Friday, January 27, 2012

Can Ontario deliver the continent's best land-use plan?

by Kaid Benfield

I’m fond of saying that the best-conceived plan for managing growth and development in North America is the Places to Grow framework adopted by the province of Ontario, Canada.  Constructed pursuant to enabling legislation adopted by the province in 2005, Places to Grow addresses the future of a New Hampshire-sized region around and including Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and Hamilton, its 8th-largest.  Called the “Greater Golden Horseshoe” for its bending shape around the western edge of Lake Ontario, the region also touches Lake Erie and the Georgian Bay that extends from Lake Huron.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in some of the planning sessions for Places to Grow, and in 2007 I wrote that it was the best land-use plan I have ever seen.  I’m still not sure that I have seen a better one, at least in concept:  the plan, if fully implemented, will channel growth to the places within the Horseshoe region where environmental impacts will be reduced compared to an unmanaged scenario, as well as to places, including distressed inner city neighborhoods, that would benefit from more investment, jobs and people.
The Horseshoe region is forecast to grow by 3.7 million people (a 47 percent population increase) and 1.8 million jobs by 2031.  It is already home to a quarter of Canada’s population and will soon be the third-largest urban region in North America.  Imagine the consequences if development is allowed to spread all over the land, without good planning.  Imagine the lost landscape, the additional roads and traffic, the pollution, the lost habitat, the global warming emissions.

Toronto, Canada, photo by Sweet One

more about Canada:

CN TOWER A Monument to Canadian Architecture

From Revitalisation to Revaluation in the Spence Neighbourhood

Skyline photos of Montreal 1

Graffiti photos of Vancouver 1

On defining "Sprawl"

For the Record: The First Women in Canadian Architecture

Master of Urban Design Studies- University of Toronto

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