Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Sustainable Innovative Subdivisions

Project Reference Number: 2014-04

Project Status: Complete

Led by: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), PhD, Environmental Consultant, Smithers

Funder: The Kassandra Trust

This project is the first phase in a larger project that addresses the need for sustainable and innovative subdivisions in the Northwest. It is an opportunity to explore options for building subdivisions which minimize impacts and add community and environmental value in the present and future.

Innovative subdivisions would incorporate social values expressed in Land and Resource Management Plans, Regional District Plans, and Town Official Community Plans. These values include the importance of quality of life in the Northwest that is provided by a healthy natural environment and a myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities. Incorporating these values requires new approaches to subdivision development that minimize or mitigate impacts on species and habitats within the project footprint. Specifically, these approaches can address protections for riparian areas and water, wildfire-interface prevention, sediment and sewage flows, and sensitive habitats. The could also consider lowering carbon footprint.

Creative opportunities exist to incorporate into subdivision planing areas that are ideal for recreation including biking, hiking and skiing trails, adding appeal and value to property owners and benefits to the broader community. Innovative project design can place houses in such a way to retain rural character and minimized impact on viewscapes. A reduction in costs of building and maintaining infrastructure may also be achieved through innovative subdivision design.

The deliverables from this first phase are:

  1. A summary of research on related themes such as tax incentives for developers, innovative subdivision design, legal and policy tools to set aside parcels of land (including bibliography with hyperlinks).
  2. A report that summarizes interviews with local knowledge holders including developers, engineers and others, and lessons learned.
  3. An initial comparison of the economic, community and environmental costs and benefits of two versions of the pilot subdivisions: a standard design and an innovative design; production of Google Earth maps that show the two versions from each parcel of land and identify key features with community and recreational benefits.
  4. A summary of meetings with local government and the public.

Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
May, 2015 Innovative Subdivision Design to Retain Valued Community and Environmental Assets Cristina Soto, PhD