Dockside Green Is Different

In business, differentiation is everything; we all know this. We all know that. We build business strategies around that concept. We get it, or do we really? Have we actually forgotten what it means to be different? A commitment to differentiation is intimidating. That takes a commitment to innovation.

The world needs innovation; the kind of innovation that creates great products; the kind of innovation that creates a better world – the world we all want to live in. Few cities in the world can compete with New York for diversity. 520 miles of shoreline – more than Chicago, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle combined. The city is embraced by two powerful tidal rivers the Hudson and the East River. It has two major bays, Long Island Sound and the Atlantic.

But as the mayor, Michael Bloomberg once said: “At some point in our history, we literally and figuratively turned our back on the waterfront.” He is determined that New York reconnect with its water. New York faces daunting days ahead.


“The water is the connective tissue of this place – we see it as our sixth borough,” said Amanda Burden, the city’s chief planner. “The ambition is to make New York City once again one of the world’s great harbor cities and to reclaim the water as a part of New Yorkers everyday lives.”

Dockside Green is a continent away, on the Pacific Ocean in Victoria British Columbia in an entirely different world. A LEED® ND Platinum project, it is created around the principles of smart growth, green building and sustainable community design in harmony with nature. It is the heart stopping eco community the world is talking about. A showpiece of sustainable design and technology, Dockside Green is a mixed use harbourfront community based on shared values and innovative amenities that help create a true sense of community, of belonging.

Just how different is Dockside Green? Dockside’s vision is for a socially vibrant, ecologically restorative, economically sound and just community. In the first place, it tied for the world record for the most points ever achieved under the LEED® Platinum rating system in the new building category. This award winning development includes residential, live/work, retail, office, light industrial uses and extensive public play areas and cultural centres.

Eventually, it will include 26 buildings totalling 1.3 million square feet, and be home to about 2,500 people in three neighbourhoods – Dockside Wharf to start, followed by Dockside Commons and Dockside Village. “We believe in the building and growth of communities,” said Kelly O’Brian, Operations and Marketing manager with developer Vancity. “With that comes a responsibility to ensure all aspects of a holistic approach to development are considered and given equal billing. Dockside Green is a triple bottom line development with shared focus on economic, environmental and social goals.”

Dockside was the first development in North America to attempt a master-planned community to this scale with such a strong focus on sustainability. Anytime you are a leader in an industry you will run into roadblocks and learn lessons along the way…you’re cutting the path. For example in our first phase Synergy we opted to include motion sensor lighting in common areas, bathrooms and closets. While this worked well in the common areas an issue arose with this lighting in the bathrooms and closets with the lights turning off while the room is occupied or turning on repeatedly if the sensor was activated by a pet.

Due to the constant overuse and unsuitable ballast installation the lights often failed. We remedied this situation with replacing all the sensors with standard light switches in each suite. It was costly, but because it was an issue related to design we therefore felt it was our responsibility to bear the entire cost of the remediation. And yet, O’Brian said, “Keeping with the Triple Bottom Line theme having some or all of the below factors in the mix makes for a profitable, community-supported sustainable development… We strongly believe in placing equal value on each of the triple bottom line principles – each initiative (environmental, social, economic) balance/boost the other. Having a social, environmental and economic ‘conscience’ has been, in our experience, a proven recipe for success.”

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