A new initiative at the University of Toronto is training students in the design, construction and management of engineered vegetative systems for cities facing the impacts of rapid urbanization and climate change.
The Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (GRIT Lab) at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design recently launched the Design of Living Infrastructure for Ecosystem Services (DLIFES) Network. It’s a five-year-long NSERC CREATE program that will train more than 50 undergraduate, master, PhD and post-doctoral students.
“Governments and private property owners across Canada and worldwide are investing heavily in living infrastructure in order to address current and future challenges of environmental degradation, pollution, habitat loss, and extreme climate events,” says Liat Margolis, an associate professor of landscape architecture.
“Governments and private property owners across Canada and worldwide are investing heavily in living infrastructure…”
“This presents a tremendous opportunity to develop 21st-century approaches to education and professional practice that are interdisciplinary by nature, empirical, hands on and engaged with regional urban policy and industry practices.”
The GRIT Lab, which has been in operation for a decade, is an international hub of interdisciplinary and experimental research on living green infrastructure that was spearheaded by Margolis in collaboration with Jennifer Drake and Brent Sleep in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Scott MacIvor in U of T Scarborough’s department of biological sciences, and Sean Thomas in Daniels’ department of forestry.
The first of its kind, the DLIFES network was launched last summer and extends throughout Canada, with academic partners at U of T Scarborough, Ryerson University, Saint Mary’s University and the University of Saskatchewan.
The network also collaborates with eight other universities in the United States, France, Israel, Australia and Japan that are well known for their green infrastructure experimental labs.