Cities are buzzing with ideas for change. There is a shift to building cities that are resilient to changing climates, growing populations, and ever increasing infrastructure costs. Many governments are keen to embed change into their planning and policy, but need the support of their residents to make real change a reality. At the same time, the pressure to change your lifestyle as an individual can be overwhelming. That’s where Project Green Bloc comes in.
Started as a three-year project, Project Green Bloc aimed to fill the gap between individual level and city-level change and forge a strong bloc of neighbours, willing to take action individually and collectively to mitigate climate change and unsustainable levels of consumption out of a random group of residents who just happened to live on the same city block.
Evergreen worked with residents of a fairly typical city block, on the west side of Vancouver’s Riley Park neighbourhood to achieve two ambitious goals:
- Develop a model to kick-start local action and behaviour change for residents of Vancouver neighborhoods to address their ecological footprint
- Help residents of the block work together to lighten their ecological footprint with an aim of 25% over three years
It featured four main components:
- Research to measure household and neighbourhood ecological footprints
- Carefully structured community consultation and dialogue
- Cooperative local greening and sustainability initiatives
- Activities to build community cohesion and social inclusion
At the conclusion of the project, residents had developed a street greening and traffic calming plan for their neighbourhood, built several legacy projects, including pollinator planters and a street mural, and collectively lowered their ecological footprint by 12%.
Environmentalism is not a specialty or discipline but a way of seeing our place in the biosphere. I can't think of a better way to appreciate that perspective than the kind of local initiative represented by Project Green Bloc. We live in such an interconnected world now that we must reassess our way of life in the context of the collective effects of all of humanity. Congratulations on this initiative that I hope can inspire many more across Canada.
Executive SummaryPDF, 86KB Project Green Bloc
Final ReportPDF, 2.6MB Lighter Footprint