account of individual development professionals like Stanley Kwok of Concord Pacific Developments Ltd., local politicians including provincial premier Bill Vander Zalm, and family ambitions (the Li family of Hong Kong who bought and developed the North False Creek lands) to illustrate the human scale of globalization and transnationalism. Olds concurs with other academics that the North False Creek development transformed downtown Vancouver and established a collaborative (City-developer) system of planning for mega-projects. He suggests however, that the collaborative planning process works better for developers than for local residents, particularly marginalized and low income residents. Olds reports his personal disappointment at the City vote to accept the Official Development Plan for North False Creek at a public hearing in 1989. He and other activists were concerned about the negative impacts this development could have on surrounding neighbourhoods. Olds contends that while City planners and officials expressed concern about possible negative impacts at the 15  Protection of street and residential view corridors are long established values among residents, going back to neighbourhood development guidelines determined in conjunction with neighbourhood groups in the 1970s (Punter, 2003: 26). They also increase market value for developers.  66  hearing, the City did not conduct a social impact assessment of the mega-project at any stage of the long development planning process.  In contrast, Olds states, much time and effort,  including public consultation, were spent on issues of design aesthetics. Olds contends that officials in Vancouver and British Columbia knew little about the Li family before entering into negotiations for the sale and development of the North False Creek lands. He argues that if they had understood the importance of this development to Hong Kong’s “highest profile family firm” (2001:247), considerably more community benefit could have been gained throughout various stages of the development process. Another investigation of Vancouver’s development and planning is found in Hutton’s (2004) re-theorization of the 21 st century city. Hutton focuses on Vancouver’s downtown, but his analysis of urban development is broader than planning for livability. Hutton analyses the social, economic and spatial changes to Vancouver’s core in the 1990s and finds that they do not conform to the characteristics commonly identified in the modernist, post-industrial city of the mid-1960s to 1990. Based on the Vancouver experience, he proposes characteristics of the 21st century city core in five categories: development trajectory; urban structure; urban form; divisions of labour; and urban social class. The development trajectory shows that office industries no longer comprise a downtown ‘monocultural’ economy (:1977), rather they share space with a new cultural economy centred on creative, high technology industries. The cultural economy brings with it new spatial, social and technical divisions of labour. Urban structure of the core is reconfigured through increased development in the Central Business District fringe and inner city; land uses are more diverse and characterized by regeneration through, for example, residential and mixed-use mega-projects, reconstructed production sites, and new spaces for amenity and consumption.  Urban form comprises a somewhat constrained high rise Central Business  District corporate complex plus the mixed-use, residential, new industry and amenity land uses of the CBD fringe and inner city. Where division of labour in the office economy of the post-industrial period was characterized by a hierarchical occupational structure, the new technology and cultural/creative economies display dynamic labour cohorts of varied social and technical divisions. Hutton argues that dominant social class groups in the 21 st century city core are the social and labour groups associated with intellectual knowledge as defined by 67  the post-industrial thesis.  However, he identifies concurrent processes of urban social  reformation such as the creative class (as per Florida, 2002 for example), a growing immigrant entrepreneurial and professional class, and a burgeoning underclass of poor, homeless and marginalized residents. In his analysis of Vancouver’s downtown development Hutton argues that planning values and public policy implementation played an instrumental role. Reflecting on the period between the 1970s and 1990s he identifies the outcomes of specific planning policies. He notes that the City supported the 1970s-80s expansion of the downtown office complex and the high rise residential development of the West End, reconfiguring the central area in a way that met the residential and work requirements of Vancouver’s growing services class. In the late 1980s the City embarked upon a planning exercise for the downtown core which was adopted as the Central Area Plan in 1991. This plan responded to local and external forces of the late 80s including continued industrial restructuring; reduction in Vancouver’s head office function resulting from corporate mergers and acquisitions; and impacts of globalization that included increased investment and immigration from the Asia-Pacific, and increased international attention following the 1986 World Exposition.  Vancouver was also  experiencing a surge in economic growth. Key elements of the Central Area Plan were to reduce the size of the Central Business District while opening up space around the CBD in the downtown core for housing.  An effort was  underway to encourage downtown living in a vibrant core that comprised an office complex, new production spaces for emerging technology and creative industries, and mixed-use high rise residential neighbourhoods complete with quality public and consumption amenities. Hutton asserts that the Central Area Plan represented a post- modern image for the city in its plans for social, economic, industrial and spatial diversity. Without detracting from the successes of the Central Area Plan, Hutton hints at a counter storyline to the dominant story of Vancouver’s exceptional public process and celebrated efforts at socio-economic residential integration.  He asserts that the Central Area Plan  process did not engage the public widely, but held meetings with key stakeholder groups in a fairly traditional, expert-oriented fashion, looking for feedback on City proposals rather than soliciting ideas from stakeholders. Further, he argues that the Central Area Plan privileged 68  the service industry elite, entrepreneurs and creative and knowledge industry workers in terms of residential development and the employment opportunities that may have resulted from a doubling of 1991 levels of office floor space.  The city’s marginalized population and its  growing contingent workforce of retail service employees, janitors and other unskilled labourers have benefitted little from the downtown restructuring.  Hutton concludes that  although broader public interests were achieved in tandem with private development interests through the City’s collaborative and public planning process, “overall the City has endorsed majoritarian interests in the reproduction of the core, by privileging the future over the present, ascendant ‘new class’ interests over those of declining occupations and social groups, and imperatives of development over preservation” (2004:1975). Such are the substantive details and theoretical interpretations of the planning, politics and development of Vancouver’s downtown and False Creek neighbourhoods prior to planning for Southeast False Creek.  The history of Vancouver’s downtown major development  projects is a history of building up public and private knowledge from one major project to the next while accommodating and reflecting changing local and extra-local political economic contexts. Southeast False Creek must be investigated in its Vancouver context as one in this series of downtown major projects. Former City Planners and a former City Council member concur with the planning and development history described by academic researchers and theorists. For the most part, these interviewees identify the same individuals and local contexts as central to the city’s planning achievements from the 1970s until the early 2000s. They clearly identify a history of on-going learning, leading up to and informing the planning for Southeast False Creek. A sample of their views is presented below. Former City Council Member, Gordon Price reflects on the history of Vancouver’s False Creek and downtown development from the 1970s to the 2000s. If I went back to the beginning I would really give credit to the father of residential False Creek, Walter Hardwick. He has to be acknowledged as the historic figure who had the vision and the skills to see the possibility of taking what was then really an industrial sewer and heavy industrial operations and imagining it as a place where people would live; that was a pretty radical idea. 69  Particularly the idea of having people raise families with children; a mixed use community; incorporating many of the ideas that are now evident on the South shore of False Creek. He helped to establish the policy principles that resonate throughout the basin. I like to note these days that you can look at a half century of urban experimentation going from the West End in the 50s and 60s, the South shore of False Creek in the 70s, the North shore in the 80s and 90s, the Olympic Village in the 2000s. That's an amazing sweep of urban development, internationally but particularly in the context of North America. You can follow the ideas that percolated back in the 70s, the principles that were established; and then see how they were articulated for the Olympic Village as a residential and high density, mixed use community. (G. Price, personal communication, September 10, 2010)  Former Co-Director of Planning, Ann McAfee describes how planning guidelines developed for South and North False Creek eventually informed the planning for Southeast False Creek. She also recalls the introduction of development cost levies for major projects. Basically in the late 1960s City Council made a decision that they were going to add more housing close to downtown jobs to minimize commuting into downtown. And the way to do it was seen to be transforming all of the False Creek area eventually into housing.  In 1973 there was a huge debate going on as to how much of False Creek should be park and how much should be housing, particularly affordable housing. And in 1970 a lot of North American discussions were around helping people in need and providing more public amenities, more public space. So, in 1973, the City set up two citizens' advisory panels on False Creek; one was on affordable housing, and I was part of that committee and the other one was on parks. And in late ‘73 early ‘74 the decision was made that it would be primarily housing and would have a mix of incomes - primarily housing rather than a lot of jobs because you already had jobs in the inner city area. The income mix tried to replicate the 70  broader city mix of incomes rather than an elite high income area. Those decisions were all made in the early 1970s and they formed the guidelines. Among the decisions that were important at that time were the decisions from the parks advisory panel that the waterfront remain open to everybody. Now this is quite different from what happened in Toronto for example where developers were allowed to build right out to the water along Lake Ontario...Some of the guidelines that were part of Southeast False Creek you actually have to go back to the initial False Creek guidelines, the mix of incomes, the public open space, the public access to water; affordable housing. All of those decisions long pre-dated any discussions about Southeast False Creek specifically.  ...It was in 1978  Council came up with the guidelines for housing families with children at higher densities. It was during the 70s early 80s when Council approved a variety of development cost charges based on area so that new development paid for quite a wide range of services not just sewer and water which had traditionally been what the developer pays for.  The developer also had to pay for park space and  community centres, school space and other uses that weren't typically part of a developer's requirements before they could get approval to build. (A. McAfee, personal communication, September 22, 2010)  The Senior Urban Designer for City of Vancouver reflects on the local conditions that contribute to perceived on-going success and innovation in urban place-making in Vancouver.  There's just this sort of perfect storm that's been occurring here [Vancouver] for several decades and it's a cycle of a governance model in our case via our Charter16, that sets up our autonomy that allows us to essentially, with political support and a high level of administrative support, use what is a very discretionary, historically discretionary, regulatory framework laden with incentives for floor area and height towards view and value in exchange for best 16  The Vancouver Charter was granted in 1953 by the British Columbia provincial government. It gives Vancouver greater autonomy for local decision-making than available to most municipalities which are governed by the province’s Municipalities Act.  71  practices. So best practices is an evolving moving target sort of thing and that's great because in being a little bit more nimble we continue to shape and refine and hone and discover what we mean by best practices...If you think about that idea of Charter, governance, regulatory framework, discretion, informed by best practices you can see how we're an interesting place to work. You've got a high quality industry of design professionals and developers who get it and are committed to it. Given that constituencies and owners want green buildings for example, want good urbanism, you get on-the- ground achievements that we can look at to inform future innovation. Creative people continue to want to move here; they continue to pepper our creative capacities and that just has a compounding effect as we continue to learn.  A former Assistant Director of Central Area Planning asserts that Vancouver, at the time of planning for Southeast False Creek, had gained sophistication in its approach to development through experiences with prior downtown developments. The key fact about Southeast False Creek is that it is City owned land and the City hadn't really done any planning for a major piece of City owned land since probably the South shore of False Creek. However in the 80s and 90s there had been a lot of major planning processes for large brownfield sites like Coal Harbour and the North Shore of False Creek.  In many ways the internal  processes for doing that kind of large planning and the kinds of standards in terms of roads and buildings, how to deal with urban design, park space provisions all the other kinds of community amenities, a lot of those had been worked out in the context of those other major projects so when the planning for Southeast False Creek started the City was in many ways more sophisticated than it had been in the seventies. (T. French, Personal communication, December 15, 2010)  72  3.2 Summary and Discussion This chapter has presented contextual information on the Southeast False Creek case. I have established the physical characteristics and location of the development site on the False Creek waterfront near to Vancouver’s downtown core.  I have described the history of  Vancouver land use planning and argued that Southeast False Creek must be understood as one in the succession of major downtown Vancouver and False Creek development projects. Planning policies, priorities, and processes established through the 1970s, 80s and early 90s were the foundation for planning in Southeast False Creek. A central contextual detail is that the majority of the Southeast False Creek site was owned by the City at the time planning began in the mid-1990s.  This meant the City was both  development applicant and planning regulator. The same situation had existed in False Creek South, which was developed in the 1970s and 80s. That project set a high bar for mix of housing affordability and tenures; family-oriented density; green space allocation; and public access to the waterfront sea walk. The City had achieved these outcomes in part through federal and provincial funding but also by foregoing standard expectations for developer profit. Political and economic conditions had changed by the time planning for Southeast False Creek got underway. Reduced levels of senior government funding for housing and a more conservative, market-driven ethos in local government, as well as the financial mandate of the Property Endowment Fund, meant that planning for Southeast False Creek would be approached from a more market-oriented perspective than its predecessor. Key themes from my review of the literature on Vancouver’s planning and development history underpin my contention that the case of planning for Southeast False Creek is an important one.  The Vancouver planning system (since the 1970s) has been widely  acknowledged by planning practitioners and in academic literature as progressive, participatory, and successful in creating ‘livable’ outcomes (quality and quantity of public amenities; quality of public realm and urban design; provision for family-oriented and affordable housing 17 ). Elements of Vancouver’s downtown and waterfront developments 17  Vancouver major projects are required to set aside 20% of developable residential units for affordable housing. They are not required to fund the building and operation of the housing; that responsibility lies with the provincial government. Housing affordability in Vancouver is an on-going problem for the city, due to a combination of local and extra-local factors. The internationalisation of the real estate market post Exposition  73  have been emulated in international locations. Vancouver’s effort to develop a sustainable community on the False Creek waterfront is likely to be observed by policy-makers and planners in other cities. It may also serve as a model. Vancouver is increasingly an international city with dynamic post-industrial, post-modern socio-economic characteristics. From a transformative perspective of sustainability, planning a model sustainable community would mean confronting the ecological impacts inherent in being a globalized, transnational, consumption-oriented city. The review of literature on planning and development in Vancouver highlights the roles of individual actors in Vancouver’s planning history.  Planners and local politicians are  identified as having influenced planning and development priorities and processes in the City bureaucracy, and in the city at large. In my examination of planning for Southeast False Creek, I find that individual actors continue to exert significant influence on sustainability policy development and implementation. Their roles and influence are chronicled throughout Chapters 4, 5 and 6. The literature on Vancouver’s planning and development lacks attention to ecological concerns. The natural environment is generally described as something of an amenity to which residents and politicians are committed: views of the ocean and mountains; clean air; green space; sea wall access; urban tree preservation (Punter, 2003: 380; Kear, 2007). This lack of attention reflects a divide for academics and practitioners between traditionally urban concerns, and global and local ecological concerns. Vancouver has achieved accolades for its livability. My research unites the urban and ecological agendas to investigate how well Vancouver has succeeded in its efforts to create a model of sustainability. In Chapter 4 I present an analysis of the sustainability approaches reflected in the official Southeast False Creek Policy Statement. Through a chronological narrative of the planning process, I examine how central City of Vancouver actors developed their personal approaches to sustainability, and how they, among other actors, influenced the planning process and content of the Policy Statement.  86 contributed significantly. In the early 2010s Vancouver’s transnational population continues to influence an upward trend in housing prices (Hutton, personal communication, 2012).  74  CHAPTER 4 Creating an Official Policy Statement for Southeast False Creek  Southeast False Creek came up in Clouds of Change and then it just sat as False Creek North developed. Eventually technology started to change, and everything else on False Creek had been developed; we would not be competing with the private market. Ok, time to get Southeast False Creek going.  That started  Southeast False Creek on its up and down course from theory to practice. (Former Co-Director of Planning, City of Vancouver)  An environmentally-oriented future for Southeast False Creek was first posited in a City of Vancouver Task Force report on municipal responses to atmospheric change (City of Vancouver, 1990).  Among a series of suggested strategies, strategies now commonly  prescribed for urban reform toward sustainability, the report authors proposed Southeast False Creek as a site for experimentation with energy efficient land use planning.  It was  recommended that an international design competition be held to develop and model best practices (City of Vancouver, 1990: 46-47). The Clouds of Change report comprised thirtyfive recommendations for actions to reduce the urban contribution to atmospheric change, and to increase local resilience and adaptability to effects of that change. By including it in the report, the Task Force authors identified land use planning for Southeast False Creek as an opportunity to respond to growing challenges of global ecological change. The report was adopted by Council, committing the City, in principle, to pursuing its recommendations (City of Vancouver, 1995). Nine years after Clouds of Change, the official Policy Statement for development of Southeast False Creek was adopted by the Vancouver City Council (City of Vancouver, 1999). The Policy Statement culminated three years of work by City staff, consultants and public volunteers. It established the foundational principles and approaches to sustainability for Southeast False Creek. In this chapter I present two analyses: first is identification of the sustainability approaches embedded in the Policy Statement; second is how central City actors 75  developed their approaches to sustainability and influenced Southeast False Creek planning and policy development from these perspectives. I show that the Policy Statement includes examples of both transformative and status-quo/reform approaches to sustainability.  I  demonstrate that City Staff and Management had limited knowledge of urban sustainability principles when planning for Southeast False Creek began.  Individuals within the City  pursued sustainability information, and Staff, Management and Council learned from local experts, sustainability activists, consultants and advisory groups. I identify and discuss three contextual factors that influenced how various City actors came to understand and interpret the concept of sustainability for Southeast False Creek.  4.1. The Southeast False Creek Polic