Using a high-profile waterfront project as its initial focus, three Niagara organizations are bringing their extensive research and municipal experience together to address sustainable infrastructure development.
Brock University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last year with the Town of Lincoln and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) to explore the need for nature-based solutions with immediate application and policy relevance to pressing landscape issues.
The partners have now launched “The Prudhommes Project: building community resilience through blue-green infrastructure development,” which is researching ecosystem-focused approaches in urban landscapes.
While the focus of The Prudhommes Project is the high-profile Lake Ontario waterfront development, it won’t be limited to the Prudhommes Landing development. The Town of Lincoln has made a key part of this development a publicly maintained greenspace at the waterfront. This public infrastructure is an essential part of the Town’s park and greenspace infrastructure.
“The Prudhommes Landing development is significant and much-anticipated,” said Mike Kirkopoulous, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Lincoln. “In partnering with Brock and Vineland, we collaborate with world-class researchers who can assist with understanding the multi-functional benefits of green-blue infrastructure, allowing for data-driven and informed decisions.”
Green-blue infrastructure refers to the incorporation of vegetation and water elements in urban designs. Given the proximity of the development to Lake Ontario, the initial project focus for the Prudhommes Landing development is to evaluate and test how to use green-blue infrastructure design to help the Town of Lincoln create a resilient socio-ecological community.
“In working closely with all our partners on this project, we will generate actionable knowledge about green-blue infrastructure right here in Niagara with widespread scholarly and practical implications,” said Ryan Plummer, Professor and Director of Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and Darby McGrath, Vineland’s Program Leader, Greening the Landscape. This will also allow us to share how other leading jurisdictions and governments are building, supporting, incentivizing and creating world-class destinations,” added Plummer.
He said the MOU falls directly in line with Brock and the ESRC’s goals of community engagement, experiential education and research excellence.
The importance of the project was recently recognized by the Mitacs Accelerate program, which requires academic (Brock) and industry (Vineland) collaboration. Vineland is a not-for-profit organization funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and delivers innovative products, solutions and services through an integrated and collaborative cross-country network to advance Canada’s research and commercialization agenda. The Mitacs program will partially fund a post-doctoral fellow for the next three years to work on the project.