Beginning to identify some of the causes of air pollution in a neighbourhood also helps you start thinking about solutions. There are a number of solutions that can be introduced by residents and the government to help curb air pollution. Learn more about clean air solutions, including tactical urbanism, green infrastructure, complete streets and more!
TOOLS FOR CHANGE:
Tactical Urbanism - is defined by the Street Plans Collaborative as 'small-scale, short-term interventions meant to inspire long-term change. They describe tactical urbanism as a city-building approach that features five characteristics:
• A deliberate, phased approach to instigating change;
• An offering of local ideas for local planning challenges;
• Short-term commitment and realistic expectations;
• Low-risks, with possibly a high reward; and;
• Development of social capital between citizens & the building of organizational capacity between public / private institutions, non-profits, and their constituents.
The Street Plans Collaborative has developed a number of guides to tactical urbanism that provide great ideas for making change to enhance quality of life in urban neighbourhoods:
Tactical Urbanism VOLUME 1
Tactical Urbanism VOLUME 2
Tactical Urbanism VOLUME 4 - Australia & New Zealand
Complete Streets - According to the US-based National Complete Streets Coalition, 'Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. People of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across streets in a community, regardless of how they are traveling. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.'
The Complete Streets movement has grown, and there are lots of great web-based resources available. Check out the following links:
National Complete Streets Coalition (US-based)
Complete Streets for Canada
8 - 80 Cities
Complete Streets Efforts in Hamilton
Complete Streets Efforts in Toronto
Green Infrastructure - The Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition defines green infrastructure as 'natural and vegetative technologies that collectively provide society with a broad array of products and services for healthy living.' This could include green roofs and street trees that can help improve air quality.
There are lots of resources out there that provide background and project ideas for green infrastructure in urban environments:
Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition
How Does Green Infrastructure Benefit the Environment
Tree Planting/Urban Tree Canopy - Trees provide a number of benefits to urban environments including improving air quality, providing shade, and a range of other ecological services. A number of city and community led initiatives look to protect and enhance the urban tree canopy in cities.
The following links provide a overview of the benefits of urban tree canopies and local efforts to protect them:
Every Tree Counts: A portrait of Toronto’s Urban Forest (City of Toronto)
Urban Forests: The Value of Trees in the City of Toronto (TD Economics)
A healthy dose of green: A prescription for a healthy population (Trees Ontario)
LEAF (Non-profit group working for the protection and enhancement of urban forests)
Active Transportation - Active Transportation refers to any human-powered form of transportation which includes walking and cycling. Advocates for active transportation highlight that there are a number of benefits for the environment and the health of people.
The resources below provide examples of how communities can provide opportunities for active transportation, and the resulting benefits for individuals and the community:
What is Active Transportation (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Air Pollution and Active Transportation (Health Canada)
Clean Air Partnership - Current and Past Active Transportation Projects
Toronto Centre for Active Transportation
Transportation - Transportation is the largest contributor to air pollution across cities in Canada. Motorized vehicles including cars and trucks emit a number of air pollutants that are known to contribute to a number of health issues including asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Implementing safer transportation alternatives including public transit are important solutions that can help reduce air pollution. Check out the following resources:
Promoting Better Health Through Public Transit Use (Canadian Urban Transit Association)
Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA (Pembina Institute)
Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto - Problems and Solutions (City of Toronto)
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