Here are some features that make a neighbourhood more sustainable:

A village atmosphere:

        

Byward market
ByWard Market, Ottawa, Ontario

Streets are for people, not just for cars. The human scale of the streets and slow speed of the cars make them comfortable, safe and pleasant places to walk. Homes and shops have a friendly face to the street. You can stop and chat with neighbours at the shops, by the front porch or at a nearby park. Neighbours can meet each other along the street, and children can play safely, like in a village.

Value for money:

A neighbourhood is only sustainable if you can find a home that meets your needs at a price or rent you can afford. But consider long-term expenses too. Living in a neighbourhood where you can drive less, or not need a car, can save you money. You can also reduce heating and cooling costs if you live in a compact home with shared walls, such as a townhouse, semi-detached home or apartment. A smaller home and a smaller lot also means less money and time on upkeep.

Did you know
The average annual cost to own and operate a car in Canada is over $9,000. If you can eliminate the need for a second car, drive less or avoid having a car at all, that's money in your pocket.
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How do real neighbourhoods compare for whether people can get by with fewer cars or drive less? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

How do real neighbourhoods compare for monthly costs to rent or own a home? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

How do real neighbourhoods compare for the size of homes? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

Garrison woods, calgary, alberta photo credit: canada lands company
Garrison Woods, Calgary, Alberta. Photo Credit: Canada Lands Company

              
Did you know

A two-storey detached home loses 20% more heat than a semi-detached one and 50% more than a middle home in a row of townhouses of the same size with the same heating system, insulation and windows.

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The costs to service a house (build and maintain roads, water systems, etc.) are higher in spread-out and new areas than in compact and built-up ones.

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A place where you can make your daily trips on foot, bike or bus:

Kitsilano, vancouver, british columbia
Kitsilano, Vancouver, British Columbia

Shopping, schools, recreation and public transit are available within a short walk from home so you don't have to use your car every time you go out. Street trees also make it a pleasant place to walk. A mixed-use neighbourhood is also a good place to have a home business because photocopy shops, supply stores and meeting places, like coffee shops, are nearby. By living close to your work, you can get there easily by bus, foot, bike or a short car ride. This means spending less time in traffic. It's also good for your health, pocket book and the environment.

How do real neighbourhoods compare for how close are the homes to schools, jobs and other daily destinations? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

How do real neighbourhoods compare for whether people get by with fewer cars or drive less? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

Did you know
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, like walking or biking, to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke. Where homes are within walking distance of stores and other services, people are 2.4 times more likely to meet the 30-minute minimum than those in homes that are not within a convenient or pleasant walk to stores/services.
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A safe neighbourhood:

A friendly neighbourhood means that people look out for each other. Homes close to the sidewalk with porches and windows out front allow you to keep an eye on the street. A mix of homes, shops and offices means that the neighbourhood is active throughout the day and evening. Also, traffic is less frequent and slower, making it safe for children to play. Bike lanes are provided for safety.

           
     

Walking school bus, an initiative of go for green. photo credit: Go for Green
Walking School Bus, an initiative of Go for Green. Photo Credit: Go for Green

   
                                                                                                         
Did you know
                                                                                               
Transit service is more frequent and convenient in compact communities than it is in spread-out ones.
         
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A neighbourhood you can stay in:

Montréal, quebec
Montréal, Quebec

A neighbourhood that offers a variety of housing choices ranging from apartments and condos to townhomes, duplexes and semi- or single-detached houses, is a neighbourhood you can stay in throughout life's changes. As your age, family and income change, you can still find a suitable home in the same neighbourhood, where you have put down roots.

How do real neighbourhoods compare for housing choice? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

A green neighbourhood that preserves the countryside:

Because compact neighbourhoods use land efficiently, natural and rural areas outside your community are also preserved for farming, wildlife, and recreation.

Did you know
Trees shading your house can make it feel cooler in the summer. Healthy trees also increase your property value. They intercept rainwater, improve air quality, and make streets and public spaces more comfortable and attractive.
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Dundonald park, ottawa, ontario
Dundonald Park, Ottawa, Ontario

Did you know
Asphalt surfaces, like parking lots, can make urban areas hotter than the surrounding countryside in the summer. With less asphalt surface, neighbourhoods are more attractive and land-efficient. In mixed-use neighbourhoods, fewer parking spots are needed because places with high daytime needs, like offices, are close enough to share parking with places that need more parking at night, like homes and restaurants.
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A healthy place to live in:

Walking and cycling improves your physical health. Less stress from traffic congestion is also healthier, and less driving means the air is cleaner. Nature is preserved as much as possible; streams and forests left in their natural state are part of the community, with trails to make them accessible.

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Cars are a major source of smog in urban areas. So driving less helps everyone's health, particularly children, the elderly and people at risk of cardio respiratory problems.

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Did you know
                                                     
           

Half of the greenhouse gases from energy use by individual Canadians come from passenger road transportation, like cars. In the Toronto area, greenhouse gases from weekday passenger travel generated by people living in mixed-use, pedestrian and transit-friendly neighbourhoods near the urban core are about 1/3 of those by people living in dispersed, strictly residential neighbourhoods on the urban fringe.

           
   
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How do real neighbourhoods compare for greenhouse gas emissions produced from weekday driving? Select the city that interests you:

Vancouver Calgary Toronto Ottawa Montréal

A place that keeps freshwater clean:

Streets and properties with fewer paved surfaces and more vegetation means that there are more places for rainwater to soak back naturally into the soil. This means that rainwater is returned to the groundwater and streams at a natural, slow rate. This keeps water clean.

Did you know
Stormwater ponds and green areas that slow water down or let it soak in, reduce demand for costly sewers and water treatment.
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