Vancouver is contemplated by Kim Murphy from the shadows of Los Angeles, for both its sustainable pluses and its sustainable cautions.  

As Vancouver is in the final month to the Winter Olympics, it will be interesting to see how its commitment to sustainability is played out for the world to see and consider whether it is as much walk as it is talk.

Kim notes on,0,3186139.story

that William Rees and his ecological footprint has lead to the situation where ” ….To a degree probably unmatched anywhere else in North America, the city of Vancouver has tried to impose notions of sustainability in its decisions on what, where and how to build.

The result has come to be known as “Vancouverism,” an urban motif of public transit instead of freeways, a low-carbon energy infrastructure and gleaming high-rise condominium towers in sunlit, walkable neighborhoods laced with urban parks.

“If you look at the real numbers . . . you’ll discover that Vancouver’s share of growth uptake in the region is actually diminishing as a proportion,” said Lance Berelowitz, who edited the city’s Olympics bid package and wrote the book “Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination.”

Much of the sprawl gets blamed on the 21 municipal governments outside Vancouver. Metro Vancouver, a council of regional governments, has walled off agricultural lands from development and attempted to funnel suburban growth into a series of half a dozen mini-urban centers up and down the Fraser Valley. But the council rules by public discussion and consensus, often a useless combination compared with the lure of new tax revenues from office parks and strip malls.”