Depave Paradise is a project of Green Communities Canada and Green Venture that engages volunteers and neighbourhoods in Canadian communities to remove pavement (by hand!) and plant gardens filled with native species or install permeable surfaces in its place. Hard surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots and buildings, interrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain water from soaking into the ground. This in turn leads to flooding, poor water quality, and creates urban heat islands that are warming up our cities. By removing pavement and replacing it with green space, we are increasing the infiltration rate of rainwater, cooling our neighbourhoods, keeping our water clean by filtering polluted runoff, increasing natural habitat for birds, bees, and butterflies, and providing us and our children with greater connections to the natural world.
Through partnerships with local schools, organizations and community groups, Green Venture removes asphalt and concrete to renew and beautify community spaces by adding natural playgrounds, community vegetable gardens, trees, rain gardens, permeable pavers and other permeable surfaces. In addition to building a strong sense of community, this program also increases usable public space and frequently improves a community’s water quality.
Since 2012 Green Venture has Depaved:
1056 m² of Asphalt on 9 Sites
And absorbed 880,000L of stormwater annually
Beyond community building, the benefits of depaving are numerous and include:
- Decreasing the runoff of stormwater to lower its impacts on our sewers and help improve our community’s water quality and restore natural hydrologic cycle
- Increasing urban green space and ecosystems present in our cities and reversing the proliferation of hard surfaces
- Educating residents about the effects of stormwater runoff and benefits of permeable surfaces, green space and reconnecting the urban landscape to nature
- Fostering behavioural change and community engagement
- Decrease the heat island effect and help cool urban areas