Ultimately the environment is embedded in energy and wise utilization is part of all human activities.
To utilize energy most effectively, the first action takes place at the personal level since using the mobility in the human body is not only the most basic energy use but it is also the foundation of health.
The second level occurs with the personal lifestyle where as much as 60% of energy consumption is at the control of individuals’ use of urban infrastructure.
Finally, taking ownership of environmental initiatives is part of collective responsibility in the future of our planet.
Home Greenhouse Gas
Greenhouse gases generated in the typical home, are dominated by heating and travel which comprise 75% of the total.
A full 50% representing travel by plane and car is discretionary and can be reduced at no cost by choosing different ways to travel since transit generates 1/2 of the greenhouse gases of a car. A switch to transit or walking lowers greenhouse gases from driving without any cost or reduction in travelling.
Home heating can be reduced by 40% simply by choosing live in an apartment or similar multi-family building. In fact, this choice costs less than nothing because multi-family buildings are less expensive to purchase and own.
Although retaining and renewing buildings is the best and most sustainable option, this also holds for all other infrastructure from streets to underground services and the urban forest.
In particular, since infrastructure is a key to revitalization and locating as much of the new apartments and mixed use close to existing commercial and old industrial areas which are no longer active but have high capacity services can reduce renewal costs dramatically. Bringing new homes into these areas also solves issues of adequate roads by ensuring the new residents have goods and services as well as employment to walk to.
- The easiest way to keep single family housing cost down is to keep the existing inventory. Since this is the largest demand in existing communities, this is the most important option.
- Taking advantage of existing serviced land which does not have housing enhances land use. The best locations are industrial or commercial land parcels preferably in or abutting a residential community. This should be combined with mixed use.
- Refocusing municipal regulations can have major benefits. For example, ensuring that zoning in non residential zone areas includes optimum permitted residential uses will provide a major ongoing source of land.
- There will always be people who need help with housing. With sustainable re-generation a fund should be developed from savings made by avoiding sprawl subsidies and making the benefits available to all communities.
Sustainable Regeneration Benefits
The average mature community has only 1 in 3 homes with children. Increasing the number of homes with children would make these neighbourhoods child centred, with schools that are viable.
Adult housing provided to meet the need for the balance of the population completes the shift to sustainability.
SUSTAINABLE REGENERATION does everything that INFILL can not.
When apartments are built for households without children everyone benefits.
Houses are placed on the market for families slowing rising costs and the smaller size of apartments provides more affordable housing for those without children. In fact, trading down provides a significant tax free supplement to retirement savings.
Encouraging new housing outside existing residential areas either as replacement for obsolete commercial or as new mixed use in established community centres ensures the retention of quiet neighbourhoods and creation of vibrant areas for enjoying local services.
Future Benefits Of Regeneration
Once the mature communities are complete, the process for these neighbourhoods will continue through the newer areas which have denser family home options but lack the pedestrian oriented commercial areas and the adult oriented housing should be located there. With the system of regeneration there are enough homes that the existing communities and boundaries will last until the city has two million people.
Every year that communities regenerate to become stable and sustainable enhances the ability to defeat the problem of population loss in the urban centre and the potential for better lives no matter what growth occurs.