green city: Vancouver
Urban Planning and Public Transit
Vancouver, Canada, has relied on green urban planning, concentrating on conservation, sustainable mass transportation and bike paths to reduce automobile traffic. By doing so, Vancouver has become the city with the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any major city in North America. The city is also retrofitting buildings and has a citywide mandate to do so. Vancouver is already one of the world's most sustainable cities, but is now trying to become the greenest city in the world. Currently, over 80% of Vancouver's energy is supplied by hydroelectricity.
Urban planning has been relied on in order to keep the city design as clean and efficient as possible, with a concept called eco-density. This refers to building vertically, as in skyscrapers, as opposed to urban sprawl. The City of Vancouver has the goal of building only energy efficient buildings, so that, along with retrofits, all buildings in the city are carbon neutral by 2030. In addition to carbon neutral buildings, the sewers, parks, water utilities, roadways, and energy supply are being worked on with the goal of becoming "the greenest city on earth".
Pedestrians are a priority in Vancouver, as walking is encouraged by citywide programs that maintain the city's natural beauty. Vancouver has land-use patterns that encourage walking and biking through creating high-density city centers and even widening sidewalks. The city features over 250 miles of bike trails. The city encourages alternative transportation modes. Public transit options include the cities' buses, streetcars, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express, all of which use the latest clean energy technologies. Vancouver requires all new single family residences to have electric car plug-ins, focusing on this technology in order to encourage zero emission vehicles.
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