The Falaise St Jacques, a green space near the Loyola campus
In spaces that officials and investors consider wastelands ripe for new development, urban residents frequently see considerable value. These spaces become entangled with residents’ sense of place and community, offer respite from the heat and bustle of the city, and are perceived as providing habitat and refuges for biodiversity. If mobilization to care for and protect informal urban green places reflects intense social attachments to them, the contributions of these spaces to terrestrial ecosystems and to climate resilience are less obvious. Far from being pristine, the ecosystems in these locations have been deeply and repeatedly fragmented, disturbed, and, often, contaminated. While a growing body of research demonstrates that informal urban green spaces can nonetheless contribute to sustainability (e.g., Albro 2019; Anderson & Minor 2021; Turo et al. 2021), many questions remain unanswered about whether and when they do so in practice. In this discussion, Emma Despland, Liz Miller, Amy Poteete, and Carly Ziter will share preliminary work done in collaboration with local community groups on the contributions of the Falaise St. Jacques, Technoparc, Champ des Possibles, and Boisé Vimont to biodiversity, social inclusion, and climate resilience.