Manifesto Multilinko
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Sunday, December 03, 2006
an assortment of eco-city stuff

Some links from last weekend I am finally getting around to.

The Citizen has a whole section on the proposed Rockcliffe development.

I just hope they manage to do what they plan, rather than say, ending up with the developers building cheap cr*p like they always do.

Of course, it becomes immediately obvious that Rockcliffe needs east-west light rail along Montreal Road. (The fact that this would give me a train ride to the NRC campus as well is purely incidental...)

There was also an article about the development

Canada Lands Company, the Crown corporation in charge of the project, will unveil its community design plan for the vast area to be developed during the next 12 years.

Spread over 135 hectares (320 acres), the area will likely be the largest eco-community in Canada.

The proposal shows eight distinct neighbourhoods made up of stores, offices and 4,500 to 6,000 houses and apartments. It also identifies roads and natural areas (see map, right). Ten acres will be set aside for a national museum or a federal institution. Construction is to start in late 2008, with the first residents moving in in 2009.

But what does it actually mean to live green?

It means designing streets and buildings as though you believe global warming, climate change and oil shortages are for real.

In an urban sustainable community, buildings are close together and streets are designed so people can walk easily or cycle instead of driving everywhere.

Good public transit is essential. Buildings are designed for maximum energy efficiency. Alternative energy systems lend a hand. Recycling and composting gets serious.

Ottawa Citizen - Rockcliffe: An eco-town starts to take shape - November 26, 2006

The CLC has put up an entire website on the Rockcliffe proposal. Note that it's only that - they are going to have to fight in fact to over-ride their current proposals process, which, like all wise businesses, takes into account only price, and must by law select the cheapest proposal.

They also had a big article about Hammarby Sjostad, an eco-area in Stockholm.
The article and its sidebar are unfortunately behind a paywall.
It's interesting that they found it challenging to get people to give up their cars. People love their cars everywhere.

STOCKHOLM - Josefin Wangel shudders as she recalls the outrage that greeted plans to build fewer than usual parking spots at Hammarby Sjostad, the city's stunning new showcase of environmental urban development.

"It wasn't the effect we had hoped for," says Ms. Wangel, the information officer at the Glass House, the project's environmental demonstration and learning centre. "It wasn't the happy bicycle-riding inhabitants, but a furious population who wanted to know why there were no parking spots for them."

Hammarby Sjostad is a waterfront development built on a decontaminated industrial site in the centre of Stockholm, spread over 200 hectares -- about half the size of Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm.

Gleaming five-storey apartment buildings are designed to maximize access to sunlight and views of the surrounding lake. The neighbourhood's parks, canals, waterfront walks and handsomely paved streets help to make it one of Stockholm's most desirable areas.

The project is half finished, with about 13,000 residents, 200 companies, a school, a library and church. When completed in 2015, Hammarby Sjostad will have 9,500 apartments and 2.7 million square feet of commercial space. Altogether, 35,000 people are expected to live and work in the area.

Thousands of foreign visitors come to learn from Hammarby Sjostad. One thing they learn is that people don't really want to live differently -- even in an eco-town.

"People don't move here to live in a sustainable city area," says Ms. Wangel. "They move here because it's close to the city, it's close to nature and it's a newly built area with nice architecture. So far, we haven't managed to get inhabitants to change their behaviour to more environmental ways of life."

It's an important lesson for the developers of the former Rockcliffe air base, which will also attract residents who want to be in a beautiful natural setting close to downtown.

Ottawa Citizen - Stockholm: A neighbourhood where it's easier being green - November 26, 2006

Sidebar - Lessons from Hammarby Sjostad

1. Green Roofs
2. Solar Energy
3. Better Construction
4. Diverted Storm Water
5. Heating

Thermal power plant supplies district heating and district cooling from treated wastewater and biofuels.

6. Biogas

Biogas is produced in the on-site sewage treatment plant from the digestion of organic waste or sludge from the waste water. The waste water from a single household produces sufficient biogas for the household's gas cooker. Most of the biogas is currently used as fuel in eco-friendly cars and buses.

7. A vacuum system for garbage and recycling
8. Car alternatives

New light rail tram, buses, biogas-operated ferry, car pools, beautiful footpaths and cycle paths were built. The city also created an underground motorway to serve the area.

9. Vegetation

The Citizen also had another paywalled article today about Linköping, another Swedish city - Eco-friendly Swedes can teach Canada a lot about protecting the environment.

Beyond Linkoping, the whole of Sweden, with the high-profile help of King Carl XVI Gustaf, is working to support programs that produce energy and fuel from waste while cutting the use of fossil fuels.

And it starts here in Linkoping. Fully aware that Canadian municipalities such as Toronto and London are running out of -- or have already exhausted -- landfill space, Mr. Vlassiouk and another company representative attended the Canadian Brownfield's 2006 planned communities conference in Toronto last month along with King Gustaf, where they marketed their friendly waste-turned-energy technology.

The gate is unlocked and Mr. Vlassiouk points to a 13-storey wall outside the plant, where crests representing the 30 municipalities that send their garbage here hang. He calls the plant that transforms waste into clean energy "the most modern facility in the world."

Inside, the garbage is roasted, and the gases are cleaned as pressurized steam from the boiler is pushed into the city's heating system, warming up 90 per cent of homes in Sweden's fifth largest city. True to Swedish style--they are aiming for 100 per cent.

Fewer emissions are achieved through advanced filtering processes, and while Canadians are afraid of incinerating garbage, this Swedish company has turned trash into treasure, worth the equivalent of about $47 million Cdn in profit in 2005.

While the municipality pays the company for solving its waste problem, the energy produced at the plant is sold back to the city. Only the ash is sent to landfills.

Outside the plant, bicycles have become the hottest accessory in Linkoping. In 2002, Linkoping was named the bicycle city of the world, as 31 per cent of all trips are made by bicycle.

Cycle paths have been given high priority in city planning here, and some are even cleared of snow for winter use.

In Linkoping, population 137,000, there is an average of 413 cars per 1,000 residents, and many of the vehicles are powered by biomethane fuels. In comparison, there are about 600 vehicles per 1,000 residents in a city like Ottawa.

Even the King is concerned enough with environmental issues to address the topic in a speech at the opening of parliament last month.

"We have to fix it, we can't just leave (global warming) for the next generation to fix," said King Gustaf in an interview with the Citizen.

And what have we managed to do in Ottawa?
Well, we built a pedestrian/cycle bridge.
For $5 million.
It took 25 years.
Oh dear.

The little Rideau Canal footbridge, which generated a storm between suburban and urban councillors, is proving to be one of the city's most popular projects. In fact, the project is so cool that Glebe Councillor Clive Doucet wants to see another footbridge over the canal.

Ottawa's footbridge project was the object of ridicule in certain quarters, scorned as a waste of money when pedestrians could walk a short distance to the Laurier Bridge.


The project squeaked through city council, just holding ground against what Mr. Doucet says was "a wave of opposition" from people who think nothing of spending tens of millions of dollars on new suburban roads.


[Councillor Diane] Holmes said the bridge, first proposed about 25 years ago, creates an important new transportation corridor for the core of the city which is clogged with cars and buses.

She said cyclists especially are taking delight in using the bridge because Laurier Bridge is a tight, sometimes dangerous passage full of cars and trucks travelling at high speeds.

Ottawa Citizen - We'll cross that bridge - November 25, 2006