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Date: March 17, 2008

Vancouver Ecodensity Research Wins National Award

To achieve its ecodensity goals, the City of Vancouver needs to work more closely with its citizens says University of Victoria geography student Maya McDonald, one of five Canadian students chosen to present research at the recent Globe 2008 conference in Vancouver.

McDonald hopes her research will help the city overcome the challenges of implementing ecodensity—an initiative which aims to create more liveable areas in smaller spaces and reduce impacts to the environment.

She was one of five recipients of a Student Ambassador Award from ECO Canada, an environmental not-for-profit corporation which recognizes post-secondary students for excellence in environment-related research. Each recipient received a grant worth $2,500.

Through her research McDonald concluded that a key weakness of Vancouver’s ecodensity initiative is that “although there has been much effort to involve the public the city needs to work even closer with them.”

“At this point I can say that ecodensity is based on strong theory which builds on initiatives such as smart growth and new urbanism which have seen some real success,” she says. “There are many environment benefits to ecodensity which encourage higher density in areas where infrastructure already exists. This can help reduce urban sprawl associated with the destruction of natural areas and farmland.”

McDonald says that people expressed concerns about access to schools, childcare centres, grocery stores, hospitals and green space at public workshops on ecodensity, highlighting the importance of linking environmental sustainability with social sustainability.
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Media contacts:
Maya McDonald at (250) 889-1412 or mayam@uvic.ca
Suzanne Smith (Social Sciences Communications) at (250) 472-4496 or suzanne@uvic.ca

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