Baker District, Canada’s latest One Planet Community, is a partnership by Windmill Developments and the City of Guelph. Comprising residential, retail and community space including a much-needed new library, it is set to become a thriving new community that further revitalises downtown Guelph, a small city in Ontario.

Bioregional created the internationally recognised One Planet Living framework following our involvement in developing the iconic BedZED eco-village in south London in 2002. One Planet Living comprises 10 simple principles that cover all aspects of sustainability.

Bringing benefits to downtown Guelph

It’s designed to benefit the wider city as well as the people who live there by creating jobs, improving local amenities, and provide high-quality, sustainable housing. The development also aims to set a precedent for future local sustainable communities.

While addressing all One Planet Living’s ten principles, the project is particularly focused on three areas:

  • Local and sustainable food: Guelph is already known as a sustainable food hub. The development is already collaborating with initiatives in the local food community, as well as promoting urban agriculture.
  • Travel and transport: there’s a highly ambitious 40% reduction in parking provision compared to City standards, with a residential car parking ratio of 0.7 spaces per home. This is incredibly low for a mid-size city in North America. Cycling and car-sharing facilities will be provided
  • Zero carbon energy: The project is targeting zero carbon through a range of strategies including improved envelope design and renewable energy sources that include onsite solar panels.

Ben Gill, One Planet Living manager says:

“We are impressed by Baker District’s commitment to revitalising a brownfield location to create a community where sustainable living is the norm and nature can thrive. It’s approach to transport and food is especially impressive.

There are some areas that require further detail before construction begins in 2021, including its approach to embodied carbon and how it will create a community engaged with sustainability. But with a clear commitment to develop these strategies in timely fashion, we’re confident that Baker District will be an exemplar for achieving One Planet Living in a smaller city.”

Alex Speigel, Partner, Windmill Developments says:

“Baker District strongly aligns with the city’s aspirations, with an acute focus on zero carbon, sustainable food production, and sustainable transportation.

“Following in Guelph’s green tradition, the transformative redevelopment of the Baker District will be a model of urban intensification, showcasing sustainability and civic participation in an effort to reshape Guelph’s downtown."

The City of Guelph is also home to the first Green Member of the Provincial Parliament in Ontario.

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