Photo: Urban planning solutions

In some parts of Canada sprawl is the largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions. (Credit: Carnotzet via Flickr.)

Sprawl consumes large quantities of land, segregates houses from shops and workplaces, increases car use, and negatively affects the natural environment. In some parts of Canada sprawl is the largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, most Canadians do not personally build the houses, streets, schools, parks or water lines that make cities possible. But we can set the rules for building sustainable cities and help make the plans that determine how we get to work, school and shopping.

The David Suzuki Foundation's report Understanding Sprawl and its toolkit encourage communities to reshape urban areas. We need more dense and compact cities, with better bike paths and pedestrian friendly walkways.

Learn more:

Understanding Sprawl contains a toolkit called Driven to Action to help citizens protect their communities from sprawling development. It consists of the following:

  • Getting started: A brief overview of what you can do to stop sprawl in your neighbourhood.
  • Sprawl facts: Learn why sprawl is a problem.
  • Shaping decisions (PDF): Find out how to contact politicians and decision-makers and express your concerns.
  • Working with the media (PDF): Tips on how to get your message in the news.
  • Tools: Examples of tools to help you get started.

Other resources:

  • Ontario Smart Growth Network: The Ontario Smart Growth Network brings together organizations that are working together to stop urban sprawl and promote sustainable communities across Ontario.
  • SmartGrowthBC: Excellent info on smart growth and citizen involvement.
  • Sprawl Busters: An international clearinghouse on big box, anti-sprawl information.
  • Sierra Club: Information and further links on sprawl.
  • West Coast Environmental Law: This organization provides information on how law in British Columbia can be used to promote smart growth.

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