The bulletins provide ongoing research, case studies and project updates and contain information on the current industry trends, research results, market data and development innovations from the UBC James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please email

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Recent Research

A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes
Patrick Condon and Kari Dow

Book Proposal
Patrick Condon and Kari Dow

Alternative Stormwater Management

No. 1 - Case Study: Concord Roads Trial Project, NSW
Patrick Condon and Angela Gonyea

No. 3 - Case Study: Reebok Corporate Headquarters, Massachusetts
Patrick Condon and Angela Gonyea

No. 4 - Case Study: Amble Greene, District of Surrey, BC
Patrick Condon and Angela Gonyea

No. 5 - Case Study: Brookswood, Township of Langley, BC
Patrick Condon and Angela Gonyea

No. 6 -
Effects of Urban Forestry on Hydrology
Don Luymes

No. 12 Case Study: Cumbria Woods, Cumberland, BC
Patrick Condon and Sara Muir

No. 13 Shallow Stormwater Infiiltration Devices vs. Injection Well Systems: a Comparison of Groundwater Contamination Potential
Patrick Condon and Ann Jackson

East Clayton Community Benefits

No. 2 - Two Alternative Development Site Standards Compared
Patrick Condon and Angela Gonyea

No. 7 -
Front Access Driveways versus Rear Access Lanes
Patrick Condon and Sara Muir

No. 8 - The Headwaters Project - East Clayton Neighbourhood Community Plan Environmental Benefits
Joanne Proft and Patrick Condon

No. 9 - Effects of Community Green Space on Property Value and Community Completeness

Patrick Condon and Angela Gonyea

No. 10 - Effects of Developer Cost Charges on Sustainable Growth in the Greater Vancouver Regional District
Joanne Proft and Patrick Condon

No. 11 - Transportation and Community Design: the Effects of Land Use, Density and Street Pattern on Travel Behaviour
Joanne Proft and Patrick Condon


Canadian Cities American Cities: Our Differences Are the Same
by Patrick M. Condon

An analysis and examination of Canadian and American cities through a historical overview to answer the question: What explains our differences and what can we learn from them?

Neighbourhood Pattern Typology
by Patrick Condon, Jackie Teed, Sara Muir, and Chris Midgley

It is becoming increasingly evident that the sustainability of our neighbourhoods has a major impact on the sustainability of our regions. This report identifies six neighbourhood patterns common to BCs Lower Mainland, and provides a quantitative assessment of their sustainainability based on a number of sustainability indicators including walkability, affordability, permeability, and travel behaviour.

Green Municipal Engineering for Sustainable Communities
by Patrick Condon and Katherine Isaac

This paper details the design and function of the East Clayton green infrastructure plan, focussing on stormwater management, pedestrian and bicycle movement and lowered infrastructure costs, and illustrates the vital and expanding role of the engineer in the move towards liveable, affordable, and ecologically sound communities

Affordability and Choice Today Program: "The Headwaters Project: A Sustainable Community Development in Surrey, BC"
by Patrick Condon and Katherine Isaac

The Headwaters Project, centred around the community East Clayton in Surrey, BC is an ideal case study for ideas that will stimulate changes to planning and building regulations and residential development approval procedures.


Sustainable Urban Transportation: A Winning Strategy for Canada

May 2007

This report examines the current condition of urban transportation in Canada—including roads, public transit and inter-city transit—and the policy measures needed to set a better course for decades ahead. It concludes with 12 recommendations addressed to Canadian governments and business


CMHC: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Travel: Tool for Evaluating Neighbourhood Sustainability (Full Guide) new
February 2000

Quantifies the extent to which transportation consumption and emissions can be reduced by alternative land development scenarios.

CMHC tool (6mb pdf file)

CMHC: Tool for Costing Sustainable Community Planning (Guide)

Draft: September 2006

This tool allows a user to estimate “planning-level” costs and revenues
associated with community development, and is well suited to assessing development projects ranging in size from a collection of houses, to a block-by-block infill development, to an entire subdivision.

Preview the Guide above first, then try it out here: CMHC tool (excel file)

CMHC: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Travel: Tool for Evaluating Neighbourhood Sustainability (Research Highlights)

Highlights how communities can be designed and planned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from passenger travel in urban areas.

Waterbucket: Sustainable Approaches to Integrated Water Management

The vision of is to provide a resource-rich, highly interactive 'destination location' for timely and provocative information about water sustainability in British Columbia.

The Affordability Index
Centre for Transit-Oriented Development and the Centre for Neighbourhood Technology
January 2006

This is a new information tool for quantifiably measuring the true affordability of a housing choice. It provides consumers, policy-makers, leaders, and investors with the information needed to make better decisions about which neighbourhoods are truly affordable, and illuminates the implications of their policy and investment choices.
Full brief: affordabilityindex.pdf
Methodology: affordabilitymethodology.pdf

Urban Emissions Model
A useful tool for quantifying trip-reduction benefits is the recently upgraded URBEMIS (urban emissions) model, which was developed by the California Air Resources Board to calculate the air quality impacts of new development. A new version, released this year, includes a mitigation component that makes it possible to calculate the impacts of a range of trip-reduction measures.

The model, which is based on trip-generation rates published by the Institute for Traffic Engineers, takes into account not just the physical characteristics and location of a development but also the impact of demand management programs such as telecommuting and parking charges. It makes it possible to fairly evaluate developments that minimize transportation impacts by, for example, locating close to transit or providing high densities and a mix of uses.

The model is available at For more background on the new operational mitigation component, see

Tools for Sustainability in New South Wales
"BASIX" is a web-based tool designed to evaluate the water and energy efficiency of new residential developments. On July 1 2004, the NSW government introduced BASIX into the development approval system to ensure our homes use less water and energy. The requirements for a BASIX certificate with development proposals will be introduced in stages from that date.



newPass Christian Smart Code
City of Pass Christian, Mississippi
"The master plan and SmartCode were designed by a team led by Fisher & Hall Urban Design, with Lois Fisher as Director of Design, through a charrette process in February 2006. Pass Christian’s oak-lined streets and historic architecture had earned it the name “Jewel of the Gulf Coast” prior to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. After the storm destroyed approximately 75% of its structures, the vision of the historic architecture, traditional neighborhoods and underlying city structure guided the design of the rebuilding plan that is at the core of the Pass Chrsitian SmartCode"

Smart Growth: The Business Opportunity for Developers and Production Builders
US Environmental Protection Agency website.

"The benefits of smart growth are well defined, but less discussed are the business decisions needed to bring smart growth projects to market. As a result, investors, developers, and home builders may not have all the necessary tools to decide whether to invest in smart growth development models. Smart Growth: The Business Opportunity for Developers and Production Builders provides eight white papers that present a "business case for smart growth" to assist those considering whether to pursue smart growth projects."

The Walkability Premium in Commercial Real Estate Investments
Gary Pivo and Jeffrey Fisher

This paper examines the effects of walkability on property values and investment returns.

How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities
CEOs for Cities
Joe Cortright

Street Trees and Intersection Safety
Institute of Urban and Regional Development
Elizabeth Macdonald, Alethea Harper, Jeff Williams, Jason A. Hayter

This paper challenges the assumption that street trees planted close to intersections in an urban context jeopardizes safety. Includes policy recommendations.

Healthy Communities, Sustainable Communities
by the Ontario Professional Planners Institute
Fall 2007

This paper explores the links between public health and land use planning and includes strategies for collaborating on tangible actions that result in healthier communities.

Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change
byReid Ewing, Keith Bartholemew, Steve Winkelman, Jerry Walters, and Don Chen.

Based on existing research on the relationship between neighbourhood type and CO2 from vehicle emissions, this paper provides evidence on and insights into how much transportation-related CO2 savings can be expected with compact development, how compact development is likely to be received by consumers, and what policy changes will make compact development possible.
Full report here.

The Impact of Open Spaces on Property Values in Portland, Oregon

B. Bolitzer and N.R. Netusil
Journal of Environmental Management (2000) 59: 185-193

This paper explores the influence that open spaces such as parks, natural areas and golf courses may have on the sale price of homes in close proximity to these resources. The results indicate that proximity to an open-space can have a statistically significant positive effect on a home's sale price.  

British Columbia's Empty Bedrooms: Occupancy of BC's Housing Stock
Andrew Ramlo
The Urban Futures Institute, July 1999

By looking at current and projected demographics, this paper looks at the potential for accommodating not only growth in housing demand but also its change within the existing housing stock in British Columbia.

Permeable Pavement Systems
Building and Environment
Volume 42, Issue 11, November 2007, pages 3830-3836.
Miklas Scholz, and Piotr Grabowieckia

An analysis proving the effectiveness of permeable paving systems which also highlights the latest innovations, including a a combined geothermal heating and cooling, water treatment, and recycling pavement system.

Increases in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Highway Widening Projects
Sightline Institute
October 2007.
Clark Williams-Derry, Research Director

This study analyses and discusses the future impacts of highway construction, such as that adding 1-mile of new highway lane will increase CO2 emissions by over 100,000 tonnes over 50 years.

Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006: Subprovincial population dynamics
Statistics Canada , 2006
A fantastic overview and analysis of population growth in Canada, including detailed graphics and tables showing the extent of population growth in municipalities.

Operational Definitions of Walkable Neighborhood: Theoretical and Empirical Insights
Anne Vernez Moudon, Chanam Lee, Allen D. Cheadle, et al.
Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2006

This paper reviews theories defining neighborhoods and offers an empirical approach to identify measurable attributes and thresholds of walkable neighborhoods. Based on research in King County, the conclusions and analysis are particularly valuable because they report on the impacts on walking, of factors including block size and land use mix. 

Neighbourhood Street Design Guidelines: An Oregon Guide
for Reducing Street Widths

Neighbourhood Streets Project Stakeholders
November, 2000

This guidebook explains the issues surrounding the width of neighborhood streets with respect to livability and access for emergency and other large vehicles. It recommends a community process for developing neighborhood street width standards, a checklist of factors that should be addressed in that process, street cross-sections, and a list of resources that provide additional information.

Manual for Streets
Discussion Draft; expected publication date March, 2007

The Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG- United Kingdom), with support from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), has commissioned WSP , TRL , Llewelyn Davies Yeang and Phil Jones Associates to develop a Manual for Streets that will give guidance to a range of practitioners on effective street design.
Download from Site: or below:

Intro.pdf (47 kb)
What are streets for.pdf (113 kb)
Policy, legal and technical frameworks.pdf (333 kb)
Design process.pdf (2 mb)
Building communities.pdf
(1.9 mb)
Quality places.pdf (1.4 mb)
Movement.pdf (2.9 mb)
(504 kb)
Parking.pdf (1.2 mb)
Traffic signs marking and street furniture.pdf (9 mb)
Street lighting.pdf (87 kb)
Adoption & maintenance.pdf (308 kb)
Appendix A: Signing & marking minimum requirements.pdf (89 kb)
Appendix B: Case studies.pdf (10 mb)
Appendix C: Design questions checklist.pdf (24 kb)

Promoting Public Health through Smart Growth
Lawrence Frank, Sarah Kavage + Todd Litman
Prepared for SmartGrowth BC

This report explains how our built environment shapes our transportation choices, and in turn, human health.

Of Mice and Elephants
By Stewart Ramsay, P.Eng.
September, 2005
Institute of Transportation Engineers

This is an important critique of the modelling which is used to justify major highway expansion projects. Directly relevant local B.C. examples given within such as the Highway 1 expansion.

Promoting Sustainable Transportation Through Site Design
Institute of Transportation Engineers

Washington, DC.

The primary purpose of this guide is "to assist policy-makers and professionals involved in the preparation, review and approval of non-residential development proposals to identify and incorporate features that make sites more accessible to travel modes other than the single-occupant vehicle (SOV). The guide will also identify a range of supporting policies and actions that agencies can introduce to foster sustainable transportation initiatives".

Density Mitigated by Design

The following pdfs and links provide useful resources in order to educate about, and help visualize and plan for different densities.
Note: to convert to units per hectare, multiply by 2.5.
Posted May 2, 2006
Various Sources


- 1000 Friends of Oregon: 8-10 dwelling units per acre
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: 13-16 dwelling units per acre
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: 17-20 dwelling units per acre
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: 23-26 dwelling units per acre
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: 31-34 dwelling units per acre
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: 41-44draft dwelling units per acre

- Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: Visualizing Density A: 0.5-10.5 upa (with aerial views)
- Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: Visualizing Density B: 9.1-134.5 upa (with aerial views)
- Eugene Planning & Community Dev't Dept.: Density and Site Design
- Local Gov't Commission Pamphlet: Compact Dev't for More Liveable Communities
- Local Gov't Commission with E.P.A: Creating Great Neighbourhoods


Density Effects Calculation! See how neighborhood density impacts the environment (land, materials, energy and driving):

- Infill, Mixed Use and Compact Develoment: An Overview, Paul Zykofsky, Local Government Commission - Effective pictures, charts and diagrams used in slide presentation. Available for purchase.

- Density By Design: New Directions in Residential Development, A publication featuring 14 case studies from Urban Land Institute. Available for purchase.

- Compact Development Compact Disc, Local Government Commission, Sacramento, CA - an excellent Power Point slide presentation that makes uses 60 cases studies to make the case for compact development, includes "Guess the Density Game" and "Compact Housing Image Survey - Available for purchase."

Safety by Design: Sprawl, cars and your health
October 2005 Report
Northwest Environment Watch-

When choosing a place to live, people rarely weigh the risk of automobile accidents in their decision. But perhaps they should. An emerging body of research demonstrates that, when it comes to protecting your family from car crashes, choosing the right neighborhood can be as important as choosing the right car.

Green Value : Green Buildings, Growing Assets
Revised May 2005 Report
Green Value brought together 11 sponsors in three countries including both governments and the private sector, with teams on two continents. It was initiated and led by RICS Canada past-Chairman Chris Corps.

This study, which looked at buildings in North America and the UK, shows that a clear link is beginning to emerge between the market value of a building and its green features. Not only are green buildings good for the environment, provide healthier places to live and more productive places to work, they can command higher rents and prices, attract tenants more quickly, reduce tenant turnover and cost less to operate and maintain (excerpt from the press release).

Low Impact Development: Manual for the Puget Sound Region
Revised May 2005 Manual
Puget Sound Action Team and Washington State University- Pierce County Extension

This is a technical guidance manual for Puget Sound, and aims to provide stormwater managers, site designers, policy makers and developers with a common understanding of LID goals, specifications, guidelines, research and data applicable to the Puget Sound region.

Low Impact Development Design Strategies: An Integrated Environmental Design Approach
June 1999 Manual
Dept. of Environmental Resources, Prince George's County, Maryland

The primary goal of Low Impact Development methods is to mimic the predevelopment site hydrology by using site design techniques that store, infiltrate, evaporate, and detain runoff. Since every aspect of site development affects the hydrologic response of the site, LID control techniques focus mainly on site hydrology. This manual focuses on site planning, hydrologic analysis, low impact development integrated management technology, erosion and sediment control, and public outreach.

Greater Boston Office Market Report
Summer 2005 Report
Brendan Carroll, Director of Research

This report highlights the value of locating offices on a streetcar line, as it relates to commercial office park occupancy rates, further augmenting the importance of transit-land use connectivity. See page 7 for specific information.

Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management

February 2005 Report
Robert L. Hirsch, Roger Bezdek, Robert Wendling

The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking. This report examines three scenarios for mitigation and factors involved in this impending crisis.

Driven to Spend: Pumping Dollars out of our Households and Community
June 2005 Report
Scott Bernstein, Carrie Makarewicz, Kevin McCarty et al.

The focus of this report is the rising cost of transportation. Since at least 1984, transportation has been the number two expense for households, second only to housing. A survey in 2003 has shown that the costs of transportation and housing account for 52 percent of the average family’s budget, which explains why there is growing public debate on the need for policies that address these issues in tandem.
Importantly, this expenditure level predates more recent hikes in gas prices, suggesting that current and future transportation costs are headed even higher.

Sustainable Transportation Through Site Design
2004 Report
Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers

This report proposes recommended site design practices that can be applied through the land development process to promote the use of more sustainable modes of passenger transportation, such as walking, cycling and transit. Its primary purpose is to assist policy-makers and professionals involved in the preparation, review and approval of non-residential development proposals to identify and incorporate features that make sites more accessible to travel modes other than the single-occupant vehicle (SOV).

Settlement Pattern & Form with Service Costs Analysis

May 15, 2004 Report
Regional Planning: Halifax Regional Municipality

Halifax Regional Municipality is in the process of developing a 25-year Regional Plan and, as part of this, is considering alternatives of how and where it should grow. This on-going Cost of Servicing study will allow HRM to better understand the cost implications of various growth alternatives. In particular, this study identifies service cost trends related to the form of our neighbourhoods, specifically relating to density.

Characteristics and Performance of Regional Transportation Systems
2004 Publication
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The purpose of this study is to examine and define characteristics of regional transportation systems and measure overall system performance. We measure the degree of connectivity, the pedestrian environment, and availability of transit in 13 metropolitan areas. We test the hypothesis that a smart growth transportation system—one that features a relatively dense and well-connected network of streets, shorter block sizes, and extensive transit service—will produce improved transportation and environmental outcomes (reflected by fewer vehicle trips and miles of travel, less congestion, and fewer vehicle emissions) as compared to a conventional transportation system.

Deadly Delays: The Decline of Fire Response
Boston Globe Special Report
Bill Dedman,Globe Correspondent

This work shows that neighbourhoods with skinny streets have faster response times for fire departments than more spacious suburban street systems. This first installment of a Boston Globe investigation examines the effect on public safety and examines the relationship between density and fire response times, as shown in the accompanying graphic.

Report on Public Health and Urban Sprawl in Ontario
A Review of the Pertinent Literature
Environmental Health Committee, Ontario
Riina Bray et alia.
January 2005

"This report summarizes pertinent information on the relationship between urban sprawl and health. It serves to identify the key issues that are relevant to the growing number of sprawl-related health problems in Ontario which is comparable to US situations and is far worse compared to Europe".

Toward a New Metropolis: The Opportunity to Rebuild America

Discussion Paper
Arthur C. Nelson; Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
December 2004

"Nearly half of what will be the built environment in 2030 doesn't exist yet, giving the current generation a vital opportunity to reshape future development....and there may be no better time than now to plan the shape of American landscape for the next generation." Studies suggest the same trends are at work in Canada.

Energy Indicators for Urban Use: A Transect of Environmental Performance

Criterion Planners
December16 2004

These indicators could form a starting point for further work on providing practical tools for planners and decision-makers regarding urban form and energy efficiency.

West Coast Environmental Law Launches Smart Bylaws Guide
November22, 2004

In recognition of British Columbia's leadership role in smart growth practices, West Coast Environmental Law has developed a comprehensive web-based Smart Bylaws Guide to assist local governments to implement smart growth strategies through policy and bylaw changes. The Guide is composed of eight interconnected tools, and brings together the good practices of municipalities across BC, and highlights innovators in the U.S.

The Portland Exception: A Comparison of Sprawl, Smartgrowth, and Rural Land Loss in 15 U.S. Cities
October 25 2004

This report expands on Northwest Environment Watch’s (NEW) investigations in the 2004 edition of Cascadia Scorecard of growth and development patterns in the seven largest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Comparing Northwest cities with similar cities across the United States provides an informative gauge of how well the region has fared in controlling runaway sprawl and protecting open space from development.

Social Capital and the Built Environment: The Importance of Walkable Neighborhoods
Kevin M. Leyden
American Journal of Public Health September 2003, Vol 93, No. 9 1546-1551

In this article, Dr. Leyton examines whether pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use neighbourhoods encourage enhanced levels of social and community engagement (i.e., social capital). The study investigated the relationship between neighbourhood design and individual levels of social capital. Data were obtained from a household survey that measured the social capital of citizens living in neighbourhoods that ranged from traditional, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented designs to modern, car-dependent suburban subdivisions in Galway, Ireland. The analyses indicate that people living in walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods have higher levels of social capital compared with those living in car-oriented suburbs. The results show that people living in walkable neighbourhoods were more likely to know their neighbours, participate politically, trust others, and be socially engaged.

"Impact of Urbanization and Land-Use on Climate Change" - Letters to NatureAuthors Eugenia Kalnay and Ming Cai reveal that "the most important anthropogenic influences on climate change are the emissions of greenhouse gases and changes in land use, such as urbanization and agriculture." This article is from the latest issue of Nature. Nature, vol. 423, 29 May 2003: pp 528-531

CityGreen: A Guide to Green Infrastructure for Canadian Municipalities
Prepared by: Sebastian Moffatt, The Sheltair Group

This document was written to assist civil engineers and urban planners who are developing longer term plans for sustainable infrastructure. It provides a general introduction to some key concepts and to a range of best practices and policies. The guide was supported financially by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and by the Research Division of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The author is currently preparing a thesis and book on the subject of Sustainable Integration of Buildings and Infrastructure. Comments on the ideas presented in this current document are welcome. Respondents will be rewarded with a copy of the published book in due course.

Meadows in the Sky: Contemporary Applications for Eco-roofs in the Vancouver Region

Prepared by: Kimberly Pedersen M.A.S.A., UBC School of Architecture

European research supports the ability of green roofs to mitigate many of these ill effects of urbanization. The investigation undertaken by this thesis explores the role green roofs might play in the Greater Vancouver's transition to sustainable design and development. It then summarizes the potential impacts - aesthetic improvements, increased biodiversity, protection of the roof membrane, meso and microclimate mitigation, improved building insulation, and stormwater management - currently attributed to green roof implementation.
Table of Contents (11kb)
Introduction (153kb)
Historical Perspective (2293kb)
Contemporary Usage (128kb)
Potential Impacts and Issues (255kb)
Construction (292kb)
Eco-roofs and Vancouver (107kb)

Good Schools--Good Neighbourhoods: The Impacts of State and Local School Board Policies on the Design and Location of Schools in North Carolina
Dr. David Salvesen and Philip Hervey
June 2003

This paper addresses the design and location of schools, specifically dealing with the false perception that one large school facility rather than several small ones creates economies of scale. Using North Carolina schools and school development guidelines as an example, this detailed paper
examines several key factors which influence school location and design, and what steps are necessary in planning more walkable and space-efficient school sites.


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