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Boullee Housing Community

Project type: 
Community Initiatives Green Funds

Residents and community partners at Boullee Housing Community created a new outdoor community space in a project led by ReForest London. Five large shade trees and over a dozen shrubs were planted on shared space at this community in northeast London.

“We are so very grateful and appreciative of this initiative and for the valued partnerships that assisted in making this a reality,” said Linda Forget, London Middlesex Housing Corporation. “The tenants will enjoy this beautiful area to relax, get together with friends, or play with their children. The community will enjoy the pleasing aesthetics of the project along with the natural health benefits trees provide."

Tree planting was accompanied with children’s activities and a BBQ for the residents. A number of the community agencies working in the housing complex supported the project and made the day more festive. These include: Beacock Library, Families First, London Intercommunity Health Centre, Life Resource Center, North Park Community Church, LUSO Community Services, Mutual Aid Parenting Program, and Merrymount Children’s Centre.

“I believe that having this community garden will bring the community and families together,” said Fanny Rosa, LUSO Community Services. “It will increase a sense of community ownership and leadership. Moreover, it provides the space for games and activities for children and even visually makes the neighborhood a nicer place to live.” 

Through this project we hope to create a partnership of unity and develop a positive bond among the residents of the community,” said Maria Park, Mutual Aid Parenting Program. “Together lets beautify Boullee.”

The Boullee housing community is comprised of 30% children under 16. Thirty-four different languages are spoken through the LMHC properties, which are all rent geared to income housing.

Research points to the value that trees play in building community in the lives of people living in poverty.  A University of Illinois study focused on people living in 16 identical Chicago public housing buildings. Some buildings are surrounded by trees and greenery; some by asphalt and concrete. Researchers found that residents living near trees have significantly better relations and stronger ties to their neighbors. They socialize more with neighbors, and have a stronger sense of community.

“Trees are part of what makes a house a home, and this new space will be a gathering place to build a stronger community,” said Julie Ryan, ReForest London. “Trees make communities safer and healthier. We hope this is the start of more tree planting at Boullee.” 

This summer, ReForest London will continue to consult with residents about where additional trees should be planted, and will then seek funding to further green the 132 unit complex. 

The planting was supported with funding through the City of London’s TreeME fund and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. A similar planting event will take place at the Southdale/Millbank Housing community (Southdale and Millbank Drive, near unit 1181) in May 2015.