Podcast: People Behind the Plans

Sadhu Johnston

The City of Vancouver, British Columbia, has a lot to brag about. City manager Sadhu Johnston knows that many of its successes are due to smart, collaborative planning, such as the work the city did to get car trips to the current rate of 45 percent of all trips, down from 90 percent in the 1970s. There’s the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which Sadhu helped implement when he started in Vancouver; the plan seeks to set Vancouver apart as a global leader in sustainability efforts. It aims to reduce carbon emissions, add green jobs, and reverse urban tree canopy loss, among many other items.

But the city is also grappling with serious issues, such as the housing and opioid crises. Sadhu tells host Courtney Kashima, AICP, that the current average home price in Vancouver stands at $1.5 million, but the city council is taking action. Among the ground-breaking solutions they've implemented to stem the tide of rising housing costs are building modular housing — which take only three months to erect — and implementing an empty homes tax.

Courtney and Sadhu also discuss his time in Chicago, where he worked on the Chicago Climate Action Plan and helmed the Department of Environment, and before that, his time in Cleveland, where he worked with the Cleveland Green Building Coalition.

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