Future Metropolitan Success..
If future metropolitan success depends on strategic renewals and re-investments in old places, what ‘plays’ or opportunities can places like Scarborough anticipate and ‘cheat toward’ or be stretching out to - based on common calculations? How can Districts better plan for all issues, in all directions from their major Community Centres and City Centres? In eastern Toronto the two interchanges requiring equal City Centre status are Kennedy Station and Scarborough Centre. Other areas like Bridlewood, Morningside Crossing, Highland Creek etc can enhance local governance through Community Centre Planning Boards, a suggested “Board of Community Council” capable of acting as Treasurer on Urban Development projects. This addition allows for de facto City Village Planning Boards to tackle Social Development, Enterprise and Housing issues through soft and hard approaches to neighbourhood improvement in Toronto. These kinds of developments in City Management are required, not so much because of the new, big bad problems we face, but the consistent nature and habits of suburban or Township living — dispersed destinations. Since most of the areas are devoted to houses and employment areas, major clusters of services like plazas and malls act as villages or urban islands for suburbanites. Places like Morningside Crossing in West Hill are presently growing and experiencing changes to its landscape. Driving through this crossroads, it’s plain to see it exists conveniently and successfully as a Suburban Village, or simply a ‘Centre’ in simple local terms. If one lives nearby, “MC” is the nearest “Centre”. If the City had a persistent connected mechanism to integrate plans and investments, perhaps a wider variety of ambitious projects would get advanced such as increased space for eduction around the villages. If a general plan can emerge for more places, i’d be cheating or leaning toward Village Design and Development, learning quickly the methods and mechanisms to do good sub-urban growth. The big breakup going on today will leave friendly fissures at all levels of the globe, down to the Villages and Hubs which run the world. A broader, UN-supported program for Global Village Development would support a critical period of experimentation before we get to 2030 when tested solutions will require scaling in all industries. Village or Place-Making is an ancient practice finding new application in high turnover and high immigration areas where a focused lens and lever is needed again to make daily life more doable. Village Boards or Councils, relieved from the past work of by-law making and public works, are freer to focus energy on anticipating social and economic needs and their local convergences around the Village Area. In practice, the Boards would excel at Problem / Need Identification and Village Area Investment Proposals that get voted on by Borough Councils. For a better bet, we should be leaning inwards towards the small networks of mighty villages that help us work, learn and love. No man’s an island but some suburban villages area. They’re surrounded by housing of all varieties. It’s the sea of housing surrounding the villages that should be equally interesting to the architect. This is where the individual action will be, where density gets really done. Gradually neighbourhoods around villages and education areas will sensitively intensify/densify with more housing. With stronger focus on these two sides of the scale, Hubs and Dwellings, we can start to better anticipate and encourage private construction of profitable social dwelling units that support the current and emerging needs of these Centres or Urban Islands.