Integrating Ecological Infrastructure In Regional Planning: A Methodological Case Study From The Calgary Region Of Western Canada
Free (open access)
M. S. Quinn & M. E. Tyler
The Calgary region of south western Alberta, Canada, like other areas of western North America, is experiencing dramatic population growth. The cumulative effects of rapid urbanization and land use intensification, specifically related to water use in a semi-arid region, are poorly understood. But, this needs to be considered in sustainable land use planning and policy development at a regional scale. There is a growing awareness among the municipalities in the Calgary area that a coordinated inter-municipal ‘partnership’ approach is needed to address long term regional growth management. We present an innovative methodology to incorporate landscape ecology and ecological infrastructure into strategic policy planning for regional development. Our approach involves the identification of critical ecological infrastructure related to landscape hydrology, the development of ecological performance criteria and preferred spatial development patterns related to landscape heterogeneity and connectivity and ecological infrastructure capacity. The methodology incorporates current urban ecology and landscape ecology thinking and encompasses both the ‘gray’ and ‘green’ infrastructure needs necessary to support regional population growth patterns. Three methodological tools are used to spatially ‘link’ ecological infrastructure performance, landscape heterogeneity and land use change over time. The methodology will be coupled with cellular automata scenario modelling at a watershed scale. The paper demonstrates key principles by focusing on two critical ecological facets of the Calgary area’s regional landscape: landscape connectivity and landscape hydrology. Keywords: ecological infrastructure, regional planning, sustainability, landscape management, ecological performance criteria, growth management, ecological design.
ecological infrastructure, regional planning, sustainability, landscape management, ecological performance criteria, growth management, ecological design.