The Program

The Design of Living Infrastructure for Ecosystem Services (DesignLIFES) Network is a CREATE program that will train the next generation of engineers, landscape architects and scientists in the interdisciplinary professional and technical skills they will need to design, create and manage living and green infrastructure for Canadian cities. Governments and private property owners across Canada are rapidly investing in living infrastructure in order to address the future challenges of population growth and climate change. The ‘green’ economy in Canada supports over 298,000 jobs, or more than the fossil fuels, mining, and forestry industries combined. Four Canadian universities, eight international academic partners, ten private sector partners and two public sector partners will collaborate on this vitally important training and research program.

The program focuses on a critical component of urban resilience and sustainability strategies for cities facing the impacts of rapid urbanization and climate change. Our network of leading academics and industry professionals will provide trainees with a cutting-edge training program that integrates interdisciplinary academic training with an immersive and hands-on lab and field experience, international exchanges, collaboration with innovative companies in the green building sector, and professional skills development. DesignLIFES graduates will be highly qualified personnel (HQP) with comprehensive technical skills in design, construction, operations, and adaptive performance monitoring of green infrastructure technologies, complemented by professional skills in communication, project management, and leadership; they will be equally well prepared for careers in the green building and infrastructure industry, government, and academia.

In the Design Lifes Program, each trainee will participate in: (1) Interdisciplinary coursework in academic courses related to living infrastructure, landscape architecture, urban ecology and urban water systems; (2) Immersive experiential learning though state-of-the-art research facilities; (3) Professional skill development and training led by private sector partners such as site planning, environmental legislation and incentive programs, and design and construction processes; (4) Networking and soft-skills development, including communication, leadership and project management; and (5) Short courses led by professors private/public sector partners exploring technical topics, including sensor design. Trainees will have the opportunity to work with interdisciplinary Canadian and international academic partners to learn about living infrastructure practices around the world and in a broad range of climates. We would like to thank NSERC CREATE for its generous financial support to the Design Lifes Program.

Program Goals