Built Environment Sustainability

Built Environment Sustainability

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What is it?

The built environment includes the places and spaces created or modified by people, including public spaces, housing, workplaces, roads and other infrastructure that support human settlement and daily life. The performance of the built environment – and its sustainability – is affected by how we use, shape and maintain it.

A sustainable built environment helps ensure that growth is fiscally, environmentally and socially responsible and recognizes connections between development and quality of life by prioritizing infill, redevelopment and green space. By supporting initiatives focused on improved land-use policies, design, incentives, regulations and plans – as well as building practices that respond to both human and ecological needs – we can contribute to built environment sustainability.

Why is it important?

Communities struggle with the challenge of how to plan, build, integrate and sustain the built environment in a way that meets current and future needs. Current opportunities and challenges to achieve a sustainable built environment include:

  • reducing sprawl, car dependency, greenhouse gas emissions and the use of finite natural resources;
  • increasing affordability and livability in ways that meet diverse social, cultural and economic needs; and
  • improving environmental outcomes and reducing waste.  

While there has been some progress in these areas, we need to continue to collaborate on smart strategies to create sustainable communities. By working together and concentrating efforts on areas of greatest impact, we can achieve positive change in both the long and short term.

What is the Foundation’s interest?

Our goal is to plan for and build efficient and liveable housing, buildings, transportation and infrastructure. We do this by supporting regulations, policy, planning and practices that lead to a more sustainable built environment through complete, compact, livable, energy efficient, green, transit-oriented development that responds to a mix of community needs. 

Our four priority areas include:

Community planning

Integrated Community Planning for compact, complete communities that support efficient transportation and infrastructure, and reduce the loss of natural and working lands.


Housing research, education, legislation, policies, programs, and financial mechanisms that help communities meet their full spectrum of housing needs related to age, access and affordability.   

Design and development

Innovative frameworks and tools, practical education and research, and integrated design and development standards that achieve smarter, less expensive buildings and infrastructure, and which support renewable use of resources and healthy social function.

Green building

Research, education and policy reform initiatives that build understanding of the linkages between transportation planning, health, built environment and sustainable land use, and support a safe, accessible, functional system in which walking, cycling and transit are highly attractive options, there is efficient goods and people movement across BC, and there are low pollutant emissions.


Buildings and Infrastructure