Removing asphalt at neighbourhood work parties is an exciting new trend that renews neglected urban spaces.
At Depave Paradise events, local volunteers gather to reclaim the soil. Using pry bars and shovels, community members break up an area of unused pavement and turn it into living green space.
Depave Paradise drew its initial inspiration from Depave in Portland, Oregon. Since their first depave in 2007 they have depaved more than 100,000 square feet of pavement.
In 2012 Green Communities Canada brought this exciting project to Canada and conducted the first Depave Paradise event at The Mulberry School in Kingston. Red Squirrel Conservation organized this event and provided a hands-on training opportunity to the first depavers who went on to host their own events in cities across Ontario.
Soon after, depave started catching on across Canada with ever growing results.
So many reasons. The most popular one? Because it’s fun!
Benefits of Depaving
Hard surfaces like driveways, parking lots and buildings interrupt the natural water cycle. This creates heat sinks, prevents rain from soaking into the ground and compounds flood risk.
Runoff collects pollutants and carries them to the nearest surface water, closing beaches and compromising drinking water sources.
Removing pavement and replacing it with native plants, trees and shrubs helps to offset and reduce these issues. Depaving has many benefits:
- Naturally cools urban areas.
- Restores the natural water cycle.
- Absorbs rainfall and reduces the risk of flooding.
- Creates habitat for native birds, pollinators, and animals.
- Asserts a calming influence through cooling and beautification.
- Builds awareness, skills and motivation to create more resilient neighbourhoods.