University of Toronto Magazine features the School of Cities’ new creative mixed-use initiative. Toronto is already a world leader in mixed-use developments: buildings that integrate multiple functions so that residents can live, work and play in the same space…Over the next decade, mixed-use buildings are set to rise in popularity. You might say they’re the environmentally correct “reverse suburbs,” in that they reduce the need for driving, put residents in closer proximity to each other and maximize resource use.
Creative mixed-uses brings together a mix of uses and partners, including examples of women’s shelters, churches and theatres with developers and public partners. “This mixing of uses allows all of the parties to solve a problem for themselves in ways that they couldn’t have done on their own,” says Matti Siemiatycki, interim director at the School of Cities. Siemiatycki has been studying these “creative mixed-use” buildings for years. An expert in city infrastructure, he believes they’re the way of the future, since they enable the city to offer a flourishing array of public and social services in spite of its density and high cost of living.
“What we’re saying is, this is actually a great way to build the city,” Siemiatycki asserts. “It opens up space, and creates synergies. It maximizes values for both partners. It builds a more vibrant and exciting city for everyone: we should be doing these as a matter of policy and priority.”
The new Creative Mixed-Use Initiative at the School of Cities is designed to “supercharge” this process by making matches between public, non profit and private partners who are interested in exploring these projects. In addition to collecting case studies and analyzing effectiveness, Siemiatycki and project manager Cecelia Pye – alongside Prof. Mark Fox and Daniela Rosu of U of T’s Centre for Social Services Engineering – recently hosted a workshop to convene potential partners.