Sustainable Infrastructure

Objectives and Outcomes

Research Objectives and Outcomes

Infrastructure choices clearly play a central role in the creation and maintenance of communities that are sustainable, livable, and prosperous. The challenge is to engage with people and their diverse cultures, interests, visions, priorities and needs. One of the major reasons sustainable community development remains largely unresolved within municipalities is gridlock in the planning and implementation processes for decision-making. There are basic disconnections between federal, regional and local governments, between rural and urban communities, and between business and research communities. The challenge is to encourage widespread adoption of the infrastructure decisions being made by communities on the lead-edge of adoption of more sustainable infrastructure.

Within this context, the research program will explore the following objectives:

  1. identify the critical infrastructure choices necessary for sustainable community development;

  2. identify leading-edge North American examples of sustainable infrastructure development;

  1. develop an understanding of how current municipal decision-making may lead away from the achievement of sustainability objectives;

  2. demonstrate the effectiveness of synchronous on-line electronic dialogues in engaging decision-makers, experts, and community stakeholders in planning for sustainable infrastructure;

  3. identify and develop methods to engage communities in sharing knowledge, in particular s-sharing strategies and the importance of diverse network formation;

  4. develop transition strategies for how communities, including those who have already invested heavily in less sustainable structures, may move towards more sustainable infrastructure choices;

  5. engage decision-makers and community leaders in deliberative dialogue around specific sustainable infrastructure issues unique to their communities,

  6. test an interactive, dynamic case study on-line tool for use by the research community and municipalities, and

  7. create a dynamic and interactive e-community of municipal decision-makers around sustainable community infrastructure.

Expected outcomes and deliverables are:

  1. a dynamically interactive website designed to increase literacy on public infrastructure in Canada and with the ability for community practitioners and decision-makers to share leading edge research and sustainable on the ground infrastructure practices;

  2. beta-testing of an on-line dynamic case study tool developed by the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development;

  3. the development of leading-edge case studies of use to community decision-makers and in the classroom;

  4. on-line workshops of leading-edge North American practitioners to fine tune the case studies accessible to the public;

  5. database of key innovators focusing especially on infrastructure investors;

  6. a series of on-line e-Dialogues and on-line focus groups of practitioners to explore the case studies and to identify other leading-edge infrastructure innovation in Canada;

  7. a series of implementation blueprints and presentation materials in a number of media including website material that can be easily downloaded and used by both practitioners and municipal decision-makers.