Current Research

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has a number of ongoing research projects. If you have any questions or feedback we'd love to hear from you. 

Current Research and Reports:

Agriculture Profile for the Greenbelt 

In preparation for the provincial 2015 Co-ordinated Land use Planning Review, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation collaborated with provincial ministries, municipalities and other stakeholders to develop an Agricultural Profile for the Greenbelt area. The Profile described the state of agriculture in the Greenbelt based on data collected from farmers in the 2011 Census of Agriculture. The province has since recognized this report as the official agricultural profile for the co-ordinated review.

This year we will update the Profile based on the 2016 Agricultural Census. The report will also feature research conducted by the University of Guelph’s Dr. Wayne Caldwell and Sara Epp on farmland loss in the Greater Golden Horseshoe since 2000.  

Stay tuned for more information!

Green Infrastructure Guide for Small Communities

Green infrastructure encompasses a broad range of natural vegetative systems and green technologies that provide a variety of economic, environmental and social benefits to communities. It offers a framework for downtown and streetscape revitalization, trail network expansions, and outdoor recreation, all of which can help attract businesses, services, and new residents.

The Foundation recently published a Green Infrastructure Guide with the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition. The purpose of the Guide is to support small cities, towns and rural settlements to integrate green infrastructure within their communities. Widespread use of green infrastructure can be cost-effective in controlling stormwater, lowering the risk of flooding, removing pollutants, and reducing sedimentation in Greenbelt waterways. These are all critical factors in improving water quality and building resilience to climate change.

If you want to learn more about green infrastructure or about how to take action against flooding in your community see our Green Infrastructure page.

Roll out of Valuing Natural Capital Report

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is disseminating the results of our recent study, Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt’s Natural Assets, to various stakeholders via social media and targeted workshops. We are keen to hear from organizations that are applying these report findings in their own local context.

You can also see the presentations from our recent natural capital workshop on our Workshops page.


Current Collaborations:

Natural Capital Lab

The Foundation is participating in the Natural Capital Lab, a collaborative initiative to shape and align how we account for natural capital in Canada. Effective integration of natural capital valuations into decision making can significantly improve how natural systems are managed at all levels of government.

You can find out more about the Natural Capital Lab by visiting their website.

EcoHealth Ontario

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a member and proud supporter of EcoHealth Ontario. EcoHealth Ontario is made up of a collection of health practitioners, planners, academics, researchers, educators and many more, committed to sharing information, developing the science, exploring the research and kick-starting the discussion on the important connections between the environment and our own well being.

You can find out more about EHO by visiting their website.

EHO has produced several EcoHealth resources, including a report summarizing Ontario-based initiatives that help protect and/or enhance green spaces. The report looks at the benefits of street trees, hospital gardens, greening school grounds, unique hiking initiatives, urban forests, the Greenbelt, watershed management and regional forest restoration. The goal of this casebook is twofold: to figure out how to better assess the benefits of green spaces and to encourage us to more effectively connect public health and well-being to our natural environment. While these case studies originate in Ontario, they are not unique to this region and the lessons learned can be applied in a variety of contexts.


Current Student Projects:

Raising Public Awareness of the Greenbelt through Gamification

Gamification is the addition of game-like elements to a non-game setting in order to improve user experience and engagement. The six key elements that contribute to increased participant engagement are: ranking system, competitive elements, timers, external incentives, social media interaction, leveling-up.

We are currently working with two student groups from the Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo. They were tasked with exploring the potential of applying the principles of gamification to raising public awareness and education around Greenbelt issues. This is an exciting new collaboration for us, and we are looking forward to seeing what these students come up with in spring 2018.


For more information contact: Tom Bowers,

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