Friday, June 17, 2011

The Sustainable Kingston Plan

The Community Plan

Kingston has a vision: Kingston – Canada’s Most Sustainable City. A sustainable community is a place where people want to live and work; it meets the needs of its citizens, now and in the future. It is sensitive to the environment and reaches a higher quality of life.
The Sustainable Kingston Plan serves to help us move towards sustainability in several ways:
  • It reflects Kingstonians' desire to foster a sense of community ownership, stewardship, community resilence and self-sufficiency, now and in the future
  • It expresses our willingness to be specific about how we preserve, bolster, utilize and protect our cultural, economic, environmental and social resources so they will be enjoyed by future generations
  • It acknowledges the Kingston community's profound concern with the current management of the Earth's natural and human resources
  • It demonstrates our intention to become an example to other Canadian communities as they seek to become more sustainable
Kingston Sustainability Charrette in 2008
Sustainable Kingston, an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), is based on the cultural, economic, environmental, and social pillars of sustainability.
The high level objectives of Sustainable Kingston are:
  • Enhance awareness of community sustainability and encourage the adoption of more sustainable choices by our organizations, institutions, businesses, citizens, and visitors
  • Develop a long-term plan that defines the guiding principles, themes, theme statements, indicators, and goals that will help Kingston work towards the vision:Kingston - Canada's Most Sustainable City
  • Provide a framework for aligning, building on and integrating municipal and community actions (plans, policies, programs, processes, and initiatives) that are currently underway or being planned
  • Provide strategic guidance for current and future municipal decision-making that leads towards a cleaner, more attractive, more sustainable future for the community of Kingston
  • Raise awareness and solicit contributions through Community Partnerships and Citizen Commitments
  • Establish monitoring, reporting, and community consultation  practices so that Kingston's organizations, institutions, businesses, citizens, and visitors have up-to-date information
  • Become a conduit for community input and a catalyst for discussion that will result in the development of a community owned and community involved process that is tailored to the unique needs and desires of Kingston
  • Act as a living plan, subject to reflection and change through an annual process of community reporting, conferencing, and celebrating
Sustainable Kingston consists of three parts: a Plan, a Sustainable Kingston Website (the one you are currently on), a Governing Body (described in more detail in the Proposed Governance Modelsection of this website). Sustainable Kingston was developed by the FOCUS Kingston Steering Committee based on extensive input from individuals, municipal government, Kingston institutions, businesses and community organizations. This input was critical in shaping the Sustainable Kingston Plan.
Support Your Plan: Get Involved - Go to the How to Get Involved section of this website.

Four Pillars of Sustainability

Community Sustainability

Over the last few years, the concept of what determines a sustainable community  has been discussed by many municipalities in Canada. From large cities such as Vancouver and Toronto to rural neighbours such as the County of Frontenac and the Township of Lanark Highlands, local leaders are thinking about the future that they want to see for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.
Our communities are striving for sustainable development – “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, 1987). The Sustainable Kingston Plan has elected to use a four-pillar approach to sustainability. This approach is most clearly articulated in a sustainability tool known as the Melbourne Principles, which focuses equally on all four pillars.

Four Pillars of Sustainability

Sustainable Kingston uses a four pillar approach to sustainability: cultural vitality, economic health, environmental responsibility and social equity.
Within each pillar, themes have been identified through consultation. Although themes are organized by pillars, it is the linkages and integration among themes and, ultimately, within pillars that will support Kingston in becoming more sustainable. As Sustainable Kingston is implemented and as Kingston becomes more sustainable, the emphasis on integration between the four pillars must increase; if successful, the pillar model may no longer serve the Plan. Our focus and intention, in Kingston, is to have a balanced integration and alignment of these pillars that affect our overall process to be a sustainable community.
While the economic, environmental, and social pillars have been well defined and documented in community sustainability planning, inclusion of the cultural pillar is a relatively new phenomenon is sustainable development. Kingston has included the cultura pillar because of the important role that culture plays in defining our attitudes, values, and behaviours. This four-pillar approach to sustainable development recognizes that a community's vitality and quality of life are closely related to the vitality and quality of its cultural engagement, expression, dialogue, and celebration. More and more, governments, business, and organizations are using the arts as a tool to foster social inclusion, cultural diversity, rural revitalization, public housing, health, ecological preservation, and sustainable development. Sustainable development increasingly involves creating cultural frameworks that operate at the same level as do econoic, social, and environmental models. 

Four Pillar Model

The Importance of Integration 

Sustainable Kingston is an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP). While it is convenient to organize sustainability in terms of the four pillars of cultural vitality, economic health and social equity, it is the integration between them that will drive sustainability, highlight opportunities for innovation and reduce duplication of efforts.
Ensuring the preservation of our environment and the responsible use of our natural resources are the right thing to do. Building the basis to enable social equity is good for all of us.  Preserving and growing our cultural vitality contributes directly to the quality of life for all our citizens. Building our economic strength is necessary. We recognize that an integrated approach will bring forward differing opinions; but the recognition and resolution of these differences will result in decisions that contribute to a more sustainable community. 

Our Sustainability Themes

A theme is a specific focus area of Sustainable Kingston. Themes are organized by the four pillars of sustainability – cultural, economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Visit each theme page to learn more about related goals, targets, priorities, actions, and indicators.
How are actions added to a theme? Community Partners add actions that support the theme - it is all part of the Community Ownership model for Sustainable Kingston.
Here are all of the themes organized by pillar. Each theme contains summary information of community actions that support the theme. These actions make up the Community Action Inventory.

Cultural Pillar: Cultural Vitality

Economic Pillar: Economic Health

Environmental Pillar: Environmental Responsibility

Social Pillar: Social Equity