ENVP 925 - Green Infrastructure in Urban Centres: Policy, Design and Practice




February 15, 2021 - May 3, 2021


 12 weeks, 30 hours


There are 12 required modules.


Early bird registration by January 14, 2021 at 11:59PM: $349.00 + GST

Regular Cost: $399.00 + GST


Program Director, Joanna Ashworth

This 30 hour (over twelve weeks) online course is for policy makers, professionals, and students seeking to understand green infrastructure (GI) and its potential for managing the impacts of urbanization and climate change. The aim of the course is to foster a network of professionals engaged with the challenges and opportunities of blending nature and infrastructure.

Green infrastructure and related nature-based solutions are gaining widespread support as effective components of healthy city building as well as climate adaptation strategies. The course provides an overview of how GI systems work, the ecosystem services they can provide, and how they can be employed effectively. 

The course has four parts that together provide a substantive overview of the current green infrastructure policy, design, and practice and the associated challenges and opportunities.

  • Part One – The Grey to Green Transition explores the reasons that motivate cities, suburbs, and towns to adopt and expand GI systems, identifies the different types of GI and the multitude of benefits associated with them, and showcases successful employment of specific GI strategies. 
  • Part Two – Design and Implementation discusses the principles and practices behind successful GI design and implementation, identifies targets and guidelines used to regulate GI implementation, and considers the data needed to inform GI design and implementation decisions, and potential sources for the relevant data.
  • Part Three– Policy and Governance focuses on the policies, institutions, and systems that govern and drive green infrastructure employment in cities around the world, highlights specific tools and regulations for GI, and compares and contrasts GI policies and governance.
  • Part Four – Planning for Green Cities reviews recent advances and most innovative examples of GI design, science, and practice.  This section showcases bold views of what GI will offer cities in the future and how these progressive visions might be realized.

This course is developed and offered by Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Environment’s Professional Programs and Partnerships. Funding for this course is provided by Adaptation Learning Network, an initiative supported through Natural Resources Canada BRACE and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The course is part of a series of courses intended to inspire climate action and improve professional capacity for climate change adaptation.


Course Outline 

Part I: The Grey to Green Transition


Weeks 1-3

Module 1: Motivations for the Grey-to-Green Transition

Module 2: Defining Green Infrastructure

Module 3: Green Infrastructure Success – A Case Study Overview

Part II: Design and Implementation

Weeks 4-6

Module 4: The State of the Science

Module 5: Targets and Guidelines

Module 6: Data Collection and Use

Part III: Policy and Governance

Weeks 7-9

Module 7: Green Infrastructure Governance

Module 8: Municipal Management

Module 9: Risk Mitigation and Adaptability

Part IV – Planning for Green Cities

Weeks 10-12

Module 10: Innovations in GI

Module 11: Regional Planning for Resilient Communities

Module 12: Adaptation and Climate Change

Additional Course Materials

Appendix A: Compilation of Case Study Resources

Appendix B: Additional Citations and Resources

This course includes curated readings, videos, and learning activities designed to enhance understanding of core concepts, critical questions and evolving best practices of GI. The program is informed by research and professional practice and has been reviewed by leading experts in the field.

The course is facilitated by a leading professional in the GI field who will support participants and provide feedback on assignments and group discussions throughout the twelve weeks. While there is no set time for you to be online -- this is a self-paced course -- each of the 12 modules becomes available to you on the Monday of each week and ideally, each module should be completed within one week of the start date.

Each module will take up to three hours to complete. Active learning includes participation in discussion forums, reflective writing, quizzes and case studies. Additional resources are also provided in each module should you wish to pursue study beyond the scope of this program.

Options for connections: We will invite you to participate in two Zoom meetings that bring the whole class together to discuss issues and cases in week 2 and week 8.

Course Facilitator

Melina Scholefield, P. Eng.
Manager, Green Infrastructure Implementation
City of Vancouver

Melina is a professional engineer with over two decades of public and private sector experience.  She has a long-standing dedication to sustainability and innovation in the municipal sector, leadership development and collaboration across disciplines.  Melina is Manager of Green Infrastructure Implementation for the City of Vancouver.  She and her team are leading City’s ambitious and multi-award winning Rain City Strategy, a cross-departmental green rainwater infrastructure and urban rainwater management initiative.  In 2020, Melina was named Water Steward of the Year by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association for her impact within the Canadian water industry.

Prior to taking on this new role, Melina was engaged in the private sector in the field of green buildings, both as a construction management consultant and a Built Green certified residential builder with a special interest in passive house design and construction methods. Previously, Melina worked nearly 11 years with the City of Vancouver in transportation planning and sustainability.  As Manager of the City’s Sustainability Group, Melina’s portfolio included advancing the Greenest City goals as well as climate protection, renewable energy, climate change adaptation, green building programs.  

For more information please contact:

Dr. Joanna Ashworth

Director, Professional Programs and Partnerships

Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University

We are grateful for the financial support from the Adaptation to Climate Network.