City of Brampton: "The Bram West Lands"

Background

The City of Brampton is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. It is uniquely situated along Ontario’s Innovation Super-Corridor between Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, and includes some of the largest industrial land tracts in the GTHA. With a newly adopted Vision 2040 document, the City is leveraging its rapid growth to create significant opportunities for leading-edge urban development and innovations in city building. Vision 2040 is supported by recently adopted plans across a variety of disciplines and departments, including the Culture Master Plan, Economic Development Master Plan, Environmental Master Plan, Community Energy Reductions and Emissions Plan (in progress), and Active Transportation Master Plan (in progress).

The Bram West lands in Brampton’s southwest corner is identified in Vision 2040 as one of Brampton’s five new Town Centres. The City is currently tasked with re-envisioning this area to reflect new trends and best practices in city building. The area’s current built form – comprised primarily of large warehousing and industrial buildings – does not reflect the vision and goals set out for the employment lands in the area. The Secondary Plan Area 40 identifies the need to maximize quality employment opportunities in Bram West by “attracting office, prestige industrial and research and development uses” and to develop “a predominantly prestige industrial community with an appropriate mix of office uses, business parks, and commercial uses”.

The broader area being considered spans East to West from Mississauga Road to Winston Churchill Boulevard and North to South from Steeles Avenue to Highway 407, constituting Secondary Plan Area 40 in the City’s Official Plan. The intersection of Steeles Avenue and Mississauga Road has been envisioned as a gateway into Brampton from the south. A secondary gateway is envisioned for the intersection of Steeles Avenue and Winston Churchill Boulevard from the west.

For additional context and site details, read www.brampton.ca (PDF).

 

Project Description

 
Brampton seeks to be a national leader in urbanizing suburbia by drawing on its diversity and unique mix of assets. To establish itself as the pulse of ‘The New 905’, the City seeks to develop a vision for a large-scale innovation district that will promote high-skilled employment. The Bram West Secondary Plan goals that support the area’s re-envisioning include developing “an attractive and ordered form of appropriate building heights, massing, setbacks, streetscapes, gateways and architectural treatments” and “the promotion of the highest quality architecture and urban design in both the public and private realm while taking into account the intended functions of the building”. 
 
The vision for such a district should include a strategy to promote high-skilled jobs, complementary urban development, and the attendant amenities, design, sustainability, and financial considerations that will attract and retain high-skilled workers to the area. Already home to global employers like Loblaws, Air Canada, Medtronics, Amazon and Canon, the area is well suited for attracting innovative startup companies, branch offices of established firms, and staging pilot projects. 
 
A substantial portion of this project will require understanding the area’s present employment conditions and future opportunities. This is in addition to the policy and space requirements for innovation districts, including opportunities for developing cultural and technology industries, smart city initiatives, adaptive reuse of buildings, sustainable design guidelines, and financial incentives, among others.

Design Problem

The student Capstone team will be expected to develop an economic development strategy, policy framework, and design guidelines for the Bram West lands. 
 
Doing so will include, but is not limited to, the following considerations: 

1. Site selection, scoping, and building a case for a Brampton innovation district 

2. Understanding the employment mix, policy frameworks, built form, and incentives of existing precedents of innovation districts (e.g. Lindholmen Science Park)

3. Conducting a market analysis of employment uses that support Brampton’s cultural and innovation industries 

4. Identifying opportunities that exist for re-purposing the existing buildings and infrastructure in the Bram West area 

5. Re-envisioning the Bram West area, including:

Economic development strategy that includes jobs and employment mix.
Secondary area plan for Bram West that includes a land use strategy to address current issue of residential, agricultural, and employment interfacing
A balanced transportation system, incorporating roads, public transit, pathways and transportation demand management elements that provide efficient transportation links.  
Zoning bylaws that facilitate new employment typologies 
 Integration of arts and culture amenities and cultural industries  
Triple-bottom line sustainability 
20-minute neighbourhood principles 
Municipal incentives to attract and retain innovation firms and talent 
6. Contextualizing the Bram West vision at various scales and timelines.

7. Identifying and anticipating potential issues for planning, jobs, and urban development in the Bram West area.