Urban Environment Issues

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URBAN
ENVIRONMENT
ISSUES

A Summary of
Issues and Approaches

AU G U ST 20 0 5

This is the second in a series of briefing papers providing an overview of key Canadian environmental issues, intended to provide background information on the issue and serve as a starting point for discussion on strategic approaches and collaboration on environmental grantmaking.

Written by Ray Tomalty, with editing and additional content by Kathryn Townshend Many thanks on behalf of CEGN to the following individuals for their helpful comments on drafts of the brief: Carrie Butcher (Ontario Trillium Foundation); Eva Cheung Robinson (Vancouver Foundation); Ruth Richardson (George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation); and Dr. Bob Gibson (Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo)

CEGN would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the development of this report.

Canadian Environmental Grantmakers' Network
215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 360
Toronto ON M5T 2C7
T: 416-961-1273
E: ktownshend@cegn.org
W: www.cegn.org

© 2005 by the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers' Network
Ce document est également disponible en français.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Purpose

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Importance of Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Key Players . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Main Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Current Strategies and Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Appendix A. Regional Issues and Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

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PURPOSE

This document is intended to serve as a starting point for discussion of strategic approaches and collaboration on urban environmental issues among Canadian grantmakers. It provides a brief overview of this complex topic, including context on the importance of cities, the key players in urban environmental issues, the range of environmental issues linked to cities, and key strategies and approaches that are currently being pursued for effecting change in this area.

IMPORTANCE OF CITIES

SOCIAL
• Canada is one of the most highly urbanized countries in the world. In 2001, about 80% of Canadians lived in urban areas of populations greater than 10,000. And 64% of Canadians live in large urban areas with over 100,000 inhabitants (called Census Metropolitan Areas or CMAs). • Between 1996 and 2001 the population of urban areas (greater than 10,000) grew by 5.2%, while the population living outside of these areas declined slightly (-0.4%). • With high concentrations of social institutions (such as hospitals and universities) and of cultural and artistic activity, cities are key determinants of quality of life for residents and are centres for creative and social innovation - and as such can contribute solutions to environmental problems.

• Canada's CMAs are home to 94% of the immigrants who came to this country in the 1990s. In 2001, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Canada's immigrants lived in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. Immigrants have a particularly significant presence in larger centres such as Toronto and Vancouver, where immigrants comprised 44% and 38% respectively of the populations in 2001. Fully 44% of immigrants to Canada in this year could not speak either English or French.

• There is a slow, but steady growth among Aboriginal people residing in Canada's cities. In 2001, about half (49%) of Canada's Aboriginal people lived in urban areas. • Cities have the advantage of a citizen sense of place and commitment that larger...
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