Incenting the Nature of Cities: Using Financial Approaches to Support Green Infrastructure in Ontario
Stephanie Cairns, Pomme Arros, and Sara Jane O'Neill

Changes in our climate have led to a dramatic increase in the number of extreme rainfalls hitting our cities. When this influx of rainwater hits our gutters, storm sewers, and other impermeable collection systems, it gathers oil and debris along its path—ultimately damaging property, local bodies of water, wildlife habitats, and human health.

Green infrastructure offers an alternative approach to water management that incorporates both traditional engineered systems and the natural environment. By treating stormwater at its source, instead of moving it elsewhere, green infrastructure minimizes the amount of water pollution in our cities and provides the opportunity to access rainfall as a resource for uses such as lot-level irrigation.

Incenting the Nature of Cities: Using Financial Approaches to Support Green Infrastructure in Ontario builds the business case for cities to invest in green infrastructure. The paper introduces six market-based tools that have been used effectively across Canada and the United States to support the expansion of green infrastructure.

Incenting the Nature of Cities is the second paper in the Metcalf Foundation’s Green Prosperity series. Four more papers will be released in the coming months, addressing a range of issues and opportunities in building a low-carbon, resource efficient, and resilient Canada.