How should a city handle stress?

Resilience means being able to bend not break.

The push is on in Canada to make net zero homes widespread by 2030.

The big picture means that houses and multi-family developments would generate as much energy as they consume. On the ground, it means countless initiatives from government, organizations and builders.

Groups like the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association are driving change with training and awareness campaigns. Building codes are being updated to accommodate this change.

The move to net zero goes hand-in-hand with a push for resiliency at an urban level. “Resiliency” is a word you’re likely hearing more often these days. Cities all over the world are seeking to become more self-sufficient and better able to respond to a changing climate, economic uncertainty and aging infrastructure. 

It’s all designed to anticipate future needs and putting a plan in place. And it can take many forms. The small town of Raymond in southern Alberta is installing solar panels on its municipal buildings. The 2,700 panels will generate all the municipal government’s energy needs. That means powering everything from the arena and clubhouse at the golf course to turning on the street lights.

In Calgary, the work is informed by the flood of 2013. Six years is hardly the distant past, and flood resiliency has been a focus of City Council. But the work is happening on a larger scale, too. It’s all about minimizing impacts and recovering faster from negative events.

The City completed a Preliminary Resilience Assessment in 2018. it looked at environmental, economic and social factors like population growth and crime rates. That work served as the basis for the Resilient Calgary Strategy released in June 2019.

In the words of The City, the strategy contains “one shared theme, four pillars, 13 outcomes, 29 actions and 39 success measures.” In other words, it’s a thick document. So get comfortable — maybe in a net-zero home — and give it a read. It’ll be your contribution to making Calgary a more resilient city.

August 7th, 2019
Updated: August 9th, 2019

Cities are working to become future-ready.