Why this project?


The purpose of this project is to start a dialogue about the need for more holistic ways of thinking about cities rooted in the wisdom of ecology and multiple ways of knowing. In an era of climate change, environmental devastation and urban sprawl, this project aims to reconnect people with the land they live on, to better understand how cities and ecosystems work together and the impacts that humans have on the environment. Through the simple, but powerful, acts of walking, listening, observing and sharing, it is hoped that people will gain a deeper sense of place, understanding and connection.


Who's behind this project?

This project is independently organized by Matt Carreau and Marika Olynyk. We are grateful to be supported by the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources who have provided guidance around inclusion of Indigenous perspectives project support in other vital ways. We are also grateful to the many individuals who have taken time to meet with us to share their knowledge, offer feedback, guidance and direction. An advisory circle is being created to help shape this project moving forward, if you are interested in getting involved, get in touch.

This project is initiated by settlers living on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We recognize the need to listen and learn from examples of community and ecological resilience, including respectfully learning about ways that Indigenous world-views can inform and lead approaches to repairing relationships with the land.

Four seasons, four elements, four walks

Following the cycle of the four seasons and structure of the four Classical elements, Learning from the Land, in the City will organize four urban field walks with invited speakers from the worlds of design, ecology, community development and more. Speakers will share diverse ways of knowing about the land, weaving a holistic picture of the urban environment and our relationship with it.


Using the Jane's Walk format of "walking conversations", each walk will be structured around a guided walk with a predetermined route and stops where guest experts and community members will be invited to share their wisdom in the field. Facilitated discussion along the way will ensure participants have the chance to ask questions and participate in the process.

"It is important to integrate a 'natural systems approach' in our thinking about infrastructure into the next century.

I don't think there is a future in which we can imagine real change happening without ground-up initiatives and without citizen involvement. Designing for climate change demands these new frameworks of participation."

- Kate Orff, Landscape Architect, SCAPE