Students and clients collaborated on the following projects in the 2019-20 academic year.
The City of Brampton is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. It is uniquely situated along Ontario’s Innovation Super-Corridor 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.
The Bram West lands in Brampton’s southwest corner is identified in Vision 2040 as one of Brampton’s five new Town Centres. 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. 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 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.
The student team worked to develop an economic development strategy, policy framework, and design guidelines for the Bram West lands, taking into consideration the site selection and employment mix. They conducted a market analysis of employment uses; identified opportunities for re-purposing the existing buildings and infrastructure in the Bram West area; contextualized the Bram West vision at various scales and timelines; and identified and anticipated potential issues for planning, jobs, and urban development in the Bram West area.
The Municipality of Clarington recognized that it must act to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and so the council directed staff to develop the Clarington Climate Action Plan. This plan aimed to identify the risks and opportunities that climate change is presenting to Clarington and propose measures that the municipality should take to respond.
Many municipalities around the word have taken steps to develop plans to respond to climate change, but many do not follow through on implementation. Research was needed to understand the challenges that Clarington would face when implementing its Climate Action Plan, and a set of best practices was needed to inform the creation of an implementation strategy. MUCP students were asked to research the challenges faced by other municipalities and the successful implementation strategies used by them; identify the greatest challenges and opportunities that Clarington may face; and develop a set of best practices that municipalities can follow to ensure long-terms success in implementing Climate Action Plans.
If you have ever visited Toronto City Hall, it is hard to miss the three-dimensional architectural model of the City of Toronto located just inside the front entrance. The City of Toronto model is a popular tourist attraction and educational piece, viewed without cost by visitors to Toronto City Hall each year. This three-dimensional model of the city core has helped us see our city, test redevelopment options, consider growth and expansion patterns, and imagine the future. However, over the course of more than 30 years, the model has become out-of-dat, and it has never had a comprehensive engagement program developed and currently is part of the City’s tour and education program for students.
The primary focus of the MUCP project was to identify, craft and innovate new strategies to deliver a program for comprehensive civic engagement with the model and its digital twin. The students crafted an educational engagement plan connecting the physical model and digital twin and made recommendations for partnerships with a diverse group of stakeholders to deliver programming connected to a wide range of on-going activities and urban issues by leveraging the physical location and digital opportunities. The programming reflected development review, local studies, growth related change, heritage interests, infrastructure and technology and connect the activities happening in City Hall in real time. The project results included analysis of technology research and included opportunities to converge at the model via hosting/participating in events and much more.
School Boards are partners with the City and schools are essential community facilities that provide a number of benefits and services to the community. Boards face many challenges in designing outdoor space in Toronto schools. Issues such as parking, garbage, bicycle parking, access, drop-off and the Toronto Green Standard, and how they affect landscaping design and long-term maintenance costs, are key determinants in high quality schoolyard design.
Boards face serious budgetary issues and constraints when undertaking school landscaping. Through this course project, the Boards and the City were looking for opportunities to improve the process and methods used in designing and maintaining landscaping on publicly funded school sites in the City of Toronto. The notion that schoolyards be designed to maximize the amount of landscaped open space, have landscaped open space maintained properly over time, and make a contribution to the community as a source of municipal pride, were central to this proposal.
Through this multi-disciplinary project, students engaged with city divisions, school boards, community groups, eco and environmental clubs in schools, and others in order to identify school yards that are both good and bad examples of landscaping, design and maintenance; developed innovate ways of engaging the local community in a small selection of chosen schools; provided a framework for Schoolyard landscaping, design and maintenance that would be appropriate for use in all publicly-funded schools in Toronto. In so doing, the student group provided design concepts, working models and guidelines going forward for “Excellence in Schoolyard Landscape and Design”.