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Imagining my sustainable community, Canada

10 January, 2023 - In a context where 70% of global carbon emissions come from how we build and live in our communities while there is a complete lack of curriculum on how to build sustainable cities, the Alstom Foundation partnered with No.9 The Culture of Sustainability in October 2022 to implement an integrated program enabling ecological awareness into Grades 7-10 classrooms in Ontario.

As an introduction to sustainable urban planning and architecture, innovative art and design, the objective was to guide students with the support of design mentors and create a scale model of their sustainable city using key Sustainable Development pillars such as waste and water management, public transportation, alternative energy, green building design, urban agriculture, etc. At the end of the program, the students had the opportunity to showcase their finished scale model to politicians, public and municipal representatives.  

Two kids pointing at sustainable community diorama
Students building their own sustainable community project - © ALSTOM Foundation © N°9 February 12th 2014. Barbara Lilker. All Rights reserved.

During 2023, 12 four-day educational programs in sustainable design were delivered to 334 students in various schools of Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa cities. The project was successful in bringing environmental awareness as many of these students acknowledge that they learned a lot on the impact any city or building has on wildlife and people, on what sustainable development means and on positive change, sometimes just with little modifications. Students at the Odessa Public School for instance presented their work to parents, school staff, Township Counsellors, and other guests in March 2023.

The Township selected 3 initiatives for implementation consideration: A reading garden, a rainbow crosswalk and a purple multi-use pathway including biking, all chosen for their alignment with existing capital programs. In October 2023 these projects were formally presented to the Council with students advocating for their initiatives, and the Council approved the plan! Congrats to all these students showing a great example of civic and environmental engagement.    

Student speaking at microphone
Student speaker presenting their project to city representatives and the public - © ALSTOM Foundation © N°9 September 11th 2014. Yvonne Bambrick. All Rights reserved.