Sustainable Community Planning
An Incomplete Checklist for New Settlements
Unless we are guided by a conscious vision of the kind of future we want,
We will be guided by an unconscious vision of the kind of present we already have.
A traditional settlement which will enable its residents to enjoy a strong sense of community and a high quality of life in a prosperous post-industrial economy, and to pursue ecologically sustainable lifestyles in harmony with the natural world.
__ Traditional neighbourhoods, modelled on pre-1920s town designs
__ Neighbourhood centre with village greens, shops, businesses
__ Pedestrian environment where possible & feasible
__ Conscious emphasis on creating a strong sense of place (Pattern Language)
__ Houses within 5 minute walking distance of a village centre
__ Houses close to street; front porches to encourage conversation
__ Pedestrian-friendly, narrow, slow streets, or car-free streets
__ Back lanes for car access where possible
__ Parking off to one side of the village with car-free village centre
__ Town centre for cultural, artistic and business activities.
__ Design Code lays down architectural and energy standards
Cultural, Social Infrastructure
__ Meetings with local community groups before planning commences.
__ Design Principles to guide the project.
__ Socially inclusive, residents of all ages and incomes.
__ Community thinktanks with future residents and local professionals.
__ 5% of units wheelchair accessible.
__ Tot-lots and community parks within each neighbourhood.
__ Early discussions about resident involvement, self-government
__ Biodiversity study and inventory of site, to show areas to be protected.
__ x% of the site set aside as park space, or private land under ecological covenants.
__ x% of each single family lot soft landscaped (no gravel, bark mulch, concrete)
__ x% left under native species
__ Standing snags/wildlife trees wherever possible (Landscape Code)
__ Educational package to encourage organic horticulture, integrated biological pest management
__ Tree protection bylaw for all trees over x" diameter at chest-height
__ Zero-increase in storm-water run-off; retention and infiltration design
__ No asphalt roads or roof shingles (toxic run-off)
__ Ecological site analysis for each lot; lot-specific site clearance and preparation requirements
__ Builders' Site Code to protect sites during building
__ Environmentally responsible building course for builders and site workers
__ Active and passive solar design
__ Community utility to operate demand management strategy
__ Bulk-rate purchase from local utility for resale with energy-saving incentives
__ Overall energy-demand quota for each building
__ Intelligent-house wiring to encourage peak-shaving and load transfer
__ Program run by utility for purchase of solar systems, energy-efficient appliances
__ E-Star Program to encourage use of building materials with reduced embodied energy.
__ Wind; Ground-source energy supply (water & ground)
__ Combined Heat & Power - District-heating - Cogeneration)
__ Tertiary biological sewage treatment
__ Community composting plant
__ Pre-entry source control program for liquid waste stream
__ Community utility; water rates set to encourage conservation
__ High water efficiency standards for all homes, toilets, appliances
__ Water recycling where feasible, and acceptable - dual plumbing
__ Ecological features (eg wetlands, forest trails)
__ Xeriscape garden design guidelines to reduce outdoor water-use
__ 3-bag user-pay recycling system (wet, dry, non-recyclable)
__ Waste reduction at source (eg non-wrapped bulk purchasing)
__ Business education and waste-stream auditing by community waste utility
__ Community resource sharing possibilities (cars, tools, equipment)
__ Building permits conditional on construction wastes recycling plan
__ Recycling and composting areas in into all buildings
__ Construction waste recycling system
__ Maximize local growing space, allotments
__ Permaculture considerations
__ Organic link-up with local growers to provide food for residents
__ 'Future economy' seminars, to determine key sectors
__ Development & construction.
__ Housing components : furniture, cabinets, doors, windows, crafts.
__ Environmental technologies park
__ Telecommuting, satellite offices & computer services
__ Community services, Retail. Includes many home-based businesses
__ Artists, sculptors, coop facilities, galleries.
__ Human resource development & consultancy
__ Community business network; business development coordinator
__ Social/environmental responsibility Business Code
__ Training & business development circles
__ Co-business initiatives (eg woodworking, software)
__ Eco-sustainability advice for businesses
__ Annual environmental audit & 'Green Seal' for approved businesses
__ x% reduction in external trips through urban design (local schools, shops, businesses).
__ Neighbourhood & streets designed to encourage transit
__ Cycling & pedestrian design
__ Community minibuses, electric golfcarts
__ Community carpool
__ Telecommuting strategy
__ Car-sharing co-operative
__ Transportation administrator coordinates carpool, transit, worksharing, telecommuting.
__ Innovative approaches to affordability.
__ Affordable housing resource book with 'how to' plans (eg) :
__ Growhomes (start small, grow later) __ Self-build and self-build cooperatives
__ Coop, cohousing __ Clustered housing, car-free space
__ Secondary & granny suites for rent __ Charlie-houses' (easy-to-convert)
__ Introductory welcome for new residents
__ Parent participation in school concepts and design
__ Local elementary schools; high school
__ Smart schools (on-line links to global networks and databases)
__ Tree-covered play areas for environmental education and UV protection
__ Student participation in community organizations, businesses, non-profits
__ Distance & satellite college learning through world electronic community
__ Courses, workshops, trainings in environmental/sustainability issues
Building Materials & Design
__ Exploration of possibilities for innovative designs
__ Building design review & approval process to maintain standards
__ Building guidelines for aesthetic, siting and environmental issues
__ E-Star environmental building rating for low impact/healthy housing (cf Austin, Texas)
__ Individual lot-plan provided with ecological and house-siting information
__ No urea-formaldyhydes, HCFCs, petroleum-based paints and floor finishes, vinyl siding
__ Environmental accreditation program for builders with local college
__ Resource book about building choices, embodied energy, resource conservation and human health
prepared for distribution to residents, designers and builders.
__ Local building supply store with environmentally sound alternatives.
__ Fibre optic telecommunications grid providing greatly increased bandwidth
__ Joint venture with local telecoms company
__ Telecommuting, teleconferencing, satellite offices, home-based revolution
__ Electronic town hall meetings (cable TV link-up)
__ Telegovernment links to region, state, nation, NGOs, UN agencies
__ Community cable TV; FreeNet
__ Global conferencing facilities
__ Arts Forum for planning with local arts community
__ Register of Artists to facilitate inclusion in contracts
__ Inclusion of sculptors and artists in the architectural design process.
__ Small, multi-purpose, open-air performance spaces
__ Inclusion of artists in design of walls, trails, etc
__ Town centre coop space for working artists
__ Low-cost live/work space for artists
Long-Term & Regional Sustainability
__ Community goals (eg CO2 reduction)
__ Sustainability indicators; annual assessment and review
__ Sustainability zoning conditions
__ Use of Registered building schemes
__ Use of Development permit zones
__ Density bonusing agreements
__ Specifically crafted by-laws
__ Use of covenants
Sustainable Communities Consultancy
395 Conway Rd, Victoria V8X 3X1, Canada
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304 firstname.lastname@example.org