Story of Durham-A

It is 2040; the Durham Region is characterized by urbanization and adaptation. From early 2000 to 2030 the regional population grew drastically. Most of the housing built to accommodate this growth was large single-family homes in sprawling suburban communities. The price of gas, water and energy was relatively low at the time, so there was little incentive for homebuilders to adopt conservation methods during the construction phase. Shortly after 2030, resource availability decreased and prices started to rise drastically. Many Durham residents realized they could no longer afford their resource intensive lifestyles and habits. As result of these increasing costs, citizens’ standard of living, lifestyle and habits have change (e.g. there is less travel and long-distance commuting to work in the GTA) and there is more sharing of resources. Resulting in growing local entrepreneurial and job opportunities.

To support smart decision-making while adjusting to this “new normal” the Region relies on research and data to drive policy. Local government is working with residents and businesses to provide education programs and incentives to encourage conservation, consumer awareness and responsibility. Media and various communication platforms are being used to promote a shift in values so that adopting sustainable lifestyles is the easy choice. Large water consumers are penalized and new incentives for water conservation are introduced, including real time water metering with varying time of use rates. Also, new urbanization policies curtail sprawl and new builds must be “in-fills” to increase densification in already built up areas and to preserve green space. The Regional authorities are focused on providing access to a safe water supply and improved stormwater management to minimize wastewater (e.g. grey water re-use, green roofs, rain water use, permeable pavement, etc.). In 2040, there are local ordinances that ban lawn irrigation. In fact, lawns are heavily discouraged and instead native plants are encouraged.

Story of Green and Grey

In 2040, the governance model for the Region of Durham has evolved so that there are opportunities for bottom-up decision-making, which is facilitated and implemented through a top-down approach. This governance model is made possible by engaged citizens using technology to improve communication between community groups and individuals to build trust, promote transparency, accountability and to share information.

The Region of Durham is balancing its investment in local greenspaces (e.g. the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine and Rouge National Urban Park); it’s committed to watershed management with development to meet a growing population. To promote wise development there are numerous opportunities for genuine communication and collaboration between developers and concerned community members. The Region of Durham is also focused on “Clean Green” (i.e. clean energy and its waste implications).

The Region supports both green and grey infrastructure so that people and goods can move easily and so that ecosystem systems and services are respected. To be resilient in times of flooding or drought there is an active and ongoing approach to sustainability within the Region. Regulations and financial incentives/taxes are used to promote the widespread adoption of low impact development techniques (e.g. permeable pavement, green roofs, increased tree canopy, etc.). Durham also hosts community exchanges for citizens to engage their fellow community members in best practices, to overcome apathy and promote a values shift.


Canadian Water Network
RBC Blue Water