Winnipeg's Energy Descent Action Plan
In 2012, Transition Winnipeg initiated a community visioning exercise to help the network imagine what a low-carbon future might look like for the city of Winnipeg. We began by asking subject matter experts how they think we could manage a turn away from fossil fuel.
Since fossil fuel is embedded in just about everything, we needed opinions from experts in food, energy, transportation, urban planning, economics, and community & society. From there, one author per subject collected ideas before seeking public feedback on the plan. Finally, we refined our lengthy list of ideas into the current concise document.
We decided not to conceive of the EDAP as a static "plan" but rather as an evolving visioning document with demonstration projects to use as a springboard for action.
So what does a resilient Winnipeg look like? Here's what we heard:
It is a network of thriving, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood is organized around a rapid transit hub, a local marketplace, and a handful of local education and cultural centres. High-density residential neighbourhoods feature passive solar housing and a variety of welcoming public spaces, powered by biomass, solar, or geothermal district heating and cooling.
A Winnipeg that is powered by a decentralized, renewable, low-carbon energy grid will be resilient to climate change. A well-designed transportation system – prioritizing transit, active transportation and shared vehicles – connects our neighbourhoods and efficiently moves people and goods without being carbon intensive.
Entrepreneurs, small businesses, social enterprises, and cooperatives form the backbone of a dynamic local economy. Our city’s economy is diverse and largely self-reliant. We use local materials, capital and labour to provide meaningful employment, meet local needs, and promote local trade. We witness a community agriculture renaissance, which reduces the carbon footprint of our food system, rejuvenates depleted soils, promotes health, and creates opportunities for meaningful work.
Socially and culturally, Winnipeggers strive to improve their individual and collective well-being rather than pursue consumption and economic growth as the panacea for all challenges. We prize materially simpler lifestyles centered on sharing and mutual support.
Politically, we pursue associative neighbourhood governance systems, participatory budgeting, and cooperative economic development. City and provincial governments support a diversity of transformative activities through appropriate policies and incentive programs.
Winnipeg can be a truly resilient northern city that thrives amid the challenges of the 21st century.
Download "Winnipeg's Great Transition: Ideas and actions for a resilient, low-carbon city"