"In an increasingly urban world it is really easy to lose touch with the benefits of living natural infrastructure. An old Bruce Cockburn tune says 'if you stare at too much concrete you forget the earth is alive'. Supporting the green infrastructure movement is important to improving our quality of life" said Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director, Landscape Ontario.
The project involved the development of the Green Infrastructure Cost-Benefit Matrix a tool that summarizes fifteen generic forms of green infrastructure within a standardized cost-benefit metric of dollar per square metre valuation of their respective costs and benefits. The project focused on big picture aggregate level estimating to provoke discussions around the tangible benefits of green infrastructure derived from peer-reviewed literature. The values derived in the Cost-Benefit Matrix were all then applied to areas in different communities that are redesigned in a one-day design charrette.
Design charrettes were held in four locations and engaged six participating cities (Vaughan, Oshawa, London, Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton) in the redesign of eleven neighbourhoods using green infrastructure at the conceptual neighbourhood scale. The full day events drew upon the experience and expertise of selected attendees to re-envision selected sites within their communities using living green infrastructure such as trees, bioswales, green roofs and green walls. The project has resulted eleven conceptual neighnourhood redesigns with a new vision for each community using green infrastructure as the central design intervention, as well as the correlating aggregate level cost and benefit estimates associated with moving forward on implementing that vision.
"This innovative report provides visual images of intensive Green Infrastructure in more than five Ontario communities as well as estimates of costs, job creation potential and ten additional benefits," said Steven Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities/ Co-Founder of Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition.
By coupling the economic costs and benefits with a solid vision of green infrastructure’s place in future development and redevelopment of our communities this project has made a unique contribution to the understanding of how to make our communities healthier, more resilient and sustainable in Ontario and beyond.