2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Crossroads Community Park Project
Located in Calgary, AB, the Crossroads Community Park Project is a community garden, natural play area and food forest that was designed by reGenerate Design Ltd and is actively tended by a local stewardship group.
Design and Process
The Crossroads Community Park Project was designed by the ecological landscape design firm reGenerate Design Ltd. and features raised beds for the community to grow vegetables, a natural play area for children, a community food forest, and ample places for community members to sit and enjoy beautiful views of the downtown skyline.
The designers planted the site with trees, shrubs, and a herbaceous layer. Overall, there are approximately 75 trees and shrubs of over 30 species. The flowering plants bloom at different times over the growing season to support insects and other pollinators. Drifts of trees and shrubs create bird and mammal habitat, and surplus fruit from the food forest creates additional food sources. The plantings make up a woodland savannah with perennial plants that are either native species or species that are well adapted to the climate.
To enhance soil health, the plant community contains soil-building plants, such as legumes, and a ground cover to keep moisture in the soil and aid microbe populations. Trees and shrubs block the prevailing wind and help to keep leaf litter in place to build soil naturally. The planting areas harvest overland water flow and infiltrate water into the soil, which reduces stormwater runoff and improves water quality. Active composting using materials on-site cycles nutrients naturally.
The landscape was designed to emulate natural systems and mimic patterns seen in nature. However, the space benefits from a strong stewardship group that uses regenerative maintenance practices to care for the greenspace. After the landscape was designed and installed, the greenspace was handed over to the Crossroads Community Association to steward the space. reGenerate Design provided a comprehensive ecological stewardship manual and consultation to the stewardship group. The design firm continues to provide advice and support as needed. Some of the stewardship group members have extensive gardening experience, which helps in their regenerative approach and their ability to communicate their practices to the local community and the general public.
Previously this park space was a monoculture of turf grasses that was under-utilized by the community overall, which was the impetus for the project. Today, the Crossroads Community Park Project is a community hub that attracts members of the surrounding neighbourhood to participate and enjoy the space in multiple ways. The greenspace provides many community benefits while the land provides ecological function and contributes to the neighbourhood’s resilience.
The City of Calgary has multiple policies and strategies that this project is aligned with, including the Calgary Climate Strategy, the Calgary Municipal Development Plan, Our BiodiverCity, and many others. The City of Calgary overall promotes increased biodiversity through the creation of native plantings and wild habitat, and water-wise landscaping by advocating climate-appropriate species. It also promotes the creation of community gardens which are experiencing high demand to help localize the food system. As an example, the Municipal Development Plan calls for creating complete communities that, among other factors, have public spaces that provide access to nature, have spaces for community gardens and local food production, and a healthy, sustainable and resilient environment with added trees and greenery. The Crossroads Community Park project directly contributes to achieving these targets and supports all of these policies.
To read more about this site and reGenerate Design Ltd., visit their website.
Photos c/o reGenerate Design Ltd.
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.See the full list of 2022 recognition recipients here