WIT Press

Evaluating local sustainability: Planning in northern British Columbia, Canada


Free (open access)

Paper DOI



Volume 9 (2014), Issue 6



Page Range

739 - 753




Local governments in British Columbia have been presented with an opportunity to become more sustainable through the development of Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs). These are broad overarching documents aimed at guiding all community decision making towards environment, social, and economic sustainability. This article explores these planning efforts, focusing on the development of the City of Prince George ICSP. Ten key dimensions for sustainable city development developed by Jeffrey Kenworthy are used as evaluative criteria to explore the effectiveness of the Prince George ICSP in promoting the complex topic of sustainability to residents and decision makers. An 11th criterion, related to climate change, is also added to Kenworthy’s dimensions. The results of this evaluative research show positive activities in moving towards mixed-use and compact development; integrating natural elements into the urban landscape; developing a communication plan which engages and educates the public; and considering local and regional climate change impacts. Attention needs to be focused towards improving multimodal transportation development and creating a more high-quality public realm. Using Kenworthy’s dimensions to evaluate the plans has proven to be a worthwhile exercise revealing sustainability strengths and weaknesses. As sustainability planning is relatively new in northern cities and towns, this assessment will help other northern and rural communities to guide their own plans.



Climate change, environmental planning, evaluative criteria, local government, municipal planning, sustainability