Page 70

The new greenbelt cycling route WWW.GREENBELT.CA

city, the ravines serve an important part of everyday life in Toronto, especially on a recreational level. Bike and pedestrian trails form a loop of slow traffic routes that connect daily urban systems in the city, according to Woodland. The ravines have however brought problems related to safety, serving as a refuge for homeless and the illegal dumping of garbage (The Globe and Mail, 2010). According to Jane Wolff (Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, 2015), the green belt area was not originally intended for recreational use, but Torontonians still colonized the beautiful cottage landscape. The outer landscape serves older generations who leave the city and drive 2-3 hours north, often causing weekend traffic jams between May and October. Recently, programs aimed at installing and maintaining trails and other recre-

Toronto Metropolitan Area (CA)

“Part of building a greener and more prosperous future for Toronto involves unlocking the economic and environmental potential of the port lands.” JOHN TORY, MAYOR OF TORONTO, 2014 (SPEECH)

ational developments, such as in the new national park along the Rouge River are being developed. The implementation of the ambitious “Toronto Bike Plan” (2001) came to a standstill when Tom Ford was elected mayor in 2010. Having promised in his campaign to “stop the war on cars”, he actually had several kilometers of the Jarvis Street Bicycle Lane removed (Bikes vs Cars, 2015). The current mayor, John Tory, is taking a similar position with regards to the urban cycling plans. The renewed waterfront, a project that had started already in the year 2000 and couldn’t be stopped, was inaugurated in 2015, including a boardwalk for pedestrians and cyclists.

Opening waterfront Toronto PHOTOGRAPHY: RIETTE BOSCH



KNOWLEDGE HABITAT Toronto’s economy has diversified into several service-based industries. It is the center of the Anglophone media industry in Canada, advertising, fashion, software development and pharmaceutical industry, as well as entertainment. Wolff explains that the latter is a result of the cheaper Canadian dollar and the American-like streetscape, which together make the filming of movies in the city attractive. Above all of these industries however, Toronto is first and foremost a financial center, the third largest in North America after New York and Chicago. The financial position of the Greater Toronto Area has in turn attracted many multinational headquarters. The metropolitan region has also developed its tourist industry, transforming central harbor areas for residential and mixed use. These areas, which offer a piece of heritage situated in the vibrant center of Toronto, attract the families of young professionals who often work in the nearby-located banking sector.

Due to its cultural diversity, Toronto is a popular example of ‘creative class’ geographer Richard Florida. The new developments along the waterfront and in other parts of the metropolitan landscape have the potential to further strengthen this quality. The highest concentration of high-tech companies in the whole of Canada can be found in the city of Markham, located 20 kilometers away from Toronto’s center. Together with two satellite locations of the University of Toronto, the town of Markham as Canada’s ‘High-Tech Capital’ represents the dispersal of the knowledge structure in metropolitan Toronto. Politicians like Bill Mauro (Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry) and Kathleen Wynne (Premier of Ontario) have explicitly linked landscape development to the economic success and competitiveness of Toronto. This relationship is further visible in the “Toronto Official Plan” (2010). The diversity of landscapes, from plains to mountains to water, is viewed as the metropolitan region’s most attractive element. According to Woodland, outdoor activities like hiking and real estate prices have increased as a result of the growing banking sector and influx of these workers over the last 20 years. The recent “Port Land Project” includes the restoration of the mouth of the Don River. Public money, which is invested in water ecology aims to not only create an attractive environment, but also provide space for new developments near the central area. The rerouting of the Don eliminates the current 90-degree angle, providing a better connection to the lake and thereby reducing the flood risk of an area totaling to 3.5 square kilometers. In the summer of 2015 the municipality approved funding for an environmental assessment. Woodland reminds us that “healthy cities need to have nature incorporated” and that green infrastructure makes good economic sense, especially in the light of climate change. The concept of green infrastructure, used at the TRCA, integrates different functions of the landscape with the urban economy, saving money on flood containment structures, increasing natural heritage assets and real estate prices, while also accommodating new public leisure activities in the landscape. Events are an important part of experiencing the landscape, for example those concerning monuments and aboriginal culture or the yearly ‘Paddle the Don’, when the dam is slightly opened to allow rafting in the shallow river. Even eight years before the new waterfront was to be built, the city prepared the forthcoming development by creating the temporary cycling lane ‘Arc de Velo’ or ‘Triumph Gate’, which replaced one of the busiest traffic lanes. METROPOLITAN LANDSCAPE POLICIES The “Toronto Official Plan” (2010) claims that “The City’s Green Space System, made up of parks and green spaces, the natural heritage system and a variety of privately managed but publicly accessible spaces, is an integral part of our quality of life and social well-being. It provides opportunities for re­ creation, relaxation and experiencing nature in

BOEK Blind Spot - metropolitan landscape in the global battle for talent (4/2016, Deltametropolis)  

Publication in English, webpage in Dutch: De publicatie Blind Spot bekijkt de relatie tussen kwalitei...

BOEK Blind Spot - metropolitan landscape in the global battle for talent (4/2016, Deltametropolis)  

Publication in English, webpage in Dutch: De publicatie Blind Spot bekijkt de relatie tussen kwalitei...