Toronto Metropolitan University
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The common ground: informal growing and stewardship on public land in Toronto, and the potential for agreements that benefit all

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posted on 2023-09-18, 20:19 authored by Laura Lebel-Pantazopoulos

While the environmental, social, and health benefits (Middle et al., 2014; Soga et al., 2017; Twiss et al., 2003)

of community-led growing and stewardship activities (e.g. gardening, planting native species, invasive species

management) are recognized by planners, the presence of people who grow on or steward public land informally (illegally) indicates that needs are not being met by existing programs. This research investigates how the goals of informal growers/stewards and public landowners align, and what barriers would need to be overcome to form mutually beneficial agreements that leverage the passion and interest of these action-oriented citizens. Based on twelve interviews with people involved in informal growing or stewardship activity in the City of Toronto (either as growers/stewards, public landowners, or other professionals), three cases of existing, potential, and emerging agreements were studied for how they might meet the needs of each party and create benefits for all.

Key words: stewardship; guerilla gardening; public land; citizen participation; green infrastructure; City of Toronto





  • Master of Planning


  • Urban Development

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Victor Perez-Amado