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How cities grow is set to change. In the Greater Toronto Area, both Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan and Growth Plan for the Golden Greater Horseshoe are set to have a significant impact on how and where urban growth will occur in the near future. Since 2006 the Greenbelt Plan has protected the Greenbelt, a 1.8 million acre urban growth boundary of sensitive and agricultural land, from urban development. Forming a containment ring around the Greater Toronto Area, the Greenbelt leaves a finite amount of easily developable greenfield land within its inner ring: an area known as the Whitebelt. As the Whitebelt becomes depleted, change in the location and manner of accommodating urban growth will need to be adapted. In support of the Greenbelt Plan, Ontario’s Growth Plan set a benchmark requiring that 40% of all future residential growth intensify existing urban areas advocating that development occur in a manner that creates self-sufficient and complete communities. Investigations by the Neptis Foundation reveal that consolidating intensification around high-order transit areas is a beneficial scenario to accommodate such growth. Aiding this, recent transit infrastructure investments by the Ontario Government will offer more opportunities for transit-orientated intensification. The identification of potential intensification sites led to the selection of Scarborough’s Golden Mile as a case study site. Redeveloping this district into a dense, activated, transit-supportive and pedestrian-orientated urban area that not only accommodates population and employment densities, but also one that accommodates a mix of dwelling types, jobs, stores, and institutions in the support of the daily life of a diverse and complete community required the analysis of the site’s conditions, its applicable official policies, and an investigation into the potential treatment of its streets, blocks, and architecture. Together the policies, site conditions, and urban studies would develop the guiding principles for the case study site’s reurbanization. Transformation of the case study site depended upon the successful redevelopment of Eglinton Avenue: the area’s social nerve. Acting as both street and place, the Avenue’s redevelopment required an appropriate mix of different modes of transit, the ability to accommodate a variety of urban functions, the development of suitable architecture and urban spaces, and the promotion of an activated street life. The Avenue’s blocks, currently large commercial and industrial superblocks, were reduced and repurposed to support a mix of land-uses and architectural types aiming to create a more attractive pedestrian-orientated district. Using a consolidated intensification scenario, this thesis investigates how future intensification sites could be redeveloped into complete communities. By reurbanizing a case study site, it transforms policies into a potential urban form allowing for a more critical analysis of the opportunities, issues, and possibilities provided by this manner of growth.
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Jonathan Clarke (2016). Intensifying Toronto. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/10994