Vancouver Plans To Be The Greenest City In 2020, And Here’s How They’ll Do It
BY MARK PRIBULA, ZIPCAR VANCOUVER GENERAL MANAGER
With millions of people moving from the suburbs into cities around the world, it’s hard to imagine not having a parking spot for your car. Years ago, residential and retail buildings were built with giant parking lots and garages that could accommodate everyone occupying the building. Today, with space at a premium, that landscape is changing significantly. Many of those lots are being demolished to make room for more offices, condos, and retail space. Cities have had to find ways to account for this growth and transformation, while still offering citizens the conveniences and amenities they’re accustomed to. It also means that cities have to find sustainable ways to provide these amenities. One such city accomplishing both goals is Vancouver.
The future of Vancouver’s urban landscape is green aplenty, with their plan to become the greenest city.
Vancouver is experiencing tremendous growth in the downtown area, at a rate faster than anything they have seen in decades. They have also committed to a City Council–approved policy, “Greenest City 2020 Action Plan,” which delineates ten goal areas—in areas such as carbon emissions, waste, and the city’s ecosystem—with individual targets to obtain by 2020.
Zipcar has been serving the city of Vancouver since 2007, and with sustainability built into our business model, we’ve been working closely with residential partners to help achieve these 2020 goals. One example: Any new residential or mixed-use developments can take advantage of an incentive where five required parking spaces can be replaced with a single car share space.
More car sharing reduces the need for urban spaces dedicated to residential parking—an eco win-win.
It’s a plan that’s not only responsible, but also popular; adoption has already been significant. After all, parking spaces are expensive to build, and with car sharing models able to support the needs of many people, logic follows that the more car sharing members in a building, the fewer parking spots required, and, ultimately, the more money saved. Most importantly, it’s a win for resident urbanites, who quickly discover how easy it is to live car-free or car-light when convenient car sharing vehicles are literally just an elevator ride away.
The City of Vancouver has worked hard to execute this policy, and we’re excited to play a part. We believe it’s a smart and forward-thinking approach that other cities facing similar space and environmental concerns can learn from. We can’t wait to see what thoughtful and eco-friendly urban solutions emerge next.