140 North American experts at urban sustainability talks

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Toronto hosting major peer-to-peer network officials

TORONTO: A peer-to-peer network of municipal government professionals from more than 140 cities in North America is meeting in Toronto from October 16 to 20.

The City of Toronto is hosting the meeting of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN),  involved in creating a healthier environment, economic prosperity and increased social equity. The network enables members to share knowledge, expertise and best practices, and accelerate the application of good ideas in their cities.

“Toronto consistently ranks as one of the most livable, sustainable and resilient cities in North America,” said Mayor John Tory. “Cities are often the first to adapt to new challenges and they play a critical role in improving environmental, economic, and social conditions for residents. Through initiatives such as the Towering Challenge, which will reduce the amount of waste from apartment and condo buildings heading to landfills, and creating complete neighbourhoods with parks, bike lanes and affordable housing, I remain committed to using innovative solutions to achieve our environmental goals.”

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Ambitious goals

“The City of Toronto’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in a variety of ambitious goals and targets, including a new long-term waste strategy and an aspirational goal of becoming a zero waste community; doubling of the tree canopy; a 10-year plan to connect, grow and renew cycling infrastructure; and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050”, a statement from the City said.

Highlights of Toronto’s progress include 94,700 trees planted on public land, 1,150 kilometres of cycling infrastructure, a deep lake water-cooling system that cuts energy use by 90 per cent, a 24-per-cent reduction in community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and the avoidance of 115,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually through the Toronto Green Standard.

Through a variety of tours and presentations during the USDN event, the City will showcase key initiatives including green development, green roofs and biodiversity; deep lake water cooling and district energy systems; parks, ravines and urban wilderness; neighbourhood and transportation planning initiatives; waterfront renewal; and campus revitalizations.

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Information about Toronto’s environmental goals and progress can be found in the 2015 Toronto Environment Progress Report at http://www.toronto.ca/environmentalprogress.  More information about the Urban Sustainability Directors Network is available at http://bit.ly/MlLq33. – CINEWS

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