Transit-Oriented Communities: Uptown Hurontario-Steeles Virtual Walkshop

October 2, 2020 by Cecelia Pye

Unlocking Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC): How to Capture the Value of a “26-hour City”?

This event is by invitation only.

The Greater Golden Horseshoe is the fastest growing Global City Region in North America, with anticipated 2/3 of growth to occur at places outside of TO core, connected by rapid transit investments and lands owned by the province.  TOC is the leading direction to expand healthy, convenient, high-quality live-work-play along subways networks, light rail transit LRTs and across existing GO networks.  Through strategic positioning that amplifies synergies and creates new combine benefits from public and private densifications, these TOC can transform under-performing lands into affordable, complete, walkable communities for new families to meet GTA’s unprecedented population growth and ageing population.  The effective and efficient delivery of such TOC requires a new way of problem-solving that aligns stakeholders to a shared perspective that enables concurrent decision-making, effective cross-sector collaborations and unlocking the value of untapped land, social and workforce assets.  

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto’s District Council in collaboration with the City of Brampton, City of Helsinki, Greenberg Consultants and University of Toronto School of Cities will be hosting a by invitation only virtual walkshop on the topic of unlocking transit-oriented communities (TOC) in Uptown Brampton. With the LRT coming in 2024, this area is experiencing substantial transformation into high-density, mixed-use, family-oriented, healthy and walkable transit-oriented community, taking shape through the combined interests of Provincial, Regional, Municipal, Private Sector and Community interests.

Join Yvonne Yeung, award-winning graduate from University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (FALD), Rotman School of Management, and Vice-chair of ULI National SDRC Product Council; Ken Greenberg, graduate of FALD, recipient of University of Toronto honorary doctorate and Member of Order of Canada; and Matti Siemiatycki, Interim Director of the School of Cities, Professor of Geography & Planning, and Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Planning and Finance; as they unfold the "invisible hands" that shape the 100,000 people and jobs expected at Uptown Brampton Hurontario-Steeles, and lead an emerging movement of "20-min walkable, healthy neighbourhood with Urban Community Hub" as a new growth model to deliver a "Healthy City Region of Transit-Oriented Communities" for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and global suburban transformation.

As one of the fastest-growing, most diverse, and youngest cities in the country with a higher than average household size, higher than average immigrant population with entrepreneur skills and international business connections, Brampton has adopted a "2040 Vision" to guide large shifts from car-dependence to a transit-oriented city structure, and a culture of "a City By-design" where design excellence is led by City Hall to integrate public interest through co-design with developers and community, to serve as foundation for decisions for change.

Through applying "design thinking" to solve complex problems, explore ideal future states with systemic reasoning and intuition with end-user in mind, the City has developed an innovative model to expedite sustainable economic recovery with a focus on education, walkability and attracting immigrant talents and investments which strategies including:

  • a "user-focus" delivery model that improves service efficiency, synergistic value, and adaptability to meet the current and future needs of all our citizens;
  • a "design-focus" decision-making model that shift development culture, amplify synergies, create new combine benefits (1 + 1 + 1 = 6 or 7), enable concurrent decision-making and intense cross-sector collaborations, and move away from predetermined set pieces to interactive components that make a coherent walkable place;
  • an "expandable" forward-thinking Urban Community Hub campus as the "beating heart" of the community, developed through collaboration with the University of Toronto School of Cities and public-private stakeholders that:
    • implements Provincial priorities including "Transit Oriented Communities", "Healthy Kids Strategy", "Active Living for All Ages" and "Co-location of Public Facilities in Community Hub"; 
    • reposition education, from early childhood, to build skills, competitiveness and shift our workforce towards a “tech-focused & innovative” economy achieving holistic dimensions of public health;
    • promote walkability and active transportation to eliminate the high cost of car ownership for our residents, improve citizen health, and move the City to reach a carbon-neutral goal;
    • prioritize family-oriented infrastructure including elementary school to make the new TOC a landing place for new immigrants and their families;
    • provides a strong community network fostering community leadership, promoting a welcoming environment for all newcomers; and
    • enriches traditional elementary education experience with greater access to arts & culture, technology & entrepreneurship, urban agriculture & active healthy lifestyles all under one-roof.

The purpose of the walkshop is to explore innovative ways to accelerate the coordinated delivery of TOC by sharing best practices and developing tools for effective collaborations and creating conditions to optimize share benefits.  Participants will include parties who are actively participating in transforming the Hurontario LRT area into walkable TOC, and ULI industry experts to provide independent, objective advice aimed at developing ingredients that make the TOC more equitable, resilient and enhance long-term community value.

This session is in a virtual format on Friday October 2nd 9am – 1pm. Recommendations from the walkshop will be presented at a virtual townhall webinar on the evening of Thursday, October 8, 2020 and contribute towards ULI global knowledge base.