Re-shaping our thinking about urban forests as public health infrastructure

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Date: October 23, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Location: Virtual - Zoom
Category: Seminar

Transformative Change in Environmental Sustainability is a collaborative, student-led seminar series hosted by T-RUST (Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training) at WSU and GLIER (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research) at the University of Windsor. Seminars are biweekly during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Please RSVP to this event and the Zoom link will be sent to the email used for registration two days before the seminar.

Abstract: Urban trees provide many ecosystem services along with psycho-socio-cultural, health, and economic benefits to humans. Given the increases in urban development and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is timely to consider urban planning issues and equitable access to these greenspaces and the benefits they provide. Now more than ever, we are more dependent on urban trees and greenspaces for our well-being. The growing trend in current thinking about urban forests as public health infrastructure has elevated the importance of trees in public health and urban greening policies and standards. In this talk, I will draw upon my previous research, highlighting the importance of urban trees as a critical public health infrastructure that impacts academic performance to cancer prevention. I will give some insight on the transdisciplinary nature of my work, conveying it towards different audiences and how it is being applied in the real-world. I will touch upon some of my ongoing work building ecological and community resilience within urban and sub-urban developments. Overall, I will elaborate on how we can work with the health, social, and education sectors to incorporate landscape ecology approaches to aim for greater connectivity between people and nature.

Dr. Janani Sivarajah is an urban forestry and greening researcher, educator, and consultant. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. She has a Master of Forest Conservation and Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Toronto. Her transdisciplinary research explores the ecosystem services of urban trees and public greenspaces, and finds greening solutions to improve the socio-ecological resilience of cities. She is the President of the Ontario Urban Forest Council, Research Associate at the Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University, and member of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association and the City of Toronto’s Shade Policy Steering Committee. She also lectures at Daniel’s Institute of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Toronto.

October 2020