In the last decade, unprecedented urban migration has made cities a major destination worldwide. Here in Toronto, we are at a critical moment in our city’s urban development trajectory, with our city projected to welcome 100,00+ new residents each year for the next decade. Today, Toronto is bursting at the seams, covered in networks of crumbling infrastructure and plagued with transit system that is 30 years behind its capacity to service existing riders. We remain tied to deceptive notions of neighbourhood stability that limit our ability to shift form and function to accommodate new flows of people, goods, ideas, and businesses in existing neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, the speculative land trade continues to drive the form of our city as a direct response to profit margins, with little regard for civic space.
As Toronto continues to grow, the question of how to manage the influx of new residents while enhancing diversity, connectivity, livability, and equity becomes paramount. We find ourselves at a tipping point, where how we manage this growth in Toronto will be a testament to our maturation as a city.
Out of this context emerges How Does Your Neighbourhood Grow?: an exhibit exploring questions of typology and sustainability in the mid-rise debate, here in Toronto and abroad. Charting the urban development histories of seven major global cities, the exhibit will examine key “tipping points” in the urban growth trajectory that produce distinct patterns of development and architectural typologies. Culminating in an exploration of Toronto’s own development, the exhibit uncovers the natural, economic, social, and cultural factors influencing the ways in which growth and density are made manifest in our cities.
Investigating historical development processes and analyzing commonalities, How Does Your Neighbourhood Grow? will reveal global patterns and particularities in how the mid-rise urban form emerges, and the implications of ongoing growth and change processes for Toronto. An interactive installation by Agents of Urban Change, incorporating movable building blocks and statistical projections, will enable visitors to manipulate Toronto’s future density and form and visualize the impacts of building typology on the ways in which density is captured.
How Does Your Neighbourhood Grow? seeks to explore solutions that balance livability, affordability, good design, and a renewed interest in the public realm. By looking to other cities that have accommodated growth through density over time, the exhibit will uncover possibilities for how Toronto could perform in its next iteration. The exhibit will catalyze a conversation about how our buildings, neighbourhoods, and city can shift to accommodate the ebb and flow of people, businesses, and amenities that cycle naturally in the urban context. How Does Your Neighbourhood Grow? will challenge residents to shift from debate to dialogue to meet the challenges of the decade with courage, innovation, and confidence in Toronto’s future.
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The Centre for City Ecology