From waterfront to watershed : mapping a big idea in the Greater Toronto Region
Author(s)Ciesielski, Linda C. (Linda Claire)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
James L. Wescoat, Jr.
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Today, Toronto is revered among Great Lakes' and waterfront cities for its environmental planning: its massive re-investment in water and stormwater infrastructure; protected headwaters of the region's rivers; realized waterfront plans; and more swimmable beaches. Twenty years ago, the Metro area was designated a hotspot of pollution, the waterfront was marked with vacant brownfields, while rampant development grew from the city's edge. This thesis explores how Toronto transformed its relationship to water and Lake Ontario by examining the work and legacy of a federal and provincial inquiry into the Future of Toronto's Waterfront. While the Royal Commission's inquiry concluded nearly twenty years ago, its impact and legacy on regional planning appears embedded in the Toronto's planning today. The Commission advanced an ecologically-based approach to planning by using the established interest in the waterfront to leverage concerns for the region's watershed. The process of the Commission inquiry served as a vehicle for garnering public support and political will for policy change. The Commission's pragmatic approach to resolving growth and development pressures alongside environmental concerns strengthened its appeal, and contributed to the adoption of many of the Commission's recommendations at the federal, provincial and municipal level. The Commission's work led to significant land use and policy reform in the early 1990s, under the Liberal and New Democratic Parties. However, these policies were rescinded under a change in federal and provincial power in 1995. They were later re-adopted in the early-to-mid 2000s. Today, the language and ideas first presented by the Commission appear to resonate to a certain degree in the region's and province's planning policies. While certain unique circumstances of Toronto and the Commission distinguish it from other cities and regions, these exceptions do not detract from the fact that the Commission's ecosystem and watershed solution for the region was exceptionally strong and persuasive. The Commission's cohesive presentation of its ecological strategy largely resonated with the public and politicians, leveraging policy change. The Commission's plan warrants attention as an important case study for cities on the Great Lakes and waterfronts.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 150-155).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.