Building Greenspace in Urban Settings; Why Not?

by J.B Moffatt on October 7, 2016 - 10:56pm

Green space is becoming less and less across the nation with the increased population and inevitable amount of construction taking place. This is something that is hard to combat as corporate power and money over shines everything. Although, some municipalities and city governments are working towards creating new greenspaces.

In an article by CBC News Toronto, Councillor Joe Cressy has been fighting to add to the amount of greenspace in Toronto. This is calling for the renovation of an old existing parking lot, and turning it into a natural park near the downtown core. Although this movement is mostly an economic movement for this specific site, it still will allow for the benefits of reducing paved, covered land. Council is looking at this as a viable request considering the areas massive increase in population and incredibly high amount of infrastructure growth as well. Cressy also argues that creating green space is also part of infrastructure, and giving residents their own backyard is essential.

There is also a mention about the human health benefits of greenspaces. If the environmental standpoint or the human due diligence of keeping up the biodiversity within the cities is not enough, we must look at the other benefits. Along with the health benefits, one could also argue green spaces are a sink for natural or non-natural occurrences. By having less concrete and an area with soil and vegetation, this could take away from rainwater going into sewers. A sink for rainwater would also help reduce flooding or other unwanted activities. High amounts of vegetation at city centers could also reduce the emissions escaping into our atmosphere, where the vegetation could utilize it before it leaves the city creating cleaner air. This summer after a trip to Grand Bend Ontario, I noticed there were many areas that had established traditional grasses and plants. This was the areas attempt to restore other areas that had been depleted and manipulated in order to accommodate human traffic. This is a common trend being seen in many areas which

The bottom line is there has to be a bigger voice in order to establish more greenspaces across Canada. Increasing population is no excuse to deplete areas of nature for both human health and natures benefit. Many positives come from these designated areas. Municipalities and cities such as Toronto is doing it, therefore many other places can easily follow this lead.


Hi J.B. Moffatt,

I find your post very positive in looking at the environmental benefits of creating more green space in urban areas. I agree with you that it would be very beneficial to the environment. As green space in urban areas has many environmental benefits, it has many social benefits as well. It increases the amount of physical activity citizens participate in and it also creates stronger sense of community and builds more stronger relationships. These are all very important aspects to a community. I agree with your thoughts that green space is important to have everywhere, not only in rural areas.

Hello J.B Moffatt,

Great post! From the sounds of it, there are many benefits that could come from this new potential green space. I like the idea/argument that the new park could act as a 'backyard' for residences, along with all of the other environmental benefits you have stated in your blog. After reading the article you cited, it seems like the city is leaning towards going through with the construction of the natural park. From your research and understanding, what kinds of conflict are present and for what reasons?

Hey JB this is a huge problem in many cities and I agree it would make Toronto a healthier environment. But another massive way it could help Toronto is in the way of urban water planning. My background is in water resource engineering and I lit up right when i saw your article because that is what we do to cities, we try to naturalize them to reduce surface runoff and increase infiltration. Very cool subject I am glad you brought it up. What ways do you think the city of Toronto could create greenspace while aiding to urban water planning?

Hi J.B Moffat,

Your title really grabbed my attention of ‘building green space in urban settings; why not?’ The title made me want to read your post because you’re right, why wouldn’t we want to build more green space in urban settings? Toronto Is currently known as a heat island and adding more green space would help reduce that heat. Urban settings currently heat up slightly more then country settings, which have effects on peoples’ health and can even cause them their lives, if they are unable to provide themselves with air conditioning.

I liked how you mentioned health benefits of greenspaces in your post and how it is a great sink for rainwater. I find that a lot of urban areas have taken away greenspaces, which have in turn caused more intense natural disasters, such as floods. I also agree that there should be a bigger voice to establish more greenspaces across Canada but with this being said (since you mentioned Toronto in your post).. Because Toronto is the fastest growing metropolis in the continent and it is becoming the most expensive North American regions to live in don’t you also believe that adding more greenspace to the area will also in turn increase prices for residents who live there? Like if people want to move into a green roof building the prices are likely to be more expensive and can be unaffordable, since housing is a top issue Canada is currently facing. What would you propose in this situation since greenspace seems to be necessary to benefit the health of people?

Great Post! I really enjoyed reading it! The article and your post cover some amazing points. I definitely am a huge fan of green spaces myself so I agree with everything you say. They are an essential for biodiversity, human health, recreational purposes and many more reasons. After doing some of my own research I came to see that all the big cities in the world such as Dublin, New York City, London and many others have huge green spaces. These spaces can really add to the value of a city and help create more of an outdoor culture. I really hope more cities are able to add green spaces with better urban planning.