UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Climate conscious regional planning for fast-growing communities Ruparathna, Rajeev; Hewage, Kasun; Karunathilake, Hirushie; Dyck, Roberta; Idris, Ahmed Osman; Culver, Keith Charles, 1969-; Sadiq, Rehan


Climate-conscious development is a topic which has received widespread attention. One consequence of this is the prominence of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets set at various administrative levels (i.e. global, national, provincial and local governments). Despite the global interest, current models are incapable of integrating GHG emission reduction into the urban planning. This study presents lessons learned from a climate conscious growth study conducted for a fast-growing municipality in Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, offering a model for local government target-setting generalizable across networks of communities, leading to significant cumulative GHG reductions at global scale. The study uses the results of engineering-based research to evaluate multiple planning scenarios developed to explore options for the subject municipality’s future urban form and the associated GHG emissions for the target year 2040. Overall municipal GHG emissions for each scenario were simulated in the study considering the residential and transportation emissions projections. The findings indicated that the lowest emissions scenario was the ultra-compact growth model without area structure plan (ASP) allocations. Accordingly, it was concluded that a densified growth strategy with a higher share of multi-unit residential development is the technically best path forward in municipal growth planning to meet climate action targets. Negative public perception of increased densification in urban areas remains an obstacle to the technically best solution. Moreover, per capita basis could be a more feasible approach for GHG emissions target setting. This study’s outcomes are expected to inform public sector institutions and decision makers in setting GHG targets and climate action planning.

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