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Conferences & lectures

Sustainability on land and in the water

Date & time
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Clara Freeman-Cole, Sahar Alinezhad, and Jacques Simon-Mayer


This event is free and open to the public.


4th Space



In this panel discussion, Clara Freeman-Cole, Sahar Alinezhad, and Jacques Simon-Mayer will present their work on protected areas, community gardens, and remote detection of water pollution, respectively. The short presentations will be followed by questions and discussion.

Abstracts for short talks:


Clara Freeman-Cole & Jochen Jaeger: How effective are protected areas in Canada at limiting landscape fragmentation and promoting connectivity?

This research aims to analyse the historic development and degree of landscape fragmentation and landscape connectivity in Canadian National Parks. It explores the extent to which the creation and management of parks has been effective in controlling fragmentation in comparison to historically similar landscapes in unprotected areas.

Conservation actions are required to improve connectivity and restore/maintain habitat quality for species, including the establishment of new protected areas and enlargement of current national parks, modifying or removing resource extraction practices, the establishment of wildlife corridors and the prevention of heavy anthropogenic use of national parks, tourism-related or otherwise. Given the strong negative effects on biodiversity by increasing fragmentation, and the need for maintaining and restoring landscape connectivity for key species in Canada’s national parks, a comprehensive study of fragmentation across the National Parks System like this one is necessary to ensure that Canada’s rich biodiversity has enough habitat to maintain itself.


Sahar Alinezhad: Collective Gardens and Neighborhood Social Sustainability in the Time of the Pandemic

This research considers collective gardens as emerging public and common places that foster sociability. Dolley (2020) recognizes community gardens as “third places”. Oldenburg (1989) identifies third places as informal gathering public places. Gardens as outdoor public spaces are becoming popular in the neighborhoods, especially in the time of COVID-19. This research conducts the third place framework in order to explore the case of Batiment7 collective garden in the neighborhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles in the South-West of Montréal. Moreover, this study is an attempt to demonstrate the operation of collective gardens, as outdoor third places, by investigating the mode of management practices and their effect on social inclusion. According to Glover, Parry & Shinew (2005), community gardens are venues for resource mobilization. Since people exchange their tangible (i.e. gardening tools) and intangible (i.e. culinary knowledge) resources in the gardens, this research seeks the different kinds of microeconomics in terms of non-economic transactions. Hence, I contend that collective gardens, which favor a wide array of non-hierarchical social interactions, based on not-for-profit exchanges, provide potential low-key platforms for the informal social gatherings of individuals at the neighborhood scale, which can serve in particular as spaces towards diversity. Gardens also inspire resistance more specifically in the time of the pandemics. Thus, collective gardens constitute prototypical platforms for socially sustainable urban living.


Jacques Simon-Mayer & Angela Kross: Mapping and monitoring surface water chlorophyll using satellite imagery: Investigation of industrial impacts on the Great Lakes’ water quality

High levels of chlorophyll α (Chl α) in waterbodies can cause excessive growth of algae (eutrophication), subsequently causing oxygen depletion and deterioration of the water quality. Anthropogenic factors such as water pollution coupled with the warming effect of climate change are driving these algae blooms. To ensure continued access to sustainable and reliable water resources, it is important to monitor water bodies and potential pollution sources. Satellites are advantageous when monitoring water quality since they provide high spatial and temporal data compared to traditional ground sampling. This study examines the application of the satellite PlanetScope in the quantification of Chl α and then aims to identify non-point pollution sources with a watershed analysis. An ordinary least square regression analysis was used to develop a model predicting the observed (or measured) Chl α concentration across Lake Erie based on the satellite reflectance. The predictor variable(s) for Chl α were the visible and near-infrared bands. The correlation between Chl α and a green and near-infrared spectral index was the highest (R2=0.58, p < .001), and increased when only water samples with less than 30% of total suspended solids were used (R2=0.83, p < .001). The robustness of the model will be tested by validating the model with sampled data from Saginaw Bay and then from Lake Ontario. The Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data from 2010 was used as a digital elevation model for the watershed analysis. A land use map of the land around Lake Erie made by the European Space Agency was used along with the watershed analysis to identify non-point pollution sources. Further research with more high-resolution satellite data and more observed Chl α data will be needed to improve the model’s accuracy.

This event is part of:

Sustainability and the Climate Crisis: A week of discussion

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