Depaving “liberates the soil”

Depave Paradise engages communities in a new approach to the urban landscape through the simple yet emotionally compelling act of “liberating the soil” – using power tools to tear up the old grey concrete jungle and make way for new green landscapes.

That’s empowerment!

Native species, especially trees, will be planted to act as filters and sponges for polluted stormwater/runoff and restore the natural hydrological cycle.

Depave Paradise is a project of RAIN Community Solutions.

Depave Paradise – tearing up pavement to liberate the soil!

Depave Paradise – tearing up pavement to liberate the soil!

The primal act of depaving captures attention and helps communities understand the value of ecological approaches to stormwater management. It engages people throughout the community – home owners, businesses, institutions, governments – in replacing hard surfaces with greenspace and adopting the other strategies for onsite stormwater retention, filtering, and infiltration that are promoted by our RAIN program.

All activities will produce direct benefits for the urban ecosystem while pointing the way for transformative change, and building awareness and support. Our program design is based on the great success of Depave, based in Portland, Oregon, which is providing us with the benefits of four years of hard-won experience. Since 2007, Depave has liberated the soil under more than 60,000 sq. ft. of hard surfaces, and now hosts events (entirely volunteer driven) almost every weekend in the summer. Depave has generously provided a free webinar on the topic, and a Free the Soil manual, and will assist in our training. Visit:

The project engages hearts and minds, bringing people together around a common vision of a restored urban ecology. It makes connections between diverse local partners and individuals, from municipal public works, to neighbourhood associations, to environmental organizations, to local businesses, schools and faith communities. Depave dramatizes the direct connection between what we do on the land and the health of our local waterways.

Essentially we will be building a community of practice that will help us keep tabs on emerging issues in stormwater management, depaving, and urban forestry so that we will be able to continue addressing them in innovative, community-based ways like depaving.

Key partners include:

  • Depave/City Repair (Portland, Oregon) which will provide training/mentoring, implementation manual.
  • LEAF – Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (Toronto) which will provide urban forestry experience, tree labelling information and use of tree benefits calculator.
  • Local delivery partners will include: LEAF (Toronto); Green Venture (Hamilton); REEP Green Solutions (Kitchener-Waterloo); Environment Network (Collingwood); Greening Nipissing (North Bay); Hearthmakers (Kingston)

Funders include:

  • North American Partnership for Environmental Cooperation (NAPECA)
  • Metcalf Foundation
  • EJLB Foundation
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