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New book highlights innovations in urban sustainability

October 29, 2012
Ann Dale

A new book co-edited and authored by Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development Ann Dale highlights fresh thinking in the ongoing debate over sustainable urban planning and development.

Urban Sustainability: Reconnecting Space and Place brings together 12 researchers and practitioners from across North America to explore the governance challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for city planners.

The book was co-edited by Yukon College vice-president academic Bill Dushenko and Ryerson University professor and planner Pamela Robinson. The editors believe that to create more sustainable cities, municipal politicians and planners will increasingly need to take a community’s social capital and their engagement into account when making decisions.

“The need has never been greater for cities to lead the way towards sustainable development,” says Dale, a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability. “It is particularly important that they mobilize their considerable talent and resources for climate change adaptation and mitigation. If you get sustainability right, then reductions in climate change impacts also follow.”

Dale wrote a chapter in the book, co-authored another and penned the introduction and conclusion. Her solo chapter, United We Can – A Street Charity that Makes a Difference, explores the organization that offers homeless people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside the opportunity to work collecting bottles and connect meaningfully to their community.

“Spatial justice within the city is important,” Dale says. “Access to the same ecological, social and economic capital for all communities makes the difference for all neighbourhoods from getting by through basic survival to getting ahead and thriving.”

In the book, Dale also develops the concept of first, second and third generation sustainable development responses. She provides a history of the first and second generation responses and describes the third generation that is now emerging.

Urban Sustainability: Reconnecting Space and Place is published by the University of Toronto Press and available from



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