Green Communities Canada is proud to announce the launch of the “Transform Stream” of the Living Cities Fund, made possible by a significant funding commitment through the TD Ready Challenge.

We are one of 10 charitable organizations across North America to receive $1 million to implement innovative, impactful, and measurable solutions to assist communities disproportionately affected by climate change, and advance transitions to a low-carbon economy.

The Living Cities Fund – Transform Stream will provide funding and support to community organizations across Canada to implement large-scale, equity-embedded, green infrastructure projects in neighbourhoods with high environmental and social need.

Each local partner organization will receive direct financial support, structured coaching and training, and resources to plan and implement unique local green infrastructure solutions that meet the needs of their community.

Prioritizing climate equity

The new stream will prioritize climate equity throughout, bringing nature back into neighbourhoods that need it most. The TD Ready Commitment will allow us to support 10 community organizations across Canada to transform at least 2,500 square meters of land into climate-resilient, nature-rich spaces through a variety of our time-tested initiatives including: depaving underutilized spaces; and installing mini forests, pollinator gardens, and rain gardens.

These organizations will work closely with local residents to identify priority sites within under-natured neighbourhoods, co-design green infrastructure projects and use their hands and hearts to bring them to life.

People engaged in planting a green space in a city

An urban planting event in progress.

This program will not only create new green infrastructure sites across Canada but will also catalyze the relationships and leadership necessary to ensure that green infrastructure becomes part of a long-term strategy. We will support our local partners in cultivating diverse alliances with residents, other civil society organizations, and municipal leaders so that momentum for green infrastructure grows, just like the plants we put in the ground.

At the end of the projects, our partner organizations will have developed or deepened local policy pathways that help ensure green infrastructure is systemically embedded in how we build and grow our cities.

Our local partner organizations for the Transform Stream are:

How Can Green Infrastructure Make Our Communities More Climate-Resilient and Equitable?

We already know that cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Insurance claims related to extreme weather events are doubling in Canada every five to 10 years, mostly in urbanized areas where the majority of population lives. 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, meadows, and wetlands with buildings, roads, and other hardened surfaces.

Natural systems are vital to regulating temperature, and infiltrating rainwater and snowmelt. By increasing green infrastructure in our cities, we can improve local resilience to climate change and make our communities more vibrant and healthy places to live.

What is more, not everyone in cities is affected in the same way. Neighbourhoods with more trees and green spaces are less prone to flood risk and cooler than communities without them.

However, research shows that regions with higher proportions of underserved populations, such as low-income and BIPOC residents, are less likely to have trees and green spaces than other communities.

This means that 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, such as improved mental and physical health.

The Transform Stream of the Living Cities Fund is a key piece of the puzzle for our vision of growing equitable, abundant, and thriving living cities across Canada and we’re so excited to be able to see it come to fruition, thanks to this new funding commitment from TD.