The Top Sustainable Canadian Cities


The 2011 Most Sustainable Cities in Canada (Corporate Knights, Feb. 9, 2011)

Also discussed here: The Metabolic Metropolis (editorial) (Corporate Knights, Feb. 8, 2011)

And here: Expanded Results (1 page pdf, Corporate Knights, Feb. 8, 2011)

Today’s review article is important because of the characteristics and programs that the top ranking cities use to achieve sustainability as well as to reduce harmful pollution to a minimum. It also allows for a comparison of cities making allowance for size and population, so that smaller cities such as Victoria or Mississauga score higher overall than Ottawa, Calgary or Montreal. The importance of governance and empowerment (established emission targets, education, voter turnout, etc) helped to keep Toronto and Vancouver among the top cities, while Saskatoon enjoyed the cleanest air quality (in terms of particulate matter) and Montreal and Edmonton got top marks for biodiversity.

Key Quotes:

“because of their urban “metabolism,” cities require only 85 per cent of the resources necessary to double in size, and they’re more energy efficient than rural communities”

“increased worldwide migration to cities is helping curb population growth because there is no need for large families for labour”

“When villagers migrate to the city, their family size drops, on average, by at least one child per family, often below the steady population rate of 2.1 children.. Without massive rural-to-urban migration, the world’s population would be growing at a far faster pace”

“We studied 28 indicators of sustainability in five categories—ecological integrity, economic security, infrastructure and built environment, governance and empowerment, and social well-being.. Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria won top honours in our Big, Medium, and Small city categories respectively”

“Many of the strategies for reducing environmental pollution or reducing greenhouse gas emissions more broadly come down to actions that have to be taken at some city scale, whether that’s at the metropolitan, municipal, or corporate level.”

“Edmonton stands out in the biodiversity field. They joined the international Cities Biodiversity Index in 2010 and city staff is proactively monitoring hazard trees and invasive species”

“Saint John deserves applause for its Green Thermal Utility plan, a multi-building project that would make use of renewable energy sources, such as waste energy from Irving Pulp and Paper

“Vancouver stands out for its competitive commitment to sustainability, with its Greenest City Action Team initiative aiming to transform the city into the world’s greenest city by 2020”

“Victoria topped the Small City category, and matched Vancouver for highest numbers by developing its Victoria Sustainability Framework, making sustainability a guiding principle of all city business”

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