Local responses to regional mandates: assessing municipal GHG emissions reduction targets in British Columbia

Full Title: 
Local responses to regional mandates: assessing municipal GHG emissions reduction targets in British Columbia
(Other) Authors: 
Daniella Fergusson
Mark Stevens
Publication Date: 
2013
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Role: 
Author
Pages: 
28-41
Summary: 
Local governments around the world face external and internal pressures to adopt climate change mitigation strategies. Provincial legislation in British Columbia, Canada, has recently mandated that all municipalities in the province adopt targets for reducing GHG emissions. Lack of specificity in the legislation gives rise to the possibility that even if compliance with the legislation is universal it could nonetheless result in minimal reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This paper examines the response of 20 municipalities in British Columbia’s most populous regions to the legislation. We hypothesized that non-compliance would be rampant and that cities with high populations, higher residential densities, lower growth rate and prior climate change planning work would set more ambitious targets. Findings indicate that municipal targets vary widely in terms of intensity, target year and type of reduction and have little or no relationship to population, residential density nor growth rate. We found 90% compliance and some correlation between prior planning activities related to climate change and target intensity. Findings also indicate that despite the wide range of emissions targets by each municipality, provincial per capita targets would be met if each municipality manages to achieve the targets they have set by the year 2050.
Reference: 
Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, Winter 2013 | Volume 9 | Issue 1

Social Mobilization of Climate Change: A Case Study of University Students Conserving Energy through Multiple Pathways for Peer Engagement

(Other) Authors: 
Maged Senbel
Erik Blair
Publication Date: 
2014
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Role: 
Co-Author
Summary: 
This research examines the leveraging of information, digital, and social media to increase peer interaction and participation in an energy conservation campaign. We analyzed a competition between 6,500 students living in 20 residences across six university campuses in British Columbia to reduce energy consumption from a baseline level. Using a mixed methods approach, we sought to determine the overall effectiveness of the competition in reducing short and medium-term energy reduction and sought to uncover the motives for participation. We found that students tended to join the competition because multiple pathways of participation were available to them. Participants were motivated by the actions and stories of their friends and did not pay attention to the actions or competition scores of strangers. Our findings suggest that employing entertainment engagement that enables multiple pathways for participation with mechanisms for knowing the behavior of peers may be effective in shifting long-term energy consumption.
Reference: 
Senbel, M., Ngo, V. D., and Blair, E. (2014). Social mobilization of climate change: University students conserving energy through multiple pathways for peer engagement. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 38, 84–93. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.01.001

Social mobilization of climate change

Full Title: 
Social mobilization of climate change: University students conserving energy through multiple pathways for peer engagement
(Other) Authors: 
Ngo, Victor
Blair, Erik
Publication Date: 
2014
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Summary: 
This research examines the leveraging of information, digital, and social media to increase peer interaction and participation in an energy conservation campaign. We analyzed a competition between 6,500 students living in 20 residences across six university campuses in British Columbia to reduce energy consumption from a baseline level. Using a mixed methods approach, we sought to determine the overall effectiveness of the competition in reducing short and medium-term energy reduction and sought to uncover the motives for participation. We found that students tended to join the competition because multiple pathways of participation were available to them. Participants were motivated by the actions and stories of their friends and did not pay attention to the actions or competition scores of strangers. Our findings suggest that employing entertainment engagement that enables multiple pathways for participation with mechanisms for knowing the behavior of peers may be effective in shifting long-term energy consumption.
Reference: 
Senbel, M., Victor Ngo, Erik Blair (Accepted January. 2014). “Social mobilization of climate change: University students conserving energy through multiple pathways for peer engagement.” Journal of Environmental Psychology. 27 pages

Can form-based code help reduce municipal GHG emissions in small towns?

Full Title: 
Can form-based code help reduce municipal GHG emissions in small towns? The case of Revelstoke, British Columbia
(Other) Authors: 
van der Laan, Michael
Kellett, Ronald
Girling, Cynthia
Stuart, Jessica
Publication Date: 
2013
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Role: 
Author
Summary: 
Many cities in Canada and the US are deploying smart growth planning to counter urban sprawl, to increase transportation options and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However many cities neglect to assess whether the growth required for achieving increased density would lead to overall reductions in municipal emissions. Our study conducts this assessment by examining the potential impact of development that conforms to a form-based code in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Like every city in British Columbia, Revelstoke has set GHG emissions reductions targets and has specifically identified compact development as facilitated by a form-based code as a mechanism for achieving targets. Using a number of different data sources ranging from municipal to parcel scales we constructed a neighbourhood specific GHG inventory and tested twelve design scenarios in one of the Revelstoke’s identified neighbourhood centres. Our study examined how increasing density to thresholds that would enable both transportation mode shifts and the adoption of district energy systems, would affect municipal level GHG emissions. While we found opportunities for significantly reducing per capita emissions in the denser neighbourhoods, Revelstoke’s total GHG emissions would increase even under the highest density scenarios. This work has broader implications for the capacity of compact development to reduce emissions without a simultaneous decommissioning of sprawling high emitting neighbourhoods.
Reference: 
Senbel Maged, van der Laan, M., Kellett, R., Girling, C., and Stuart, J. (2013). Can form based code help reduce municipal GHG emissions in small towns? The case of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Canadian Planning and Policy annual supplement of Canadian Journal of Urban Research. 22 (1) 71-91.

Identifying Areas for Transit-Oriented Development in Vancouver Using GIS

Publication Date: 
2012
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Role: 
Author
ISBN: 
1916-0747
Pages: 
91-102
Summary: 
Transit-oriented development (TOD) is emerging as a popular and influential planning idea across North American cities as a means of sustainable urban development. Given concerns about urban sprawl and high ecological footprints, pursuing TOD has proven to be an effective way of concentrating growth on brownfield sites while generating and attracting transit ridership to shift mode share. In the city of Vancouver, the SkyTrain rapid transit system has shaped land use planning since its inception in 1985. While development that capitalizes on rapid transit has been successful in the downtown core, stations beyond the peninsula have yet to pursue TOD to its full potential. Given the projected population increase from about 578,000 in 2006 to 740,000 by 2041, identifying areas for TOD is becoming increasingly important for long-term planning. Using a Geographic Information System (GIS), a multi-criteria evaluation was conducted to assess TOD performance in Vancouver and identify stations that would benefit from intensifying and optimizing TOD. Six criteria were selected to capture the ideal social and physical dimensions: walkability, bikeability, population aged 15 to 24, household income less than $40,000, recent immigrants from 1996 to 2006, and low density housing. The MCE identifies ten stations of TOD intensification potential.
Reference: 
Ngo, V. D. (2012). Identifying areas for transit-oriented development in Vancouver using GIS. Trail Six: An Undergraduate Journal of Geography, 6, 91-102. ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/trailsix/article/view/183284

Bidding to Drive

Full Title: 
Bidding to Drive: Car License Auction Policy in Shanghai and Its Public Acceptance
(Other) Authors: 
Tracy Chen
Publication Date: 
2012
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Role: 
Co-author
Summary: 
Increased automobile ownership and use in China over the last two decades has increased energy consumption, worsened air pollution, and exacerbated congestion. However, the countrywide growth in car ownership conceals great variation among cities. For example, Shanghai and Beijing each had about 2 million motor vehicles in 2004, but by 2010, Beijing had 4.8 million motor vehicles whereas Shanghai had only 3.1 million. Among the factors contributing to this divergence is Shanghai’s vehicle control policy, which uses monthly license auctions to limit the number of new cars. The policy appears to be effective: in addition to dampening growth in car ownership, it generates annual revenues up to 5 billion CNY (800 million USD). But, despite these apparent successes, the degree to which the public accepts this policy is unknown. This study surveys 524 employees at nine Shanghai companies to investigate the policy acceptance of Shanghai’s license auction by the working population, and the factors that contribute to that acceptance: perceived policy effectiveness, affordability, equity concerns, and implementation. Respondents perceive the policy to be effective, but are moderately negative towards the policy nonetheless. However, they expect that others accept the policy more than they do. Respondents also hold consistently negative perceptions about the affordability of the license, the effects on equity, and the implementation process. Revenue usage is not seen as transparent, which is exacerbated by a perception that government vehicles enjoy advantages in obtaining a license, issues with the bidding process and technology, and difficulties in obtaining information about the auction policy. Nevertheless, respondents believe that license auctions and congestion charges are more effective and acceptable than parking charges and fuel taxes. To improve public acceptability of the policy, we make five recommendations: transparency in revenue usage; transparency in government vehicle licensing and use, categorising licenses by vehicle type, implementation and technology improvements to increase bidding convenience, and policies that restrict vehicle usage in congested locations.

Public transit: lessons from the great cities of the world

The world’s largest cities are resorting to tough love to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, according to UBC urban planning and transportation expert Jinhua Zhao.

Zhao points to Shanghai which auctions off only about 10,000 car registrations each month. To get on the road, residents in China’s largest city of 23 million people must bid on vehicle license plates. Depending on the number of bidders, each license can cost as much as 60,000 yuan ($10,000 CDN).

Local Responses to Regional Mandates: Assessing Municipal GHG Emissions

(Other) Authors: 
Maged Senbel
Daniella Fergusson
Publication Date: 
2012
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Role: 
Co-Author
Summary: 
Local governments around the world face external and internal pressures to adopt climate change mitigation strategies. Provincial legislation in British Columbia, Canada, has recently mandated that all municipalities in the province adopt targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and policies to help achieve those targets. Lack of specificity in the legislation gives rise to the possibility that even if compliance with the legislation is universal it could nonetheless result in minimal reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This paper examines the manner in which 20 municipalities in British Columbia’s most populous regions have responded to the legislation. Our analysis focuses on the extent to which municipal target setting constitutes a cohesive regional response, and the extent to which the cumulative effect of emissions reductions at the municipal level can help achieve provincial targets. Findings indicate that municipal targets vary widely in terms of intensity, target years and type of reduction and seem to have little or no relationship to prior planning activities related to climate change. Findings also indicate that despite the wide range of emissions targets by each municipality, provincial per capita targets would be met if each municipality extends what it has already promised to the year 2050.
Reference: 
Senbel, M., Fergusson, D., & Stevens, M.R. (2013). Local Responses to Regional Mandates: Assessing Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets in British Columbia. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy. 9(1), 28-41.

Paddling into the Urban Tsunami

Full Title: 
Paddling into the Urban Tsunami
Publication Date: 
2011
Publication Type: 
Other Article
Role: 
Author
Summary: 
This is an extended book review of The EcoEdge: Urgent design challenges in building sustainable cities, edited by Esther Charlesworth and Rob Adams
Reference: 
Building Research and Information

Health and Community Design: The Impact Of The Built Environment On Physical Activity

Publication Type: 
Book
Role: 
Co-Author
Summary: 
Health and Community Design is a comprehensive examination of how the built environment encourages or discourages physical activity, drawing together insights from a range of research on the relationships between urban form and public health. It provides important information about the factors that influence decisions about physical activity and modes of travel, and about how land use patterns can be changed to help overcome barriers to physical activity. Chapters examine: the historical relationship between health and urban form in the United States; why urban and suburban development should be designed to promote moderate types of physical activity; the divergent needs and requirements of different groups of people and the role of those needs in setting policy; how different settings make it easier or more difficult to incorporate walking and bicycling into everyday activities; A concluding chapter reviews the arguments presented and sketches a research agenda for the future.

Pages