Vancouver: Leading Green Building Transitions?

  • Kirstie O’Neill
  • Julia Affolderbach
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Vancouver has been widely promoted and recognised as a green city, as reflected in a number of awards and international rankings. This chapter analyses the trajectory of greening with specific reference to green building in Vancouver. It identifies three examples of green building: (1) the University of British Columbia as birthplace of more radical thinking in terms of sustainability, (2) the Olympic Village in Southeast False Creek as green model neighbourhood and (3) Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan as policy strategy to promote green building. Based on these three examples, the chapter highlights the interplay of local and global influences on green building transitions and critically investigates the impacts of these on the city. Reduced carbon emissions and improved quality of life are central to green building transitions in Vancouver, but neoliberal and entrepreneurial objectives together with a shift towards quantified approaches of greening are challenging the former. While leadership is omnipresent in representations and narratives of Vancouver as a green city, greening strategies largely fall into what is commonly considered as incremental and predictable, rather than radical change, thus adding a question mark to leadership claims.


Vancouver Canada Trajectories of greening Emulative leadership Green city boosterism Climate change policy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and PlanningCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Department of Geography, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HullHullUK

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