Municipal and regional governments in Canada formulate future land use policies for their communities within the 20-year framework of Official Community Plans (OCPs). The scope of OCPs include: housing, transportation, parks, infrastructure, economic development and the natural and social environment. However, OCPs and other conventional planning tools have not been able to effectively address the complex issues, technological shifts and socio-cultural transformation required for real sustainability.

Thus in 2005, as an outcome of climate change concerns and the Federal Gas Tax Agreement, the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) framework was created to help communities realize their environmental, cultural and socio-economic sustainability goals. ICSPs have a broader scope that is action-oriented and focused on collaborative thinking and community partnerships. A number of municipalities and First Nations communities across Canada have already been engaged in an ICSP process, with funding from the Gas Tax.

Avalon’s SHIFT sustainability framework and community planning approaches are ideally suited to an ICSP process. For more than a decade, Avalon has worked to evolve its comprehensive sustainability model, progressive planning process and innovative design-build approaches.  Our in-depth understanding of the green market, sustainable practices and impact assessment methods enable our clients to effectively set and implement their community development goals.  Avalon utilizes back-casting techniques as well as GIS mapping analysis and 3D visualization.  We educate our clients with many sustainable settlement designs and environmental management solutions. Avalon has also developed integrated systems for clean energy, green building technologies and agri-landscapes. 

We operationalize current thinking on community capacity building, as an alliance of professionals, civic leaders, entrepreneurs and active citizens. Avalon's governance and management model uses a progressive roundtable approach and consultative decision-making methods.  In ICSP planning processes we form stakeholder committees engaging seven sectors of the economy and community life (corresponding to Avalon’s branches). These committees are guided by our professional consultants who consolidate the input of participants into a strategic report for consideration by Council. Proposed ICSP Action Plan initiatives can be brought to actual implementation through inter-agency collaboration and by forming a regional Avalon membership chapter. This network of community partners, sponsors, investors and volunteers become a force for positive change. Our Ethical Marketplace business and industry affiliates also provide entrepreneurial strength to community development and environmental stewardship efforts.


Avalon can tailor its Integrated Community Sustainability Planning services to international city regions that are seeking more comprehensive, innovative approaches focused on collaborative action.  We support Garden City initiatives worldwide that want to create organic agriculture belts around their urban centre.  Ecovillage development nodes at the rural fringe can be connected to the city centre by solar-electric light rail.  Watershed conservation zones can be established to restore vital natural resources and wildlife habitats in the region.

Avalon’s Global Millennium design-build theme responds to United Nations Initiatives to meet the global challenges of the 21st Century, particularly poverty eradication, social justice and sustainable development in many parts of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. More than a billion people now live in overcrowded urban slums, which lack basic services such as clean water, sanitation and security against violence and crime. Avalon can design affordable, safe and culturally appropriate housing and servicing infrastructure.  We utilize local materials, renewable forms of energy, and ecological water and waste treatment technologies.


While Integrated Community Sustainability Plans are an optimal framework for comprehensive change, Avalon also offers other consulting and project management services for Municipalities, Regional Districts, First Nations, Agencies and NGOs, including:

  • Sustainability review for Official Community Plans (OCPs), other planning policies, zoning by-laws & design guidelines.
  • Assessment of land use capabilities, environmental impacts & social suitability.
  • Renewable energy opportunities evaluation, transition strategies & district energy systems.
  • Watershed restoration & ecosystems management.
  • Parks development & greenways planning.
  • Natural & cultural heritage conservation strategies for projects and regions.
  • Innovative settlement design & growth management strategies.
  • Municipal quality of life studies & state of the environment reporting.
  • Healthy communities policies & programs that jointly address environmental, socio-economic & public health.
  • Town centre & neighbourhood revitalization plans.
  • Imaginative design & visual art for streetscapes & other civic spaces (Paint the Town program).
  • Public interest research, advocacy, partnerships, education & demonstration projects.
  • Climate change action projects.
  • Sustainable transportation studies 
  • Green waste management systems & reclamation technologies.
  • Affordable, mixed & other socially progressive forms of green housing development.
  • Natural resource stewardship practices.
  • Community & rooftop garden projects.

Please contact us directly to learn more about how your community can participate in Avalon's ICSP process. For communites that have completed an ICSP strategy, we can help you implement your Action Plans. We can also facilitate access to global green city resources such as United Nations programs and the Sustainable Cities International Network.