University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) is guided by a four pillared concept of sustainability − environmental, social, economic and cultural − and is mandated to move beyond the traditional inward direction of universities to develop partnerships with community, private and public sector organizations.
Creating a truly sustainable campus includes ensuring development considers the local and global responsibility to protect the health and well-being of people and the environment. A Sustainability Management System ensures that potential ecological impacts are factored in all UWCRC development decisions.
• The short-term goal is to be Kyoto compliant while the long-term goal is to achieve zero net green gas emissions.
• All building and development projects include targets for energy efficiency, leading-edge environmental technologies and ultimately, Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Silver or Gold certification.
• The focus is on development of a highly integrated green community in all areas of sustainability from energy and water consumption to site definition, green material selection, green products, indoor air quality and transportation.
• A thriving local economy, where goods and services are available on or nearby campus and are locally sourced as much as possible, supports lower greenhouse gas emissions and active transportation.
• This model supports the attraction and fostering of a community of students, tenants and educators who are committed to a sustainable environment.
For a community to be socially sustainable, everyone must be included in a way that helps them overcome barriers to achieve access to basic services such as education, employment, healthcare, childcare and housing. The UWCRC follows this principle by working closely with community partners, health and civic agencies to help ensure needs are met and opportunities realized for its diverse downtown community. This approach includes:
• Creating a high quality living experience for individual students, students with families and community residents.
• Creation of opportunities that are helping people transcend barriers they may have experienced in attaining meaningful education, employment and overall well-being.
• Ensuring that UWinnipeg’s student and tenant population and services reflect and support the demographic of the downtown community which comprises of a large percentage of Aboriginal and New Canadians.
• Expand health and recreation availability in the inner-city (United Health and RecPlex) through a community charter that focuses on the principles of inclusion, accessibility, respect, openness, accountability, health, sustainability, healing and wellness.
Economic sustainability rests on the principle of shared wealth creation that focuses on narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. UWRC works to achieve this through the development of a vibrant and dynamic local economy that provides opportunities for employment with good wages and benefits, career advancement opportunities, employee ownership and fair trade practices. This includes:
• Ensuring that a portion of project development fees are returned to the university.
• A strong housing and business management model.
• Provision of employment and career advancement opportunities, fair wages and benefits to those who have previously experienced barriers to employment.
• A goal of employee-ownership for some business operations.
• Support of fair trade operators and practices by ensuring that more of the profit goes to the actual producer.
Culture defines who we are, brings people together and welcomes visitors and newcomers. UWCRC initiatives focus on achieving the objective of cultural sustainability by helping to enhance the quality of life and place and recognizing the needs of UWinnipeg’s diverse community.
• Project planning recognizes the unique needs of the downtown campus’ students and community, in particular the needs of those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to attend university.
• Academic programming, employment opportunities, housing and other services are helping create a participatory culture, free of barriers to academic achievement and civic engagement.
• Design of public spaces reflects a commitment to cultural sensitivities and ethno-centric and artistic expression including a focus on Aboriginal and contemporary art and space for Indigenous healing circles.
• Food services consider the needs of the diverse student, tenant and community population, providing traditional foods and recognizing ethnic food sensitivities.