Green, Smart, Sustainable Cities Start with Green, Smart, Sustainable Streets


Tree Canada photo

Photo: Vancouver, B.C. AJG

Create a Green City plan and engage the public

Vancouver greenest-city-action-plan

Learn from the leaders

Vancouver Green rating by Siemans

Understand the benefits

Plant trees on every street in every city, town and village. Trees are the centerpiece of green cities and green streets. They filter the air, sequester carbon, stabilize soil, retain water and provide shade and habitat for all living things. They reduce summer urban heat island effects thus reducing air conditioning use, cost and emissions.

Understand the value of trees.  TD Bank estimates ” the 10 million trees that make up the City of Toronto’s urban forest are valued at over $7 billion and provide an additional $80 million of environmental benefits and cost savings each year.”  See full report below.

The Benefits of Trees (See link to Tree Canada)

Create ceremonial tree planting programs

Create ceremonial bench and park programs

Vancouver Ceremonial Park Bench

Vancouver benches

Photos: Vancouver, B.C. AJG

Partner with private sector and public sector organizations for funding, technical guidance and ideas like TD Green Streets and Tree Canada

Create ample parks small or large they are the “lungs of the city”.

Vancouver corner park bench

Photo: Vancouver Corner Park, AJG

Underground utility lines to protect urban forest, avoid tree-utility line conflict and improve electric grid reliability.

Encourage citizens to landscape and maintain property lot-fronts and public ROW planting strips with perennials, annuals or resident preference.

Vancouver planted strip

Photo: Vancouver, AJG

Encourage community gardens on vacant lots.

Encourage active transportation with bicycle lanes, bicycle stands and rent/share programs to reduce car dependency and resulting emissions

Dutch Bicycle Stands

Photo: Delft Netherlands, AJG

The concept of “Complete Streets” has become widespread.  Its principles are also integral to creating great streetscapes.

“A Complete Street is designed for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel. On Complete Streets, safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, transit users and the mobility-impaired is not an afterthought, but an integral planning feature.”

From “Complete Streets For Canada”  See attached link:

Cycle lanes are key components of “Complete Streets”.  Following Video discusses cycle lane development in Montreal and Toronto.  Published to YouTube by TCAT Toronto Center for Active Transportation

Video: Published to YouTube July 10, 2013 by TCAT Toronto Centre for Active Transportation

Encourage walking with wider sidewalks and at-grade wood sidewalk boardwalks on selected streets.

Encourage walking and resting with ample benches and other seating elements like planting boxes, raised medians, tree shade, lighting and waste receptacles around seating areas.

bloor street plaque

Photo: Bloor Street, Toronto AJG

Create wider pedestrian “bulbs” at street intersections and break up linear street curb and parking with wider, treed sidewalk/cafe spaces. Encourage Cafes and street-side seating and dining.

Build at-grade wood sidewalk-boardwalks from recycled lumber, utility poles etc. People love to walk on boardwalks as they are easier to walk on creating less pressure on back and legs. Boardwalks are also permeable for better storm water management.

Toronto Wavedeck West8 Urban Design

Photo:  Waterfront Toronto Wavedeck designed by West8

Convert all lighting to LED to reduce electrical consumption by 80%

Utilize renewable power sources for lighting with integrated solar/wind light systems

Study new emerging technology for urban sustainable energy

Wind Tree with streetscar

Photo:  Wind Tree by Jerome Michaud-Lariviere

Target 5 minutes walk-time to green spaces like parks, micro parks, waterfronts, linear walkways or conversions of alleys and utility corridors.

Chilliwack narrow water feature park

Photo: Minter Gardens, Chiliwack, BC AJG

Canada has one of the cleanest, low carbon electrical grids in the world. 


“Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity grids in the world with over three quarters of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases (GHGs).”  Environment and Climate Change Canada

Indeed, it may be the cleanest at 79% (Globe and Mail).  And getting cleaner…

Carbon free, zero emission electric transportation is beginning to transform Canadian cities and streets.

Implement public transit within streetscapes utilizing low emission or zero emission buses, streetcars and subways powered by zero emission electrical generation.

Electrify carbon based transit with wireless battery power systems or minimalist electrical overhead infrastructure designed to protect tree canopy and healthy urban forest.

Video:  Published to YouTube July 24, 2015 by

Beauty means sustainable function in the new  BMW Mini electric scooter

Video: Uploaded to YouTube Sept 24, 2010 by Raptorama

Video: Published to YouTube Oct 27, 2015, Nissan’s vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero emission EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept..

Install EV charging stations and priority parking for electric and low emission cars

Implement a national carbon tax and use funds to promote and hasten adoption of zero emission cars, trucks and transit

Video: Published to YouTube by March 2, 2012

Tesla Motors unveiled the revolutionary Model 3.  The following YouTube video link created and published by Cold Fusion TV is an excellent introduction.

Video: Published to YouTube by Cold Fusion on April 1, 2016

BRP has introduced an electric zero emission concept of its popular Spyder

Video:  Published to YouTube June 20, 2016 by BRP

Utilize Streetscaping as an incentive to encourage infill development throughout green cities and neighbourhoods.

Utilize Streetscaping principles like buried utility lines to maximize space in back lot and laneway ROW and encourage back lot laneway in-fill projects and developments.

Vancouver rear lot utility corridor

Vancouver Back lane utility corridor, AJG

Increase density and maximize wasted space in back lot ally ways by incorporating small home designs.  See link to article by Kimberley Mok at

Utilize underground vacuum systems like Stockholm’s Envac to eliminate garbage dumpsters, energy inefficient waste collection systems and optimum space utilization in back alley in-fill.

EG-D040608-12 Innergård, Sickla udde 


“The Greenest Buildings Already Exist!”

“Heritage Canada The National Trust believes that the adaptation and wise use of our existing built environment can provide powerful solutions for our environmental and energy challenges.”

Heritage Canada

Photo:  Heritage Canada

Build with wood the ultimate carbon sequestering technique!  See link to article by Lloyd Alter at


Smart City
Smart cities use information and communication technologies (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint—all supporting innovation and the low-carbon economy”. Boyd Cohen

Learn from the leaders


ICF Intelligent Communities Forum name Toronto as most intelligent community in 2014.  In particular the revitalization of the Toronto Waterfront is noted for attracting ICT industry and implementing 1Gpbs fibre based broadband access throughout development

Install Fibre Optic cables everywhere in underground conduit improving broadband access.

Install “Smart Grid” technologies in underground power line conduit like Smart Metering to encourage energy efficiency and peak use reductions and Smart Fault Detection Systems to facilitate faster repairs.

Install Smart Parking systems to reduce idling and car circling in search of parking spots and resulting waste and automotive emissions.

Utilize digital sensing for traffic management, waste management, emergency management and security.

Convert all lighting to LED to reduce electrical consumption by 80%

Create ample Wi-Fi public spaces

Restore historic buildings and districts to attract “creative class” and ICT industry investment and reduce building material waste.

Vancouver Gastown street

Gastown, Vancouver, AJG

Use digital technology to enable us to reduce wasted time, effort and energy in all elements of life.


Vancouver beautiful buildings

Photo: Vancouver, AJG

“A sustainable city is a city which has been designed with environmental concerns in mind.”

“A sustainable city, or eco-city (also “ecocity”) is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution.”

Understand the economic benefits of Sustainable Streets


Learn from the leaders.  Waterfront Toronto under the leadership of Christopher Glaisek has embarked on perhaps the world’s leading sustainable urban renewal development.  Below is the link to a lecture he and Architect Bruce Kuwabara gave at the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Smart Growth is to “Build up and within instead of out”  Uptown Saint John 2014 Plan

Create denser walkable neighbourhoods with mixed use residential, commercial and retail developments.  Target 10 minute walk time to amenities like grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops.

Vancouver Home Depot

Photo: Vancouver, AJG

Implement walkability rating systems in real estate management and marketing.

Integrate walking paths, short cuts and right-of-ways throughout street grid and/or street layout to encourage walking.

Promote in-fill development of vacant lots. If necessary, use streetscaping as an incentive to encourage developers to build on vacant lots in targeted growth areas already serviced by municipal water and sewerage.

Use permeable surfaces for sidewalks to encourage rain retention for soil filtering and tree watering

Ottawa permeable sidewalk and trees

Photo: Elgin St., Ottawa, AJG

Use grassed storm swales and drains versus concrete curb and gutter on low density/low traffic streets to reduce water run-off and improve soil water retention and filtering.

Rothesay Steel St.

Photo: Rothesay, NB AJG

Install dedicated storm sewers to avoid sewerage overflow possible in combined systems and resulting pollution and contamination.

Install Smart water meter systems to encourage water conservation

Install public drinking water stations in key public areas to reduce water bottle littering


Photo:  Toronto Waterfront 2015, AJG

Kelowna Dog water station

Photo: Kelowna B.C. AJG

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Regift, Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!

86.6 million tons: the amount of material prevented from going to landfill or incineration thanks to recycling and composting in 2012.

95 percent: the amount of energy saved by recycling an aluminum can versus creating the can from virgin aluminum. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make one can out of new material. Energy savings in one year alone are enough to light a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years.

113,204: the number, on average, of aluminum cans recycled each minute of each day.

3: the number of hours a computer can run on the energy saved from recycling just one aluminum can.

40 percent: the percentage of energy saved by recycling newsprint over producing it from virgin materials.


Implement curb side recycling program funded by extended producer responsibility programs where manufacturers must pay for recycling of their products

Use multi-bin garbage cans for recycling, compost and waste.

Use SMART waste systems that self compact and advise management when needing to be attended.

Implement underground vacuum waste systems to eliminate waste cans, collection and handling systems. This also frees up precious public ROW space for infill development including public housing options, increased density and back lane/alley way infill.

Envac Waste System


Underground utility lines to free up precious space in back lot infill projects for micro homes, cycle paths or walkways

BC rear lot utility corridor

Chilliwack narrow water feature park

Photos: British Columbia, AJG

Convert underutilized public spaces like under-bridges, highway approaches and utility corridors into tree lined allees, walkways, bikeways, public transit corridors and lower cost housing solutions and even great tourist attractions.

Granville Island Under-bridge 3

Photo: Granville Island, Vancouver, AJG

Vancouver House Underbridge Chandelier


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