Building a sustainable city with Green Directions Vaughan

Do you know what makes a complete or sustainable city?

In Vaughan, we’re working hard to build a sustainable, complete city — one that promotes diversity, innovation and opportunities for all citizens. We put sustainability first, which means we make decisions and take actions that ensure a healthy environment, vibrant communities and economic vitality for current and future generations.

How do we do this?
To help guide this effort, Vaughan Council approved Green Directions Vaughan, the City’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Master Plan in 2009. With six goal areas and 85 action items, Green Directions Vaughan provides a framework for the City as we strive towards sustainable solutions for the community.

This includes taking a closer look at:

  • What natural resources we use
  • How much waste we generate
  • How we live and get around
  • How we plan to grow sustainably
  • How we show leadership on sustainability issues
  • How the city operates

All of these elements make up a great city to live, work and play in.

Five years: how do we measure up?
Now in its fifth year, Green Directions has produced results. To date, 98 per cent of the 85 action items have been initiated, and 16 of those action items have been successfully completed. Of the remaining action items, 67 are still ongoing and only two of the 85 action items have yet to be initiated (but will be kick-started in 2015).

Vaughan participates in the Global City Indicators project, an initiative that helps cities compare their progress and share knowledge. This helps improve city services and the overall quality of life for residents.

We also track progress against 24 baseline indicators covering everything from energy use to climate change, urban-forest cover to bike paths, and cultural events to community engagement.

But what do all the numbers mean?

  • THIS: between 2009 and 2013, the daily volume of water used per person in Vaughan decreased by 25 per cent.
  • MEANS: we’re working to conserve fresh water, an invaluable natural resource that sustains life on the planet.
  • THIS: between 2011 and 2013, the volume of building floor area certified under recognized green building programs increased by 78 per cent.
  • MEANS: we’re working towards a sustainable built form — a city where our buildings use less energy and water, produce less waste and sometimes even increase natural elements and greenspace with features like rooftop gardens or green roofs.
  • THIS: between 2011 and 2013, Vaughan’s active community engagement, measured by the total number of participant hours in recreation programs, increased by 25 per cent.
  • MEANS: Vaughan residents are becoming more active, fit and healthy. They’re also contributing to an enhanced social well-being and a healthier and happier future.
  • THIS: between 2011 and 2013, the number of jobs provided by Vaughan-based businesses increased by 17 per cent.
  • MEANS: Vaughan is working hard to build a vibrant community where businesses thrive. A strong local economy will support Vaughan’s positive sustainable growth.
  • THIS: between 2011 and 2013, the number of transit trips per person in York Region increased by 10.5 per cent.
  • MEANS: Vaughan citizens are leaving their cars at home and opting for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly means of transport. Public transit, walking, carpooling and cycling help to reduce traffic congestion and climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a more active and livable community.

Based on these and other indicators, the Vaughan community is making strides towards becoming a world-class city that is sustainable and complete.

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