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The Role of Zoning and Land Use Planning In Building Community Resilience (LUL761E)

Presented by: Doug Pollard
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Pre Recorded Webinar
60 minutes
Event Description
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Learn How Local Zoning and Land Use Decisions Can Enable Community Resilience

Urban resilience, the capacity of commu nities to thrive, adapt and prosper regardless of any shocks they might experience has received steadily increasing attention in recent years primarily because of the steadily increasing frequency and ferocity of climatically influenced events. Attention and dialogue have crystallized into information sharing international networks such as the 100 Resilient Cities Network (of which 15 are American), ICLEI’s multiyear resilient cities program, HUD’s climate change and economic resilience programs. Resilient Communities for America, the 11 federal resilience initiatives and 25 commitments by private sector entities announced by the White House on May 10 2016 as well as numerous state and local place based initiatives.

Urban resilience, however, is about much more than strategizing to prepare for, respond to and rebound from natural disasters and climatic shifts. It is equally about building the strong economic base, heathy society and natural and manmade infrastructure systems which facilitate such resilience and which also ensure long term viability and prosperity. Addressing resiliency challenges balances affordable housing, aging populations, crime, education, health employment considerations against issues resulting from aging infrastructure, green infrastructure, energy and food shortages, wildfires, floods, landslides, seismic activity etc.

Planning, with its supporting land use and zoning policy, has a significant role to play in these deliberations. In addition to existing zoning tools such as inclusionary zoning, performance based building codes and performance (flexible) zoning bylaws, form based codes, density transfer mechanisms, agricultural easements, hazard mapping, adaptive reuse strategies etc. etc. etc there are a number of emerging and growing initiatives that do not reference resiliency directly but which actually inform it, influence it and improve it.

The challenge to local legislators then, is to familiarize themselves with this vast amount of information and activity and integrate it into the existing zoning structure. In this webinar, our expert speaker Doug Pollard will provide a solid foundation for addressing this challenge

Informative initiatives that it will present include:

  • Conservation Subdivisions by Design, a land use approach based on first determining and preserving important site amenities prior to giving form to development. This approach saves both initial costs and operating costs as well as beneficial natural elements without a loss of density. A number of resilience strategies have landscape preservation and/or restoration as key elements in mitigating natural disaster impacts.
  • The Living Community Challenge which fosters a new planning approach that envisions buildings sharing resources to become, as a system, self supporting districts or neighbourhoods.
  • The 2030 Planning (district) Challenge which started in Seattle and now involves 20 American cities. This approach develops long term private/public partnerships and financial strategies to renovate hundreds of millions of square feet of existing urban and suburban areas to create high performance districts for infill development and redevelopment It has as a target that all such buildings should be carbon neutral by 2030. These districts, with their minimal needs and maximum outputs essentially become the strongly beating heart of a community that make it prosperous in the short term and ensure its survival in times of crisis.
  • The newly released ECO district protocol which seeks inform the development of resilient and sustainable neighbourhoods.
  • The SITE program for regenerating natural elements and designing sustainable landscapes
  • Synergy zones (waste and energy trading districts ) zones presently under scrutiny by iiSBE (the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment)

Such initiatives are themselves informed by increasingly ubiquitous and viable practices and concepts such as urban and vertical farming, renewable energy usage (there are now a number of communities using 100% renewable energy sources), buildings as infrastructure and hospitals as motherships, high efficiency district energy systems that enable neighborhoods to function independently and various strategies to preserve and/or restore green spaces and natural elements and integrate them into an infrastructure system.
This webinar will begin with a review of the essence of a number of resilience strategies and plans with a focus on those aspects with the most direct relationships to land use and zoning. It will then summarize those initiatives and planning approaches which can inform land use and zoning decisions that have a bearing on community resilience and, in particular, identify the synergies between these various programs, tools, technologies and activities which a community can use in developing their own “resilience zoning”.

This is a highly illustrated webinar which provides a carefully balanced overview of the work of numerous professionals, national and international institutions and relates it to the past and current output of local politicians and legislators from the USA. Methodologies and data from actual plans and strategies are used to illustrate how this large body of knowledge and experience can be interpreted for use in the local context and how it can provide both short term and long term benefits.

Session Highlights:
This program will introduce and describe:

  • How local zoning and land use decisions can enable community resilience
  • How an existing zoning process can be adapted and/or leveraged into a formidable resilience strategizing exercise even when there is no formal resilience strategy development or resilience officer in place
  • Why building resilience can be a market opportunity
  • How a long term resilience strategy can also save money, improve living conditions and community competiveness in the short term
  • How the work of and innovations introduced by many initiatives, programs and organizations from around the US and abroad can inform local resilience strategy creation
  • How the commonalities and synergies of a comprehensive range of research and projects can be integrated into a local planning exercise
  • The 37 issues which form the framework of a resilience plan or strategy
  • The 2030 planning challenge (district) targets and strategies for lowering for energy usage and GHGs etc. (note: energy production involves a major amount of water; lowering energy needs increases water availability)
  • The Living Community Challenge seven performance areas and their imperatives
  • The imperatives, priorities, implementation phases, goals, objectives and indicators of the ECO District Protocol
  • The neighborhood-scale (zone) systems that could benefit from optimization of storage, supply and demand, and a reduction in wasted energy and material flows as identified by iiSBE
  • The 12 benefits Sustainable subdivisions bring to a community
  • The various aid and design programs sponsored by HUD
  • The key developments in urban resilience as noted by ICLEI
  • The various approaches to zoning that can directly or indirectly enhance the creation and effectiveness of resilience strategies.
  • New concepts in regards to the role buildings can play in the short and long term viability of community.
  • A number of illustrated case studies of plans and actions being developed in the USA and abroad


Who Should Attend

Anyone who can affect or is affected by municipal land use decisions:

  • Municipal, county and state planners, politicians and legislators
  • Community resilience officers
  • Municipal staff planners
  • Private land use planners
  • Structural, civil, mechanical, transportation and hydraulic engineers etc.
  • Architects
  • Developers and builders
  • Business interests
  • Utility representatives
  • Community advocacy and interest group representatives
  • Regulatory body representatives for roads and transport, watercourses, agricultural interests, utilities, environmental issues etc. etc.
About Our Speaker(s)

Doug Pollard | Sustainable Planning SpeakerDoug Pollard
Doug operated his own architectural practices for 25 years in Toronto, Ontario, before joining CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) as a senior researcher in sustainable community planning in 1998. In that role and later as senior analyst in the CMHC International division he managed a number of sustainable p... More info

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    Event Title: The Role of Zoning and Land Use Planning In Building Community Resilience
    Presenter(s): Doug Pollard

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