City of Brampton: The Bram West Lands


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

Student Team

Shan (Sharon) Zhang is a fourth-year student at Rotman Commerce, specializing in Public Accounting and majoring in Economics. She is interested in the application of behavioural studies and data science to assist in urban planning, with a specific focus the economic development. She helps the team to come out with a comprehensive development plan on the design of the innovation district and collaborates with teammates coming from different backgrounds to explore the Bram West Land's potentials.

Shan is also a Student Auditor at the University of Toronto Internal Audit Department and an RA at the behavioural Lab at the Rotman School of Management. She was placed second place at the Rotman Commerce Accounting in Reality Case Competition in 2019 and third at the Rotman Commerce Trading Competition in 2017. She found the opportunity at the School of Cities provides her with a unique opportunity to think beyond the knowledge taught in the class and explore insightful approaches to solve the city's growing problems.

Afsah Ali is a fourth-year student at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in Technology and Minor in Visual Studies. As a native of Brampton and witness to its ongoing development, Afsah articulated an approach that draws upon existing notable developments (such as Chinguacousy Park and City Hall), the use of scoping and site analysis, creation of accessible routes, and a continuation of the city's urban design, to better the community and future residents. She is also an active member in the school’s community through her work as a Graphic Design Director for the Muslim’s Student Association, and Commuter Life Representative for the Architectural and Visual Studies’ Student Union.

Petros Kwan is a fourth-year student in the Department of Geography and Planning, Specializing in Planning, and double majoring in in Political Science. Over the summer, Petros interned as a Data Analyst and Policy Research Intern at the Place Management department of Singapore’s national planning agency, where he created forecasting models for footfall projections to guide future policy recommendations. Petros is interested in the use of big data in optimizing public space, and will employ an analytics-driven policy research approach to the project.

Patrick Ladly-Fredeen is a fourth-year student at the Rotman School of Management, pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce with a Specialist in Strategy and Innovation, minor in Economics. Building off of his experience working at a number of start-ups, Patrick is particularly interested in the Bram West lands’ potential as an innovation hub, focusing on affordable office spaces and sustainability. Patrick works for Just Vertical, an urban farming start-up, and he is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Playform, a start-up that connects athletes looking for recreational space with vacant facilities.

Bram West Land: HERE