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Sustainable cities is pleased to launch our Infrastructure Costing Guide!

Infrastructure Costs + Urban Growth Management

As the world moves through its first 'urban century', with more people living in cities than in rural areas, city leaders are facing the challenges of rapid and, for some cities, unprecedented levels of growth. These challenges include environmental problems of air and water pollution and a decline in the functions of the natural systems on which the city relies. Unplanned or poorly planned growth also impacts the efficiency of the transportation system which in turn will impact the local economy as commercial vehicles and workers are caught in congested traffic. Meeting the infrastructure needs of a rapidly growing population can also overwhelm the capacity of a city to pay for new infrastructure while maintaining its existing stock of roads, water and wastewater facilities, schools and other public facilities and services. Tackling these problems begins with local governments and their stakeholders and citizens making better choices on growth management – how, when and where a city should grow.

One critical piece of information is often missing from the growth management puzzle. That is the impact on infrastructure costs of urban growth patterns at the regional or city-wide scale.

In a well-managed city, growth management decisions occur on an ongoing basis and at various geographical scales - from the region to the city to the neighborhood. Good decision making demands up to date, accurate and comprehensible information at the most appropriate scale on a wide range of issues including demographics, housing, employment, environmental impacts and public infrastructure requirements.

About the SCI Infrastructure Costing Guide

Our Guide has been written for practitioners and participants involved in urban growth management decisions at the city-wide or regional scale. By their nature, these decisions are not simple or routine. Getting to a good decision involves a wide variety of actors and stakeholders from many different sectors and professions – engineers, architects, land use planners, politicians, land developers and home builders, citizens and stakeholders. One of the greatest challenges in this type of work is to provide a 'level playing field' where participants can get to a shared understanding of each other's professional perspectives relative to the decision at hand. To facilitate this, the Guide provides links to books and papers that focus on foundational information (not highly technical) that will help to improve the process of good growth management decision making for a more diverse and better informed audience. The Guide is written in a non-technical style to encourage use by this diverse audience.

Would your city, town or region like a workshop and / or consulting support to complete a costing exercise?

Cities interested in learning more about how to apply infrastructure costing to their cities should contact Patricia Gordon, SCI Cities Network Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Edna Aguinaga at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This Guide was made possible with funding from Siemens Canada. The work also received the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Special thanks to Elise Rocque of Rocque Creative for the design of the guide.

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