Credit: Flickr / thelastminute

New report considers sustainability challenges in Canadian cities, from transportation and energy to water and social issues

The Sustainable Cities Challenge in Canada report released last week shows Canadian urban areas are dealing with a range of long-term and interlinked challenges. The report, sponsored by Siemens Canada Ltd., took input from city employees, senior managers and heads of NGOs, business executives working in the urban infrastructure field and university academics. Key findings included:

* Transportation and water management issues are considered the most serious environmental problems facing cities.

* Housing and poverty are the most pressing social issues.

* Only one-half of experts think that when making infrastructure investments their cities place high importance on making the city competitive to attract private investment.

The report is meant as a launching point for discussion, focusing more on listing challenges across Canada rather than suggesting solutions that might apply to specific cities. But Siemens Canada president Roland Aurich emphasized that when looking at infrastructure challenges, sustainable solutions don't necessarily cost more:

"It doesn’t necessarily require a bigger investment. Technology can make energy usage more efficient. You get an immediate payback on things you don’t need to pay for anymore."