Advancing Adaptation Case Studies

11 Case Studies from the Advancing Adaptation Implementation Cohort

Advancing Adaptation Case Studies

The 11 Ontario municipalities in the implementation cohort of the Advancing Adaptation Project designed and delivered climate change adaptation actions (which involved considerable community engagement) in their communities. Case studies were developed for each municipality. These showcase the approach used to plan and implement a range of adaptation actions and highlight challenges, successes, indicators, co-benefits, and key learnings. The case studies also include resources that can be used to implement similar actions in other communities.

Naturalisation of a Stormwater Pond by the Community

The Town of Caledon implemented a community-engaged adaptation project to mitigate the risks of extreme precipitation and flooding. This entailed the naturalisation of a major stormwater management pond in the Bolton neighbourhood. The Town planned and facilitated community tree and shrub planting events and installed educational signage about the role of the stormwater pond and its connection to climate change resilience. Habitat boxes were also installed to enhance habitat for native wildlife species. Download the Caledon case study to learn more.

Strong Neighbours Initiative

The City of Greater Sudbury undertook a community resilience building initiative entitled “Strong Neighbours” to engage with residents in neighbourhoods that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as heat waves, flooding, and power outages caused by extreme weather. This initiative helped residents learn about climate change impacts and enabled them to take action to build local climate resilience in three separate neighbourhoods. Download the Greater Sudbury case study to learn more.

Interactive Virtual Resilient Home

 The Town of Halton Hills created an interactive, online tool to promote resilient building and retrofit options. The ‘interactive house’ tool allows users to click on features of a typical home to learn how they can take action to improve resilience to climate hazards and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Their project goals were to increase the awareness and education of climate change adaptation home retrofits to increase the resiliency of private residential dwellings to climate change impacts including flooding and extreme weather events. Download the Halton Hills case study to learn more.

Addressing Extreme Heat in City Housing

The City of Hamilton’s Healthy and Safe Communities City Department led an initiative to help address extreme heat preparedness in City-owned apartment buildings through the use of community-engaged problem solving. With results from surveys in-person information-gathering events, the City planned and prioritised the implementation of building programs to reduce the effects of extreme heat on residents. This included the implementation of in-building cooling centres, in-apartment air conditioning units, and the distribution of heat wave information sheets. Download the Hamilton case study to learn more.

Neighbourhood Action to Enhance Shoreline Resilience

Under a changing climate, the coastal shoreline of Lake Huron is at risk of erosion from an increase in storm strength and frequency. In an effort to address shoreline erosion, the Township of Huron-Kinloss used a multi-pronged approach to engage the community and use green infrastructure to build climate change resilience. The Township planned and facilitated a tree planting event, a green infrastructure webinar series, created site-specific public signage, and facilitated neighbourhood conversations about the role of green infrastructure in shoreline protection. Download the Huron-Kinloss case study to learn more.

Building Strong Neighbours through Community Events

Preparedness is important for individuals that are often more vulnerable to the impacts of emergencies caused by climate change. The City of London delivered an event to engage seniors, better prepare them for extreme weather events, and enable them to promote climate change resiliency within their neighbourhoods. The event taught seniors about climate change resiliency strategies and allowed them to interact with City service areas and community clubs involved in climate change adaptation. As part of the project, 72 hour emergency preparedness kits were distributed to attendees for their own use and to give to a neighbour. Download the London case study to learn more.

Resilient Community Gardens

As part of the Urban Agriculture Strategy, which was designed with and for the community, the City of Mississauga is undertaking measures to expand and enhance its community gardens program. Mississauga’s community gardens program contributes to community-level resilience by increasing food security, literacy, and access. With this in mind, water supply lines were installed at two community garden sites to allow gardeners to irrigate their plots. With climate change impacts such as extreme heat and summer drought already being experienced, access to water is critical to the garden’s successes. Download the Mississauga case study to learn more.

Rain Garden Guidance Through Video Series

The City of Peterborough is working towards mitigating localised flooding caused by extreme rainfall. To do this, the City partnered with the local environmental non-government organisation to update and enhance the City’s Rain Garden Subsidy Program. The City produced a film series and increased financial incentives to make participation in the program easier and increase the number of rain gardens on private lands. Download the Peterborough case study to learn more.

Rain Gardens and Climate Change Workshop

The City of Richmond Hill integrated climate change adaptation features as part of the revitalisation design of a municipal park. The new rain garden and naturalised planting zones will increase the resilience of the area to flooding and act as a demonstration site to inspire residents to take on similar initiatives on their property. As part of this project, a climate change workshop was also offered to engage community members in the integration of climate change actions in the revitalisation of Minthorn Park. Download the Richmond Hill case study to learn more.

Enhancing Community Engagement Surrounding Stormwater Management

The City of Thunder Bay supported interactive education related to stormwater management, facilitated the installation of rain gardens, and enhanced key partnerships to increase the resilience to extreme precipitation events. 146 local grade nine students participated in low impact development tours during a local climate forum, and three new rain gardens will be installed on the grounds of the participating schools in the spring of 2023 with the support of the local partners. Download the Thunder Bay case study to learn more.

Preparing for Extreme Weather Events

The City of Windsor creatively engaged with community members to increase awareness about emergency preparedness to flooding and other climate change related extreme weather events. The City delivered key messages to build climate change resilience through a multi-pronged approach which included: a virtual scavenger hunt designed to help homeowners take simple steps to build resilience; the creation of a new informative pop-up tent that visually displays climate-resilient features of a house; and, the hosting of an emergency preparedness event for at Windsor’s Safety Village that targeted Canadian newcomers. Download the Windsor case study to learn more.

About the Advancing Adaptation Project

The Advancing Adaptation Project aimed to increase climate change resilience in Ontario municipalities by supporting adaptation planning, building local adaptation capacity, and supporting the implementation of adaptation initiatives in the Great Lakes watershed. As part of this project, 11 Ontario municipalities designed and delivered community-engaged climate change adaptation actions within their communities between June 2021 and December 2022. 11 case studies were developed to showcase the process, experience, and learnings from each implementation action. Visit ICLEI Canada’s Advancing Adaptation Webpage to learn more about other resources that were developed through the Project.

ICLEI Canada acknowledges that the Advancing Adaptation Project was made possible with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) alongside financial support from the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada. We would also like to acknowledge the municipal staff who helped with the development of this project.

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