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Cities around the world are collecting data on all of the same things, yet the way that it is being measured is wildly uneven. WCCD and its work in developing ISO 37120 - the first international standard on indicators for sustainable cities changed all of that.
Currently 54 per cent of the world's population live in cities -- over 3.5 billion. Cities account for about 70 per cent of energy related greenhouse gas emissions (more per capita than rural areas). And in 2014, global CO2 emissions, which account for approximately 65 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, were nearly 36 giga-tonnes.
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Vitoria Gasteiz is a very compact city of 250,000 people and because of its geographical density you are never more than three kilometres from downtown, no matter where you live. But in spite of its compact form, Vitoria-Gasteiz used to have a twelve-lane roadway that ran right through its heart. Then planners did something other cities only talk about.
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Cities matter, now more than ever. They're the engines that drive our economy. They're hubs of innovation and creativity. In other words, it's our cities that move Canada forward. Yet just as our cities work hard to attract the best and the brightest, care for their citizens and protect the environment, they must also address the challenges that come with a growing population.
There's growing recognition that prioritizing transit is crucial to moving a region forward. Transit-oriented cities have better air quality with lower greenhouse gas emissions and benefit from reduced traffic congestion with shorter commuting times. Evidence even shows people in cities with a range of transportation options, like Vancouver, are less sedentary, get more exercise and are happier and healthier as a result.
When it comes to urban sustainability, cities in the U.S. and Canada are employing innovative programs and policies to improve the health and well-being of residents and their local environments. But (with some notable exceptions, such as Vancouver and Calgary) no successful rapid transit infrastructure projects have been built in Canadian cities for decades.