Track 1 Day 1: Vangjeli


Implementing Green Infrastructure in the Public ROW: Lake Shore East Public Realm and Pilot Project


The Gardiner-Lake Shore Blvd. East Public Realm and Pilot Project presents the interesting challenge of incorporating green infrastructure in a highly constrained public right-of-way (ROW) to address high levels of stormwater from the elevated highway, while establishing a continuous landscape identity along the corridor.

Proposed public realm improvements include permeable pavers, soil cells under the sidewalk (to provide an expanded root zone and passive irrigation for trees), and a planting zone with street trees between the sidewalk and curb to detain stormwater from the roadway, avoid peak flows and improve stormwater quality flowing to the sewer system.

The project has been advanced to conceptual design, but a small portion has been further developed to construction drawings for early implementation as a pilot project.

This pilot is intended to demonstrate approvability and constructability, and to test the green infrastructure system (passive irrigation of trees and plantings in the ROW using stormwater from the roadway) before it is implemented at scale along the whole corridor.

The objective is to test the viability of plantings in the challenging environment of this transportation corridor, as well as the impact of salt from stormwater irrigation on street trees.

The intent is to monitor the pilot to evaluate its performance, durability and maintenance requirements to inform the greater Gardiner Public Realm design, and contribute toward the city’s Green Streets standards.


Learning Objectives

1. See an interesting example of incorporating green infrastructure in a highly constrained and challenging transportation corridor

2. Understand the challenges to the approvals and implementation process for green infrastructure in public streets in Toronto

3. Hear about design strategies for low-maintenance green infrastructure in the public realm


Sonja Vangjeli

Sonja Vangjeli

Sonja Vangjeli is a landscape architect and project manager of planning and design at Waterfront Toronto. She is interested in the potential of urban park systems and roads as vital green infrastructure, and works on urban design strategies that balance development priorities with site identity, conservation, and landscape performance.

Sonja is an alumna of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and University of Waterloo, and has previously worked as researcher with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Kristina Hausmanis

Kristina Hausmanis

Kristina Hausmanis is the Green Streets Project Manager for Transportation Services at the City of Toronto. She has more than 12 years of experience developing and implementing municipal programs, including the Eco-Roof Incentive Program, the Live Green Toronto Grants and the StreetARToronto Program.

Kristina holds a B.Sc in Biology from McGill University and a Masters of Environmental Science from University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.