Bridging the Gap

Vancouver

Bridging the Gap

Research that aims to provide recommendations for overcoming barriers to widespread green infrastructure implementation across the City of Vancouver and help strengthen the presence and incorporation of equity into practice.

School:

SFU

Department:

School of Resource and Environmental Management

Course:

REM 664

Instructors:

  • Andreanne Doyon

City of Vancouver:

  • Heidi Horlacher
  • Wendy de Hoog

Student Team:

  • Nicole Jang

Strategy:

  • Rain City Strategy

Term:

Spring 2021

Summary

My thesis research aims to shed light on the planning and decision-making processes hindering the widespread and equitable implementation of green infrastructure across the City of Vancouver. By utilizing resilience as a ‘bridging’ concept to address knowledge gaps between silo-ed departments, my hope is to facilitate more equitable work within the city in relation to Green Infrastructure (GI). Specifically, my thesis seeks to answer the question, “How can GI play a larger role in infrastructure planning, across the City of Vancouver, while ensuring equitable outcomes?”

This question will be answered by findings from a literature review, city document analysis, and semi-structured interviews. The collected data will be examined to identify barriers to GI implementation, and recommendations to overcoming such barriers will then be formed. Additionally, the data will be used to analyze two existing planning tools used by the GI Branch and formulate new equity criteria, in order to facilitate more equitable work.

While the thesis is still in progress, the current findings are as follows:

An integral step to bridging the knowledge gaps that exist between departments is the use of specific terminology when communicating with others. Urban resilience, deemed a ‘bridging’ or ‘boundary’ concept, has been found to facilitate communication between silo-ed departments on interdisciplinary issues. While scholars and practitioners have been able to make connections between equity and resilience, as well as resilience and GI, they have faced challenges in identifying the relationship between equity and GI. Thus, resilience can act as a ‘bridge’ between the two concepts.

Moreover, as the City of Vancouver is still in its early stages of incorporating equity, it is evident that the sharing of knowledge is crucial to advancing equity work across all sectors. In anticipation of the forthcoming Equity Framework, many departments within the City have begun successful equity work. Much of this equity work can be applied in other departments, and therefore, should be shared internally to further social equity across the City of Vancouver as a whole.