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Pillars of Sustainable Development

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

With continuous growth in population, development is inevitable. It's important, though, to prioritize building sustainable communities in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally responsible. How can we do that? Through sustainable development.

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

Here are a few pillars of sustainable development that are key to healthy, progressive community growth.

1. Greenery + Natural Landscapes:

These elements offer space for outdoor fun and activity, while also improving the market value of neighbourhoods. Did you know? A tree can absorb one ton of CO2 in its lifetime, reducing pollutants in the air, water, and soil.

2. Clean Energy:

Clean energy allows us to power our communities without polluting the atmosphere. Some clean energy technologies include:

  • Wind -using turbines or other moving structures, wind energy is generated by taking energy from motion and converting it into power

  • Solar - sourced from the sun, energy is converted into heat, electricity, or chemical reactions

  • Geothermal - harnessing the natural heat produced from earth's core

  • Hydro - converts the energy created from flowing bodies of water to electricity

Clean energy helps us move towards a greener tomorrow. It's important for Canada to invest in more research and development in clean energy. Check out CleanBC to find out how B.C. is using clean and renewable energy.

3. Waste Reduction:

The average Canadian produces more than 700 kg of waste every year that's destined for the landfill - making us one of the highest waste generators per person in the world. This number doesn't even include waste that's been diverted by recycling, composting, or donating. Our impact affects air, water, and land environments - reducing our waste is critical for sustainable development. Policy changes, community initiatives, and individual action can all help. Check out GO's Zero Waste section and start reducing today!

4. Densifying Livable Communities:

Densified communities focus on bringing amenities, green space, and work a little closer to home. It's a great way to optimize land-use, creating happy, healthy, communities.⁣⁣⁣ Livable communities include:⁣⁣

  • Safety + Security - all community members feel accepted and comfortable⁣⁣

  • Affordable + Appropriate Housing - a solid mix of detached homes, townhouses, apartments, etc.⁣⁣

  • Active + Public Transit - active + public transit options - bike lanes, bus system, light rail transit (LRT), walking trails, etc.⁣⁣

  • Community Services - includes space for physical and mental health support, recreational space, etc.⁣⁣

Making amenities convenient and increasing natural elements in community spaces makes livable communities more effective and environmentally-conscious.

5. Active Transit: Increased active transit - any type of human-powered motion - improves the happiness and healthiness of a neighbourhood! Some benefits to increasing active transit include:⁣⁣

  • Health - spending more time outdoors; lowering stress levels through physical activity⁣

  • Environmental - cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions; reduces noise + congestion; lowers air pollutants⁣

  • Economic - you don't have to fuel up a bicycle or your feet, making it a more economical choice; less road maintenance required⁣

  • Social + Safety - calmer + safer roads; increased contact with community members + neighbours⁣


Sustainable development is a key component to creating healthy, responsible communities that complement the environment that surrounds us. There are many other factors that can contribute to green communities such as public engagement, green buildings, and investing in research.

What do you think of GO's pillars of sustainable development? How do you think our community is doing? Let us know in the comments!

Sources used:,,


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