How can we build cities and not destroy the natural environment? Cities have often been built without considering the existing plant and animal life. Green space within cities can take many forms: public parks, gardens, nature trails and playgrounds. Green spaces can also be integrated into walls or roofs of buildings, which serves to reduce rainwater runoff and provides the buildings with a natural cooling system. The ideal sustainable city is designed to function in harmony with nature.

In addition to preserving our natural landscapes, architects, landscape architects and urban planners allocate green space within cities. These spaces can become the ‘lungs’ of the city as they provide places for a variety of activities. Green space creates accessible destinations within cities for people to gather, strengthening social bonds between community members as they communicate, play and learn together. Green space can also act as a refuge for people to contemplate and relax, which benefits people on a physical and emotional level.

As cities become more populated and urban areas continue to grow, it is important that we protect and improve the existing green spaces in our cities. No.9 is committed to the idea of enhancing existing green spaces with art- and environment-based educational programming while also working to provide access for community members to enjoy the green space that the city has to offer. In 2014, No.9 launched the Eco-Art-Fest, a summer-long public art festival in Toronto’s Don Valley. The outdoor space offers visitors a place to relax, eat organic and locally sourced foods, participate in educational programming and listen to music in a natural setting just outside of Toronto’s downtown. It is No.9’s goal to draw visitors out of their daily paths and into nature, while providing meaningful programming that brings people and communities together.