Community
How can we build our homes and communities so that they co-exist harmoniously with Nature? What does it mean to create a sustainable house, a sustainable community, a sustainable city? For each additional day that we live, design and build unsustainably, we pull another fibre out of the fabric of Earth’s ecosystems.
 

A SUSTAINABLE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
REPORT CARD

DRAFT 3 (Oct 22nd '98)

To be applied to development plans and applications for subdivision,
and used as an educational tool by
planners, developers, councillors and the public


Name : .................................................................................................................................

Location : ..................................................................................................................................

Community type (urban, suburban, rural) : ..........................................................................

Size (population, area, dwelling units) : ...............................................................................

Build-out time : .........................................................................................................................

Name of developer or development consultant :................................................................

Name of local political jurisdiction :.......................................................................................

Ten dimensions of sustainable real estate development (SRED), each of which contains a varying number of components, scoring up to 10 points, for a total of 100 :

(1) LOCATION

(2) DENSITY

(3) URBAN DESIGN

(4) NATURAL HERITAGE

(5) TOWN/VILLAGE CENTRE

(6) LOCAL ECONOMY

(7) GETTING AROUND

(8) HOUSING

(9) LIVABLE HEALTH COMMUNITIES

(10) SEWAGE, WATER, ENERGY, WASTE REDUCTION & BUILDING MATERIALS

1. LOCATION (10 points)

This is tricky to define, because every location is region-specific, and few urban containment boundaries have been established. The ideal development would be

(a) inside an urban containment boundary, or the logical line where such a boundary might be thought to exist,

(b) on an LRT or transit line, or

(c) large enough to justify being planned and built as a 'complete community', with its own local economy and services.

Questions :

• Is the location inside an urban containment boundary, or the logical line where such a boundary might exist ? 2 pts

• Is it to be a 'complete community' with its own local economy and services ? 4 pts

If the answer to both of these two questions is NO, the location is considered inappropriate according to the premises of sustainable real estate development, and the development should not be built. Deduct 50 pts

• Is it on a transit or LRT route ? 1 pt

• Is the location in accord with the current Official Community Plan ? 2 pts

• Does it minimize direct or indirect impacts on nearby agricultural operations? 1 pt

2. DENSITY (10 points)

The ideal sustainable average density is 15+ units/acre, the threshold considered necessary for efficient transit. This density also allows for more greenspace, better ecological protection and more efficient pedestrian design.

Questions :

• What is the built area density (including urban parks ?) (Units per acre) :

10 - 14 1 point

15 - 19 2 points

20 - 24 4 points

25 - 29 5 points

30 - 34 6 points

35 - 39 7 points

40 - 44 8 points

45 - 49 9 points

50+ 10 points

3. URBAN DESIGN

We are looking for designs that encourage face-to-face sociability, pedestrian access, a strong sense of place and a strong sense of nature.

Questions :

• Does it include urban design specifications ? 1 pt

• Does it have a pedestrian oriented design ? 3 pts

• Does it encourage face-to-face sociability, and create a strong sense of place ? 3 pts

• Does it preserve local buildings of perceived heritage value ? 1 pt

• Does it have landscape design guidelines that emphasize nature? 2 pts

4. NATURAL HERITAGE

We are looking for a prior ecological inventory (considered essential); for planning that protects and restores the natural habitat; for the inclusion of urban forests and greenways; for the use of native species, and organic landscaping methods.

Questions :

• Has an ecological and habitat inventory of the site been conducted ? 3 pts

• Do the plans provide ecological protection for creeks, swamps, nesting sites and groves of trees, etc ? 5 pts

• Does it propose conservation covenants or other protective measures for ecologically sensitive areas ? 1 pt

• Is there a monitoring and enforcement strategy for the covenants ? 1 pt

5. TOWN/VILLAGE CENTRE

We are looking for neighbourhood or village centres where people can gather, shop and socialize. If a development is considered too small to have a centre, and is not within walking distance of an existing centre, it should probably not be built at all, because it will oblige everyone to drive for their various needs.

Questions :

• Do the plans include neighbourhood or village centres ? 3 pts

• Are the centres sufficient for the scale of the development ? 2 pts

• Have the neighbourhood or village centres been planned with attractive urban design, landscaping and pedestrian areas, to encourage their use ? 2 pts

• Have the neighbourhood centres been designed with hidden parking ? 1 pt

• Has there been advance planning to secure the occupancy of retail outlets in the neighbourhood or village centres ? 2 pts

6. LOCAL ECONOMY

Where a development is not immediately adjacent to an existing urban centre, we are looking for plans that will create a permanent local economy, to create a living daytime community with its own economic base, and reduce the need for commuting.

Questions :

• Do the plans include a practical strategy for local economic development ? 2 pts

• Has land been zoned for commercial or industrial uses ? 3 pts

• Do the plans encourage home based businesses ? 1 pt

• Do the plans include a zoning for live-work units ? 2 pts

• Do the plan encourage eco-industrial networking (industrial ecology) 2 pts

7. GETTING AROUND

We are looking for public transit and/or LRT; narrower, interconnecting residential streets with sidewalks; traffic calmed neighbourhood centres; pedestrian trails and cut-throughs; cycle lanes on busier roads; greenways connections; car-free residential areas; hidden parking; overall trip reduction plans (transport demand management).

Questions :

• Is the development served by public transit and/or LRT ? 2 pts

• Does it have narrower, interconnecting streets with sidewalks, as opposed to the typical wider suburban streets? 1 pt

• Does it have traffic calming at pedestrian crossing & neighbourhood centres ? 1 pt

• Does it have pedestrian trails and cut-throughs, to encourage walking ?1 pt

• Does it have cycle-lanes on the busier roads ?1 pt

• Does it have local greenways connections ? 1 pt

• Does it have any car-free residential areas, where you park your car and walk ? 1 pt

• Do the plans include an overall Transport Demand Strategy, to reduce overall trips and parking requirements ? 2 pts

8. HOUSING

We are looking for a mix of types and prices, and for affordable housing.

Questions :

• Does it include a range of housing types and prices ? 2 pts

• Does it include 20% or more of its units for sale at a price which is affordable to people on lower incomes ? 3 pts

• Are secondary suites encouraged ? 1 pt

• Are granny suites, garage conversions and live-above garages encouraged ? 1 pt

• Have units been set aside for sweat equity construction by non-profit housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity ? 1 pt

• If there are no affordable units, has a DCC been paid to the local council to finance construction of affordable units elsewhere ? 1 pt

• Does it blend the affordable units in with the community as a whole ? 1 pt

9. LIVABLE, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

We are looking for local parks and green space; community allotment gardens; edible tree planting; actual plans to build the various community facilities; inclusion of the arts; (as well as the features outlined above).

Questions :

• Does it include parks, tot-lots and open green space ? 1 pt

• Does it include community allotment gardens ? 1 pt

• Does it include a community hall ? 1 pt

• Does it include space for a church, or place of worship ? 1 pt

• Does it include the necessary schools ? 1 pt

• Does it include a seniors centre ? 1 pt

• Does it include facilities for teens ? 1 pt

• Do the designs and construction include the arts ? 1 pt

• Is there a strategy in place to finance and build the community facilities ? 2 pts

10. (a) SEWAGE & WATER, (b) ENERGY, (c) WASTE REDUCTION, &

(d) BUILDING MATERIALS

We are looking for tertiary sewage treatment; treated water recycling; sewage contamination source control programs; water efficiency; natural swales (in place of storm drains); reduced impermeable surfaces; constructed wetlands; passive and active solar design; energy efficient designs; district heating & cooling systems; ground source heat extraction; residential waste recycling systems; construction wastes recycling; green building materials.

Questions (a) :

• Does it include tertiary sewage treatment ? 1 pt

• If there is a tertiary system, is the treated water to be recycled for irrigation and secondary plumbing (toilets, urinals), and/or is there to be a source control program to minimize sewage contamination ? 1 pt

• Do the plans require water efficiency ? 1 pt

• Do the plans require natural swales and/or constructed wetlands, in place of storm drains, and the maximum retention of groundwater run-off? 1 pt

Questions (b) :

• Do the plans encourage or require passive or active solar design ? 1pt

• Do the plans require a minimum level of energy efficiency ? 1 pt

• Do the plans include district heating & cooling or a ground source heat system ? 1 pt

Questions (c) :

• Do the plans require in-house designs to encourage recycling ? 1 pt

• Do the plans require the recycling of construction debris ? 1 pt

• Do the plans require/encourage the use of green/non-toxic building materials ? 1 pt