Living Cities

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society has been working with Green Communities Canada to transform a portion of the schoolyard at Howard Coad Community School in Saskatoon into a native plant garden and outdoor learning space.

On June 8, 2024, over 50 volunteers from the Mount Royal community and beyond used
their hearts and hands to put the plants in the ground. Volunteers prepared and created pathways of crusher dust and mulch, amended mounded planting beds with compost, and planted the shrubs, grasses, and other prairie plants. The result is a biodiverse urban greenspace, which aligns with SES’s goal of building a sustainable future through tangible actions, including the preservation of important habitats, protection of water sources, and the implementation of innovative climate solutions. Read the press release here.

WHY DOES GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE MATTER?

Cities are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Overland flooding and extreme heat are two of the most acute climate impacts in cities, and both are projected to become more intense. This is driven by both climate-related extreme weather and the conventional approach to urban development, where cities are created by displacing natural systems like forests, grasslands, and wetlands with buildings, roads, and other hardened surfaces.

Not everyone in cities is affected in the same way. Often, urban areas with higher proportions of underserved populations, such as low-income, Black, Indigenous, and other residents of colour are less likely to have trees and green spaces than other neighbourhoods. This means populations that are already the most likely to experience systemic discrimination are also more likely to suffer the worst impacts of climate change and miss out on numerous other benefits of green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure is one of many intersecting tangible actions that can mitigate the impacts of climate change, build local resiliency, and make our communities more vibrant and healthy places to live. Green infrastructure weaves natural features (e.g., gardens, trees, permeable pavement, etc.) into the built environment, providing stormwater management, lessening temperatures, and creating a physical barrier to noise pollution. It has also been shown to improve neighbourhood safety, provide opportunities for recreation and physical activity, and promote a sense of wellbeing.