Baker District, Canada’s latest One Planet Community, is a partnership between by Windmill Development Group and the City of Guelph to create a thriving new community that further revitalises downtown Guelph, a mid-sized city in Ontario.

With a high-level One Planet Action Plan outlining its sustainability ambitions, Baker District was recognised by Bioregional as a Global Leader in One Planet Living in August 2020.

Bringing benefits to downtown Guelph

Baker District is transforming a municipal-owned car park into a vibrant new community, comprising residential, retail and community space – including a much-needed new central library.

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

While addressing all of 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.

One Planet Living is our vision of a world where we can live happily within the Earth’s resources, and a straightforward framework to achieve this
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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. We are confident that Baker District will be an exemplar for achieving One Planet Living in a smaller city.

Ben Gill, One Planet Living Consultant

Enabling sustainable lifestyles

Windmill Developments has a proven track record in delivering green developments, with another Global Leader in One Planet Living under its belt – Zibi in Ottawa/Gatineau. The City of Guelph has a strong history of supporting sustainable initiatives.

Baker District, therefore, is strongly committed to ensuring that sustainability goes beyond design and construction, with the community helping residents and visitors enjoy sustainable lives. This focus on reducing people’s ecological footprints is vital to achieving One Planet Living.

This is a journey that will involve the City, the library, the community, design professionals and the residents themselves, all learning how their collective choices can create a thriving community that minimizes its impact on the planet. From a sustainability perspective, development projects don’t get any more exciting than this!

Steve Dulmage, Baker District

Action plan

Leadership review