The Solutions Agenda

Physical Infrastructure

Our physical infrastructure, similar to the backbone of the human body, influences how and how well we we travel, our well-being in our workplaces, and our productivity, almost all facets of daily life. The dynamic balance between built and non-built space is also important to community vitality. Green spaces have tremendous health benefits, our sociability, connectivity to place, and access to other species. There is a huge deficit in infrastructure maintenance and essential retrofitting in this country, which is both a liability and an opportunity. We can retrofit for sustainability, for example, thereby achieving additional co-benefits by reducing GHG emissions and improving the quality of life in our existing building stock. This infrastructure deficit has to be systematically reduced over the next ten years to ensure both the resilience and future vitality of Canadian communities.

  1. Develop and implement a federal/provincial strategy that spans beyond any individual government’s mandate to systematically address the infrastructure deficit of the existing building stock (including rental stock), and create new financing options

  2. Involve banks, credit unions, utility companies, insurance companies and investors in developing innovative financial mechanisms and strategies for shorter pay-back periods for both individuals and private sector companies to retrofit to the highest innovative sustainable standards

  3. Implement national legislation that mandates 100% waste reduction by 2020

  4. Reinvest the savings from eliminating oil and gas subsidies into multi-modal sustainable transportation infrastructure

  5. Account for stranded assets related to GHG emissions and develop disinvestment strategies

  6. Implement district energy in high density developments and provide incentives (e.g., rebate programs) for distributed energy in lower density developments

  7. Develop a nationwide feed-in-tariff program to accelerate investments in renewable energy across the country, with additional incentives for community-owned generation, via a well planned transition program that would take into consideration vulnerable industries and vulnerable citizens such as those living in the north and Indigenous Nations

  8. Re-purpose libraries and vacant existing building stock as multi-purpose spaces serving as community hubs for social innovation, collaboratories, meeting places, and civic literacy

Dead Space from Community Research Connections on Vimeo.

The best way to predict the future is to design it.

(Buckminster Fuller)