Economic Growth, Physical Limits and Liveability: Can Metro Vancouver Achieve all Three?

Date created
2014-04-17
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
Can Metro Vancouver grow its population and economy while staying within physical limits and improving liveability for its citizens? I explore this question using a Business as Usual forecast, a Limits scenario and a Local Energy scenario. I model each scenario using a technology choice simulation model combined with an urban sustainability model. The BAU forecast extrapolates existing trends while the Limits scenario includes physical limits on criteria air contaminants, water use, land use, greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste disposal. The Local Energy scenario adds a local energy limit. For each scenario I assume continuous economic and population growth, impose the physical limits and then simulate household and firm responses to policy and assess the resulting implications for liveability in the region. I measure liveability using 24 indicators of environmental conditions, mobility, housing and costs. I find that Metro Vancouver can grow its population and economy while staying within physical limits, but there are tradeoffs to aspects of liveability. I find for the BAU forecast that environmental conditions degrade with economic and population growth with similar mobility and housing choices as today. In the Limits scenario, environmental conditions are protected but costs increase, people drive 20 per cent less and 40 per cent of existing detached homes are replaced with apartments and attached houses. In the Local Energy scenario, environmental conditions remain protected and all energy is generated locally, but people travel 50 per cent less, drive 80 per cent less, 40 per cent of existing detached homes are replaced with apartments and attached houses and these living spaces cost 50 per cent more than in business as usual or the Limits scenario.
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Identifier
etd8310
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