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The New Green Communities Guide: Why it Matters

Green Communities


Sep. 16, 2021
The new Green Communities Guide emphasizes nature-based solutions.
The new Green Communities Guide emphasizes nature-based solutions.

The new Green Communities Guide is valuable to many stakeholders. Designed for use by municipal planners, developers, community groups and more, this living resource highlights innovative, nature-based approaches communities are taking to managing development with respect to its impacts on our natural systems. Here’s why it matters.

What’s new

The Guide features innovative approaches to sustainable development including riparian management, xeriscaping, naturalization, storm water wetlands, brownfield reclamation, permaculture and much more, and includes recommended practices and project considerations as well as the business, nature and community-side of each nature-based solution. The Guide emphasizes protecting, managing and enhancing nature in urban and peri-urban areas as one of the most effective ways of combating climate change. Nature-based climate solutions – actions that are in harmony with nature that incorporate nature conservation and support biodiversity protection – can provide cost-effective approaches to mitigate climate change.

The emphasis on nature-based solutions (referred to as the forgotten solution) supports many emerging initiatives from all levels of government and industry that can become incorporated into areas that are more densely populated, providing residents and visitors with an opportunity to learn about and support the management of these assets in an applied and practical manner.

“The Green Communities Guide is another excellent example of the work that Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is known for. Building on the success of our first edition that was published in 2009, version 2.0 incorporates new and innovative approaches that have been designed and tested by practitioners and experts in urban and peri-urban ecosystems,” explains Brian Ilnicki, Executive Director of LSC.

“At LSC we pride ourselves in developing products like the Green Communities Guide that helps to engage, inform and enable individuals to support stewardship of natural systems.”

What the professionals have to say

When an LSC staff member shared the new Guide with Shannon Sharma, an Edmonton REALTOR®, she was impressed. Shannon said: “There has always been a perceived dichotomy between urban living and accessible green space. Clients often yearn to have the conveniences of city living yet don’t want to give up the benefits that being close to nature provide. Delving into The Guide has provided me with a wealth of knowledge on nature-based solutions that are already implemented in the communities I work in. My number one goal as a Real Estate Professional is to ensure my clients are happy.”

“The Guide has helped me understand and explain how we can use NBS to help market their home for selling or find a property for a client that will help improve their quality of life.”

One of the contributors to the new Green Communities Guide, Tristan Surtees of Sans façon, also shared his impressions of the resource and of the Dale Hodges Park project being featured as a case study:

“The way we think and work with the environment are galvanized through connecting with each other, sharing insights, lessons learned and models of best practice. Land Stewardship Centre’s Green Communities Guide champions the people and projects making these advancements for our province and creates the space to connect.”

Sean Conway (RPP, MCIP), a Planner with the City of Edmonton, received word of the Guide and had this to say: “As the City of Edmonton continues to grow and expand, finding innovative ways to implement sustainable development will be an important aspect to planning for future development and this project will be an excellent tool to aid Municipal Planners and other urban planning industry professionals in their work.”

“The Green Communities Guide and Stewardship Directory are excellent resources in finding nature-based approaches for developing and redeveloping new and existing communities.”

Finally, executive director, Patti Morris, of Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) had this to say:

“The [Foundation] is thrilled to support the update and digital enhancement of the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada’s Green Communities Guide: Advancing Nature-Based Solutions. This critical resource offers real estate professionals, consumers, and Alberta communities the knowledge and strategies to conserve our valuable natural assets and protect built infrastructure in the face of a changing climate.”

LSC is thrilled to see this online resource being shared and used widely and we look forward to building on this foundation to truly advance nature-based solutions in Alberta and beyond.

With appreciation

LSC would like to thank the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) for their ongoing support of our work and for the funding to develop Green Communities Guide v2.0. We could not have done this project without the AREF. They have been with us on this initiative since the very beginning and this new digital resource advancing nature-based solutions in Alberta (and beyond) is something they have helped LSC realize.