One Earth advances urban resilience and sustainability, exploring how to achieve Lighter Footprints as communities as well as re-thinking "waste" to become part of a closed-loop economy.
Cities for People is an initiative that explores the following question: How can we enhance social, ecological, and economic wellbeing and help civic cultures thrive? It engages multiple stakeholders – citizens, community organizations, policy makers, municipalities, universities, private companies and foundations – in taking collaborative action to create more resilient and livable cities. Founding partners include the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, The Municipal Art Society of New York, Evergreen, Musagetes Foundation, Centre d’Écologie Urbaine de Montréal, and One Earth. One Earth is curating the New Economies theme.
Cities for People recognizes that a remarkable number of local projects are engaged in innovative initiatives in areas such as urban design, neighbourhood action, and policy change. It will test approaches that increase the reach and impact of such activities by:
• Connecting and supporting them with complementary activities and new institutional alliances in their respective regions;
• Supporting and scaling promising innovations through collaboration, exchanges and the sharing of knowledge across Canada and beyond;
• Fostering and brokering cross-sectoral (public, private, community) contributions to sustaining civic innovation locally, nationally and internationally.
VOICES OF NEW ECONOMIES
As part of Cities for People, One Earth and the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) joined forces to crowdsource definitions of new economies. What began as a series of blogs has been assembled into this compendium report. The compendium gives voice to innovative leaders who are finding different paths forward, and it helps us map out key ideas, patterns and perspectives in the new economies space.
The goal of this initiative is to test and model the adoption and expansion of innovations that contribute to urban resilience, understood as the capacity to adapt to new knowledge, changed circumstances and external challenges, and to livability, i.e. equitable access to the means for living a good life. Local outcomes could include overcoming social isolation among vulnerable groups; shifting production and consumption patterns towards sustainable levels; introducing new forms of financing and ownership; improving governance and more. Building resilience allows us to not ‘bounce back’ but to ‘bounce forward’ from disturbance to more sustainable, livable, just and inclusive societies.
Cross-Canada Tour (Feb 2014):
The Sharing Economy
To create the sustainable future we all want, we will have to alter how we live, work, produce and learn. It can be done. April Rinne, Chief Strategy of Collaborative Lab, illustrates how the collaborative economy (or the "sharing economy") has the potential to transform the way we design products and services, create sustainable and "shareable" cities, re-imagine public services, reduce waste and connect communities. Using a wide array of innovative examples from around the world -- from transportation to office space to food to education – she shows us how we can use technology and human ingenuity to unlock the wealth that exists in people, places and resources to develop scalable solutions to many of our pressing challenges and to improve social outcomes. April's visit to Canada marked the launch of Cities for People, a Canada-wide initiative to create more resilient and livable cities. Her national speaking tour was co-sponsored by Social Innovation Generation (SiG).
Industrial Symbiosis: Waste to Input
The saying is that ‘one person’s waste is another person’s treasure’. In an industrial symbiosis project, the waste of one business becomes the treasure of another business. Businesses in an industrial cluster share and exchange all sorts of things from waste materials, energy, and water and often collaborate on business services such as cleaning, security and transportation. Industrial symbiosis is a program for establishing these relationships of exchange with benefits that include stimulating innovation, strengthening business competitiveness, reducing costs, diversifying revenue streams, and more efficiently and effectively managing resources. Not only does this help the environment and economy (e.g., diverting waste from landfill), but pilot programs such as the Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA)’s Green Enterprise Zone are also identifying impacts of greater social cohesion at the community level, employment of hard-to-hire and marginalized populations in delivering the exchanged material, and central engagement of the arts as economic actors, communicators and connectors.
Local Governments and the Sharing Economy - (May 2014 – April 2015)
The Local Governments and Sharing Economy Project (LGSE Project) is designed to help local governments across North America, particularly members cities of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, strategically enable the Sharing Economy in support of a range of sustainable city priorities. One Earth is currently seeking representatives of USDN member cities in Canada and the US who are involved with the Sharing Economy and committed to the Project’s goals. More information here.
What does it take to get to one-planet living?
One Earth Senior Associate Jennie Moore's doctoral research about Vancouver shows that getting to one-planet living could include a variety of initiatives including reducing food waste and meat consumption by 50% and achieving a walking, cycling and transit mode share of 86% across the entire city. This is what is already achieved in the downtown of Vancouver. In addition, a reduction of the personal motor-vehicle fleet by 50% (to reduce the embodied energy in vehicles) and a shift to zero-emissions fuels and reduction in air travel would also be needed. Finally, engaging in a conserver economy with a shift to personal products that are shared or repurposed holds promise. Her blog post for Worldwatch goes into the details.
 Cara Pike “Climate Resilience: Deconstructing the New Buzz Word” on Climate Access: Sharing What Works. 10 May 2013. http://www.climateaccess.org/blog/climate-resilience-%E2%80%93-deconstructing-new-buzz-word