In 2006, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan introduced the term EcoDensity to the city, region, and world. From that point on, it was Brent Toderian’s task to define the term, convene a challenging but healthy city-wide public dialogue about strategic, green densification across every neighbourhood, and eventually develop a Charter and Action Plan that would make it a reality.
In 2008, after three drafts, hundreds of meetings, huge public discussion and media around what “density done well” could mean in many contexts across the downtown and city, and 7 nights of public hearings before Council, Vancouver City Council unanimously approved EcoDensity. This unanimous approval under challenging circumstances (including a highly politicized situation where the two political parties that didn’t coin the term, were initially invested in the initiative’s failure) was largely credited to the strategy, approach, credibility and innovative content executed by Brent Toderian as hands-on leader with a talented staff team.
EcoDensity has transformed planning and design in Vancouver, through the Charter policies and priorities around smart, strategic densification (i.e. along transit, in centres and along corridors); “gentle, hidden and invisible density” in the former single-detached neighbourhoods (including over 500 laneway houses already approved); the first LEED Gold and District Energy policies for private developments in North America; removal of barriers to green design; and many other actions and initiatives. EcoDensity has become a globally known and studied initiative, transforming density debates regionally, and won the Canadian Institute of Planners Excellence in Planning Award in 2009.
Employer: City of Vancouver
Awards: CIP Excellence in Planning Award