Community Organizing: A Guide to Grassroots-Led Green Infrastructure for Neighbourhoods


Ecology Ottawa has been working hard helping communities green-up their neighbourhoods for over a decade! It was about time that we documented our process and make it public so Ottawa residents could replicate it.

Which is why we are so excited to announce the launch of our guide to community organizing! For the past year Ecology Ottawa has used our Britannia green infrastructure project as the base for our guide. Why? Simple, in Ottawa climate change is showing itself as more precipitation events with more precipitation in them. This means that we are experiencing more rain/snow falls with more rain/snow falling in these events. Our sewers and waste water treatment plants were not designed for the volume of precipitation we are receiving so we need to find ways to reintegrate the use of the natural ecosystem to absorb precipitation, and green infrastructure is the best solution.

Green infrastructure is living and build systems designed to slow down, soak up and filter rain water where it falls rather than funneling it to our sewers and water treatment plants. Some green infrastructure is quite technical (such as infiltration trenches and green roofs) and some are as simple as trees and rain barrels. In order for the implementation of green infrastructure to really make an impact, it has to be adopted at scale.

As much as Ecology Ottawa is pushing for the City of Ottawa to implement their green streets policy (to sign our petition click here) amongst other municipal-wide green infrastructure policies (to learn more about the state of green infrastructure in Ottawa click here), the majority of land in Ottawa is privately owned. This means that without residents and homeowners opting-in to implement green infrastructure in their yards, reaching transformative green infrastructure won’t be possible.

Community Organizing_ A guide to Grassroots-led Green Infrastructure for Neighbourhoods
Click above to download the guide

Enter our green infrastructure project! Ecology Ottawa (with the financial backing of the Ontario Trillium Foundation) was able to show that with small green infrastructure adaptations such as trees, downspout redirects and splash guards, we were able to have big impact. We were able to divert over 3 000 000 liters of rain water from Ottawa’s sewer system and waste water treatment plant!

To learn more, download our guide book!

Community Organizing_ A guide to Grassroots-led Green Infrastructure for Neighbourhoods