Policy Solution

Community gardens



Summary: Converting vacant, non-vegetated land into community gardens can provide social and economic benefits in addition to mitigating local temperatures. Soil in garden spaces or raised beds can trap sunlight and heat during warmer months.

Implementation: Provide publicly-owned land, funding, and/or administrative management to incentivize the conversion of vacant, non-vegetated land into community gardens.

Considerations for Use: Community gardens require basic infrastructure to operate (e.g. water supply) and provide opportunities for community engagement, partnership, and education.

  • Policy Levers:

    IncentiveFinancial and non-financial incentives to encourage stakeholders to implement heat risk reduction and preparedness solutions, including rebates, tax credits, expedited permitting, development/zoning bonuses, and more.
  • Trigger Points:

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Evaluating city land acquisition/saleIncludes efforts and to set aside land suitable for urban cooling efforts like blue or green infrastructure or district cooling.
    Low/no cost intervention
  • Intervention Type:
    Green/natural Infrastructure
  • Sectors:
    Education, Informal Settlements, Parks


  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Heat-vulnerable communities, Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Number of gardens, Number of partner organizations


  • Intervention Scale:
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Medium-term (3-9 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    CBOs, City government
  • Funding Sources:
    Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    High, Medium


  • Cost-Benefit:
  • Public Good:
  • GHG Reduction:
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Improve stormwater management, Preserve biodiversity, Provide flood protection, Reduce air and water pollution, Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Build social cohesion, Improve human health, Improve the public realm, Increase property values