Vancouver, British Columbia EcoDensity Charter

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Vancouver, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 6/10/08

Source File:


The EcoDensity Charter commits the City to make environmental sustainability a primary goal in all city planning decisions - in ways that also support housing affordability and livability.

Council also approved a set of EcoDensity Actions. The first two actions to be implemented by the City immediately are:

Rezoning Policy for Greener Buildings:

  • Applications for new rezoning will need to meet a minimum LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating, or similar equivalency in green design. This includes City priorities for energy performance, water efficiency, and storm water use.

Rezoning policy for Greener Larger Sites:

  • Rezonings on sites of generally two acres or more will need to meet a number of sustainability measures in addition to those required in the Rezoning Policy for Greener Buildings. And for sites with housing, a range of types and tenures must be considered to increase affordable housing opportunities.

The majority of Actions are those which require further work and consultation for report back to Council. The four that that will receive priority are:

  • A report on issues and options for backyard/laneway housing (Action C-5)
  • Removal of existing zoning or related barriers to green building approaches (Action C-9)
  • More options for secondary suites, including dealing with zoning barriers to creating basements in single family houses; looking at requiring “suite ready” basements; and investigating options for suites in higher density housing (Action C-6)
  • An interim EcoDensity Rezoning Policy (Action C-2)

Council initiated the EcoDensity program in July 2006. The final Charter and Actions incorporate public input from a Special Council Meeting that lasted seven sessions, amongst numerous other public consultation opportunities in 2007 and 2008.

EcoDensity Actions in Summary

Immediate New Policy
(Actions A-1 and A-2)
These are the Actions that apply to rezonings: Rezoning Policy for Greener Buildings and Rezoning Policies for Greener Larger Sites(described above).

Directions to Include in Existing Work
(Actions B-1, B-2, and B-3)
These Actions are to be included in work already underway, such as the Historic Precinct Height Study.

Authorization for Next Steps Toward Action Implementation
(Actions C-1 to C-11)
These Actions direct staff to report back to Council on a variety of topics where further research and consultation are needed. The Actions range from how to do an “Eco” CityPlan; to a report on issues and a Best Practices Guide for new types of arterial mid-rise buildings; to proposals for demonstrations of EcoDensity leadership on City land. This group of Actions also includes the 4 priority Actions described above: laneway housing; removal of barriers to green buildings; more options for secondary suites; and Interim EcoDensity Rezoning Policy.