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Š Institute without Boundaries 2012 ISBN# 978-0-9866273-5-4 No part of this work may be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the publisher except for a brief quotation (not exceeding 200 words) in a review or professional work. WARRANTIES The information in this document is for informational purposes only. While efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy and veracity of the information in this document, and, although the Institute without Boundaries at George Brown College relies on reputable sources and believes the information posted in this document is correct, the Institute without Boundaries at George Brown College does not warrant the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information in this document. Such information is provided “as is� without warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied (including, but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose), the Institute without Boundaries is not responsible in any way for damages (including but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages) arising out of the use of this document nor are liable for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


A CHANGE LAB FOR MARKHAM The Institute without Boundaries Class of 2012 Asma Khanani Caporaletti Dana Seguin Matthew Koop-Pearce Nikki Hsiao Chi Shih Raymundo Pavan Gutierrez




What Is COLAB? What Does COLAB Do? How Does COLAB Work

STUDY : MSM 40 CASE Site Context



STUDY : OKR 66 CASE Site Context COLAB At Work

98 NEXT STEPS Markham Meet COLAB Meet the Designers



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IwB + MKHM = COLAB COLAB is an interdisciplinary design solutions unit for Markham. COLAB draws on the resources of the municipality, the dynamism of the private sector and the wisdom of the community to research, design, develop and prototype innovative solutions to 21st century urban challenges. Founded in 2003, the Institute without Boundaries (IwB) is a Toronto-based studio that works toward collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. The Institute views the designer as a problem solver with the ability to effect positive change for humanity. The studio offers a one-year intensive postgraduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Design Strategy. The Major Project for the 2011/2012 academic year was the third year of the City Systems series at the Institute. As part of this year’s exploration of edge cities, students at the IwB spent nine months studying Markham, Ontario, exploring the various systems that make up the municipality and proposing design strategies and key interventions for Highway 7 and the other main streets of Markham. The IwB design team for 2011/2012 is made up of five students from different professional and international backgrounds. Each applied their distinctive personal experiences and unique combination of abilities to addressing the particular needs of edge cities. Edge cities emerged in North America during the late 50’s and early 60’s as a result of post-war development patterns and the rise of automobile-oriented urban planning. In Toronto, the combined effect of development subsidies offered through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the opening of the 400-series network of superhighways, transformed outlying rural hamlets and villages into suburban residential communities. The history of Markham’s transformation from a collection of small villages to a leading Canadian edge city follows this general trajectory. Unlike the conventional view of the edge city as a homogeneous suburb, Markham is a city with an incredibly diverse population, a strong sense of civic pride, and a municipal governance structure that is visionary and ambitious. Markham’s position as a high tech capital in Canada and its emphasis on leadership in innovation made this an

exciting project partnership. Members of the community, as well as municipal and local business representatives, worked with students throughout the project, acting as advisors during charrettes, reviewing proposals, attending presentations and providing ongoing feedback and support. In partnering with Markham, students experienced firsthand the challenges that Markham faces as it strives to position itself at the forefront of sustainable urban leadership in Canada. Students explored these challenges through intensive and collaborative design projects, considering issues such as sustainable transportation infrastructure, community cultural cohesion and youth retention, intensification through live/work residential development and supporting creative industry hubs. During these design projects, key insights emerged: for innovative ideas to take root, one must work from within a community rather than alongside it; innovation arises in environments that embrace interdisciplinary collaboration, experimentation and divergent thinking; and addressing complex urban problems requires a systemsthinking approach. The 2012 City Systems team proposes a forward-looking strategy. We propose COLAB: A Change Lab for Markham. COLAB is an interdisciplinary design solutions unit drawing on the resources of the municipality, the dynamism of the private sector and the wisdom of the community to research, design, develop and prototype innovative solutions to 21st century urban challenges. In this proposal, we will demonstrate the usefulness and suitability of change labs for confronting complex urban-scale issues by highlighting our year’s work, explaining the key insights that lead to us to this proposal and outlining the requirements, processes and strategies necessary to establish COLAB within Markham. Two case studies are presented as models illustrating how a functioning COLAB would use design innovation to tackle small and large-scale main street revitalizations.

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UNDERSTANDING MARKHAM Since 2009, the City Systems project at the Institute without Boundaries has gathered interdisciplinary teams of students and professionals to examine the city at macro and micro scales and consider how design can expand the possibilities of our shared existence. Year three asked students to examine and understand edge cities and propose new design strategies for sustainable communities. With the Town of Markham as the project partner, a small group of students embarked on a nine-month journey, creating design visions to support Markham’s economic and sustainability objectives. Our year at the Institute began with a question: what makes a complete street? Nine months, four charrettes, two exhibitions and innumerable design projects later, our understanding of this question – of edge cities in general – has evolved considerably. From the outset, we challenged the premise that a street, or a city for that matter, could ever be complete. More than being a philosophical question, this challenge emerged out of a consensus that the city is an unfinished project, always shifting and changing form to meet new realities. The main streets of Markham provide a remarkable case study in this change, evolving over more than two centuries from concession boundaries cutting lines through the forests of the Rouge River Valley, to dusty rural roads, to their present day condition as regional arterial highways. Rather than ask abstractly what ‘ingredients’ make up the complete street, we felt it was more pressing to consider design strategies and tactics that worked with existing main street conditions to enable and support sustainable change.

Our objective was not to diagnose problems, but to identify strategic opportunities and leverage existing public and private assets to effect the greatest impact. Feeling our way through the design process, we worked collaboratively on design projects to re-imagine community infrastructure; consider alternative uses for parking lots and greenfields; create tools to empower small business; identify and celebrate community landmarks; and define creative industry hubs. Our design proposals were presented, refined and re-presented for internal and public scrutiny through charrettes, exhibitions and internal critiques. With each project and new design proposal, we challenged each other to get to the root of the design issue, to question our assumptions and biases, and to be clear about the values driving our work.

At the end of nine months, what emerged as a more important consideration than any one particular strategy or proposal was the framework that we used to achieve design innovation. The elements of this framework include an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, collaboration with community, solutionsoriented design development and the thoughtful application of seven core design processes and methods.

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RESEARCH Research is the gathering of information to establish a context for making informed decisions. It may include interviews, photos, events, experiences, community engagement, lectures, academic research and demographic analysis.



Constitutional Act passed, provinces of Upper and Lower Canada est.



Home District reorganized into 2 counties: Simcoe & York 65 families arrived from Pennsylvania

Upper Canada received English law & institutions Lower Canada retained French law, institutions, privileges

1st calvary militia est. in Buttonville (now Gov Gen's Horse Guards Regiment)

Representative gov’ts created in both provinces w/ creation of legislative assemblies


County system est. Twps of Markham, Vaughn, King, Whitchurch, East Gwillimbury, North Gwillimbury, Georgina became Cty of York

Cedar Grove Blacksmith shop built Markham Fair began

Water-powered saw mill built on Little Rouge River

Markham Railway Stn built Toronto and Nippissing Railway



John Thompson operated a passenger vehicle from Toronto to Richmond Hill via Yonge St btw 1880 & 1896

In line with the latest planning ideas, the new superhighways were built in a landscaped park-like setting and were intended to be viewed as works of art

The province of Ontario passes the Planning Act requiring each urban municipality to have its own Planning Board. York County forms the Toronto and York Planning Board

Union Mills est. along Rouge River located @ Main St and Rouge River (burned down 1934)

Clergy reserves of land sold off

S.S.#5 built in Buttonville (now York Regional school Board Heritage Schoolhouse)

Grice General store opens on Yonge St in Thornhill



1st Locust Hill Railway Station built

Ontario Power Commission est.

Provincially subsidized road construction began Cty roads & suburban roads received 40% construction cost 20% maintenance cost

1st Chinese immigrants arrived in Markham (paid Canadian head tax for landing, no voting rights) First Mill opened by Benjamin Thorne, Thornhill

Town Hall built and estabished on Main St Markham (now home to private business)

Hydro Electric Commission of Ontario est.

Stiver Mill built, Unionville

Mount Joy School built (later moved to Markham Museum)

Ford automobiles replaced Speight wagons

Natural environment cleared of lumber and cultivated - Thornhill, Unionville, Markham Village expand & new specialized industries evolve

First master plan of Toronto is adopted proposing development on fringes to be built w/ <50% density than the core & 'superhighways' crisscross the downtown

Simcoe instructed Yonge St be from York (now Toronto) to Holland Landing



Italian immigrant Pagnello family arrived at Box Grove

Upper Canada Rebellion

Large influx of Scottish, English and Irish families

William Weller launched Royal Mail Line coaches are painted bright yellow; decorated with the King's Coat of Arms; drawn by four horses with relays every 15 miles

Ft York Cty est. by Lt Gov. John Graves Simcoe. Incl. York, Peel Halton Regions, Toronto, Durham, Hamilton.







Farming became largest industry in Markham

Yonge Subway opened

Replacement Locust Hill Train Station built (service stops in 1969 - later moved to Markham Museum)

Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation est

Buttonville General Store est. (later restored and now converted into day spa)

Markham industrialised; bringing immigration & economic stimulation

Longo's est. in Markham

Planned shopping mall format developed by Victor Gruen mid-1950s

The Toronto Centred Region Plan warns that unstructured sprawl can create costly road and service systems. York Region est. Markham Museum opened (former Mount Joy School)

1st Chinese professional Dentist Dr Lem began practice in Markham

Ontario Department of Highways designated Toronto Bypass & Toronto-Barrie hwys as 400 series w/ 400 designation going to Toronto-Barrie Hwy & 401 to Toronto Bypass.

Toronto ringed by super hwys that pushed development and pop’n to edge. Former concession rds transformed into grid of four & six lane arterial roadways at enormous expense

Markham theatre completed Expolsive growth in new subdivisions Construction began on Highway 407

Hwy 404 inaugurated

Toronto Bypass (Hwy 401) used by 70 000 vehicles/ day

Markham saw major influx of post-war Euro immigration

National Housing Act est.

Twp of Markham incl. Markham, Unionville and parts of Thornhill

OWRC approved creation pkg plant on Don River in Village of Markham. Pop’n of Markham soon dbls to 4000.

Markham's centennial as a municipality

1st master plan of Toronto adopted. Est. future growth to take place in adjacent rural municipalities & est. need for planning to consider entire region

Planning begins for Toronto region's 1st superhighway: Middle Road -later QEW- connects Toronto & Hamilton. Funded by Province.

The Bloor-Danforth line is opened btwn Woodbine Ave & Keele St

Metro Toronto Council authorized construction of DVP

Construction of Toronto Bypass began in sections. By 1956 direct route est. from the Rouge River to the Humber River.

Transportation planner Norman Wilson recommended major road build along Don Valley

Milliken Public School built (later Scarborough Christian School) in Milliken Mills

Markham Twp surveyed, laid out in ten concessions running N&S from Yonge St to Pickering Town Line and divided by six side roads E&W

Market Village Mall built

Markham branded itself "High Tech Capital of Canada" Frederick Horsman Varley Art Gallery opened, named after an artist from the Group of Seven, Frederick Varley - Unionville Main St.

Town of Markham created absorbing villages of Unionville and Markham & most of former Township of Markham

Markham received motto as part of Coat of Arms "Leading while Remembering" in reference to responsibility of history and future innovation in Markham

York Durham Sewage System (YDSS) begins construction

Town Council est. 8 town wards and 8 ward councillors, 4 regional councillors Markham attracted major global businesses hi-tech & pharmaceutical industry

Pacific Mall opened as largest indoor Asian market at former site of historical Cullen Country Barns

1854 Canada and the U.S. signed a Reciprocity Treaty ensuring reduction of customs duties

1812 War of 1812: US declared war against Britain

Yonge St began in Thornhill

1817 Anglo-Russian treaty over British territory in northwestern North America

Yonge St built to Bloor by Berczy

1837 William Lyon Mackenzie led Rebellion

1796 York became the capital of Upper Canada

1793 Slavery abolished in Upper Canada Reign of Terror began Roman Catholicism banned in France

1871 Provinces and territories joined Confederation or were created from existing parts of Canada

1878 Anti-Chinese sentiment in British Columbia reached a high point as government banned Chinese workers from public works

1803 First paper mill established in Lower Canada producing paper from cloth rags

The economic depression ended in Canada.

1911 Proposal for free trade between the United States and Canada is rejected in a fiercely contested general election

US proclaimed its neutrality

100 000

10 000


1975 Toronto's CN Tower became world's tallest free-standing structure 1929-1931 The Great Depression

1962 Trans-Canada Highway opened 1972 Rosemary Brown was the first black woman elected to the provincial legislature in British Columbia

1944 WWII

1880 Canadian Pacific Railway recruited thousands of underpaid Chinese Labourers 1900 Canadian-born Reginald Fessenden made the first wireless radio broadcast near Washington, D.C., narrowly beating Marconi, who received the first transatlantic radio message at St. John's, Newfoundland, in the following year

Holy Roman Empire declared war on France

Our primary research methods involved weekly site visits to Markham, interviews with local residents and small business owners, and creative mapping exercises. Consolidating this enormous volume of research into a major research document, we were able to extract insights and preliminary design

100 000 people rushed to the Yukon in hope of getting rich

1920 The Group of Seven artists held their first exhibition in Toronto

1914 WWI

1950 Regent Park became first low-rent housing development in Toronto

GE & Gov’t of Ontario announced $40 million Grid IQ™ Innovation Center to be located in Markham

The Town of Markham converted fleet of diesel vehicles & equipment to biodiesel October 2008-June 2009 Phase 1 of Integrated Leisure Master Plan implemented

Markham District Energy founded

Influx of Vietnamese immigration following US occupation

New urbanism, smart growth and sustainable development policies emerged in Markham

Much of Markham's farm land began disappearing

Markham Council adopted ‘Zero Waste’ as sustainability initiative to change municipality from waste managers to resource management organization

Markham Transit merged w/ York Region Transit

Province of Ontario passed Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act

IBM est. in Markham IBM opened new high-tech facility bordering the Rouge River Valley with private ramp

Markham Council joined UNESCO's Canadian Council of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination to develop Plan of Action for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination

Markham campus of Seneca College - 1st post secondary institution for Markham

Markham Transit est.

1896 Clifford Sifton named minister of the interior with the task of filling the Prairies with settlers. Gold is discovered in the Klondike

Markham Environmental Sustainability Fund est.

Powerstream Company founded

Markham incorporated as a town

Unionville Main St began

1791 Canada Constitutional Act divided country into Upper and Lower Canada

Hwy 407 inaugurated Strategy Plan est. - originally planned to Town of Markham bypass busiest part of named as one of the Hwy 401 10 most enlightened Honda Canada Inc. opened suburban areas in "Honda Boulevard" off North America by Utne Woodbine Rd bypass Magazine leading to its new head Ontario Ministry of office campus Transportation Public art at Markham downloaded portions Centre. “The Park Is of Hwy 7 to regional Now” by Dyan Marie Markham's 10 Year Cultural and municipal gov'ts six acre park plan Plan completed and presented intended to become the to Council in Spring of 2011 heart of a new Increased Chinese community and new city immigration to Markham - Markham City Centre Viva transit location at Enterprise Blvd. and Warden Ave

Markville Shopping Centre opened

Markville Mall opened

75 German Lutheran families arrived the "Berczy settlers" who founded German Mills

Lutheran churches N of Unionville & in Buttonville built


10 year Economic

Former slave and preacher Richard Barnhard of Methodist church arrived (now St.Andrew's United Church) in Markham

Reesorville renamed Markham Heintzman House built aka Sunnyside Manor Farm



Foundations of prosperous community est.: churches, cemetaries

Pacific Mall and Market Village announced expansion to S. Markham

1989 Free-trade agreement between Canada and the United States came into effect

1971 Canadian Federal government officially adopted a policy of multiculturalism

1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait

1997 The People's Republic of China took over Hong Kong

Markham Energy Conservation Office est. w/ funding from Town of Markham & PowerStream. Aimed to position the Town of Markham as a leader & municipal champion in energy conservation.

Province of Ontario approved Places to Grow Plan for Greater Golden Horseshoe Markham comprised of six major communities: Buttonville, Cornell, Markham Village, Milliken, Thornhill, and Unionville 1st YMCA facility opened


directions that went on to inform the focus of our design projects for the remainder of the academic year. Secondary research methods involved reviewing municipal planning documents, sifting through census data and consulting historical material to assemble a database of important milestones in Markham’s history. We organized our findings

into a database and then created a timeline to see the big picture context and extract insights. We plotted the evolution of Markham’s urban form over time and overlaid it with information about significant parallel urban innovations happening at the regional, national and global scales.

Thoroughly understanding the historic, cultural, social and physical context of a place is critical to designing solutions that meet realistic objectives. Markham needs research to set a context for planning that goes beyond statistics and data to address the everyday needs of its residents.

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IDEATION Ideation encompasses a whole range of methods that help rapidly generate ideas. It is a fluid and creative process that asks the designer to suspend judgment and simply imagine. Ideation may involve brainstorming, mind mapping, drawing, sketching and model-making.

Early in the year, ideation was one of the breakthrough tools that helped us achieve design innovation. The Green Stream and Routed projects, two digital tools designed during the Sustainable Cities charrette, are powerful examples of how ideation can be used to rapidly generate a design concept. We used methods like drawing on post-it notes, sketching and modelling to share ideas. Ideation helped us work tangibly with our ideas and move them forward into other phases of the design process.

By translating our ideas into visuals, design schemes could begin to take shape as we organized these ideas into clusters or families of common concepts and used mind mapping to expand on the concepts. We discovered that ideation is most powerful when practiced in groups where diverse perspectives are invited to discuss and build on ideas in a non-judgemental environment. The ideation phase is when the big picture design direction first begins to take shape, and often the key challenges and considerations are first articulated.

Ideation is a messy, creative and experimental process that can lead to significant breakthroughs when ideas are shared and built on. Markham needs ideation that provides a venue for big-picture thinking, producing visions for Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future that are greater than the sum of its parts.

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SYSTEMS THINKING Systems thinking aims to reveal fundamental patterns through observing, modelling and visualizing complex variables and interdependencies. A city itself is a system composed of many complex interdependent variables that, acting together, create a whole.






















For many years, students at the Institute without Boundaries have developed tools to help designers incorporate systems thinking into their process. The City Systems diagram is one such tool that we used to help us model and understand the relationship between the various forces that shape a city: accessibility, diversity, identity,









cohesion, sustainability, wellness and safety. This year, we developed our own iteration of the City Systems diagram. We were interested in understanding specifically how the five city systems of culture, civics, economy, ecology and infrastructure shaped and informed important aspects of Markham’s urban morphology: buildings, public spaces































































and private plots of land. Throughout the entire design process, we returned to systems thinking again and again to ensure our designs |were truly addressing challenges in a holistic way and not simply focusing on single elements.

Cities are enormously complex. Diagramming the key variables and how they affect one another can reveal where city systems are working at their best and worst. Markham needs systems thinking to identify where new opportunities are, and how to leverage them.

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DESIGN DEVELOPMENT Design Development is the process of taking conceptual ideas and working out the details through rendering, phasing, illustrating and evaluating their impact and results. Great ideas without proper design development never leave the page.

Civic engagement was a theme that we explored through several design projects. The Civic Engagement flashcards project involved the creation of a set of informative cards that citizens of Markham could use to educate themselves about the municipal process. Design development played an important role in this project, which required taking a highly conceptual idea like municipal engagement and developing it into a physical form.

The challenge of incorporating infill building design into already built-up areas required an intensive design development process. The flexible residential and commercial design concepts we produced for Unionville during the Main Streets charrette illustrate a high level of design development in choice of materials, site positioning, scale, consideration for the needs of the surrounding community, and resolved architectural and mechanical details.

We imagined small housing typologies for land use conditions along Highway 7. In particular, our designs considered infill options for residential backyards and for the land between the property fence line and the sidewalk. In the design development phase of this project, we used our sketches and schemes to create fully detailed plans that transformed a seemingly implausible design exercise into working models of infill housing for these challenging sites.

Concepts remain notions and cannot be actualized. In this crucial phase of the design process, knowledge gained from research and systems analysis is used to ensure the design details support the given objective. Markham needs design development to take the great ideas of its staff and citizens from concept to execution. IwB + COLAB 2012â&#x20AC;&#x192; 15


PROTOTYPING Prototyping tests ideas by creating models and placing them in context to see how people respond and interact with them. Prototypes are a useful tool because they allow new products and services to be introduced, tested and refined before being released to the public. Prototyping can be used to test brand messaging as well as physical designs. At the 2012 Interior Design Show we used the trade show floor to prototype our brand message, This Is Where You Live. Using the common language of the supermarket, we designed mock-ups of grocery products, large format sale signs and receipts all as mediums to communicate the idea that the line between urban and suburban is blurring. This message was in fact a refined version of an even earlier prototype that we were eager to re-present and test further. We documented feedback as the public interacted with our brand.

We designed a series of modular urban furniture pieces and presented them in a photorealistic rendering on the corner of Warden and Highway 7. Although the image gave users a suggestion as to how they would look in context, more insightful responses would have come out of prototyping the actual furniture and setting it in context along Highway 7, where the public could interact and offer feedback.

People need to see and interact with designs in context to understand them. Without a systematic and controlled process of trial and revision, a good design concept runs the risk of falling short. Markham needs prototyping to allow for testing of innovative ideas that could enhance the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s competitiveness.

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COMMUNICATION Communication is the sharing and exchange of knowledge and information using a variety of methods, including written word, spoken word, diagrams, information graphics, photographs, drawings and physical models.

825 981







litres is potable water

Litres of 380 litres of waster is waste water

litres of water consumed per resident every day

Over the course of nine months, we maintained regular communication with Markham through formal meetings with public officials and representatives from local business improvement associations, as well as through informal conversations with residents. The Institute without Boundaries hosted a series of charrettes, where these stakeholders were invited to join us in our studio and collaborate on the creation of innovative design solutions to enable sustainable ways of living in Markham. Stakeholders were also invited to communicate their feedback on the direction of our designs.




community garden plots


Diagrams and infographics were one of the most powerful tools of communication we used to express our vision. Creating diagrams and organizing data into information graphics helped us bring order to complex ideas, communicate internally with colleagues and share our design visions with the public.

Communication is how ideas are shared and propagated. As designers working in the public interest, maintaining regular channels of communication with citizens and other stakeholders is essential. Markham needs communication methods that are open and meaningful to ensure the city remains responsive to the changing needs of its citizens.

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John saw the Milliken Mills events information through the website promoting travelling to Markham. He picks up a Markham one of the branding implementation- Travel Passport, from Town of Markham Information or their hotel so that they can collect stamps as a souvenir book and redemption of a complete passport results in a free meal in one of Markham’s historical districts

Mrs. Lin


Residents are encouraged to fully engage in the Town of Markham by collecting stamps based on experiences within the city’s designated ‘districts’ to fill their Markham Resident Passport. This passport is available at Town of Markham Information

The Town of Markham benefits from the social community both of these systems create, as well as notoriety for having various districts branded like most big cities. Payment, income and attendance associated with events and festivals in Markham bring revenue into the city to strengthen the economic and cultural infrastructures

Practicing strategic foresight is fundamental to sustainable design. When we imagine alternative or future scenarios, we are designing not only for the needs of people today but also for the needs of future generations. Foresighting also asks us to suspend our individual bias and exercise our empathetic imagination. We practiced our foresighting skills this year by creating personas and user scenarios to help us imagine and design for the specific needs of an individual or group. Our user scenarios set context by imagining details such as a person’s age and occupation, and then modelling how that person might interact with a proposed design.

Foresighting is a strategic way of thinking that synthesizes research insights and systems analysis to predict future trends and emerging opportunities. By understanding these patterns, leaders can design urban conditions that suit or support the coming change.

We used foresighting skills to predict two emerging trends in Markham: a reduced market demand for light industrial lands, and a rise in selfemployment and the mobile workforce. These insights allowed us to design an innovative new housing typology for Markham that transforms employment land warehouses into exciting opportunities for increasing live/work options.

Understanding emerging patterns, proposing future scenarios, and designing strategically to meet changing future needs is an important tool that cities can use to plan for a sustainable future. Markham needs foresighting that will enable the city to identify emerging trends and step in front of the leadership curve to plan for a sustainable future.

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KEY INSIGHTS Over the course of nine months spent researching and proposing design strategies for Markham’s main streets, we extracted some important insights.

The seven design processes and methods that we identified can be applied in a number of intersecting combinations, or independently, to support design innovation. These are processes that interdisciplinary teams within the municipality can use to: Understand issues from a citizen’s perspective Identify unanticipated challenges and see new opportunities Crowdsource ideas for Markham from the public and private sectors Engage the community in creative and meaningful ways Recognize emerging trends to assure competitiveness Take action to move good ideas from concept into execution Plan strategically for a sustainable future We learned that many of the challenges Markham faces are in fact opportunities for innovation when viewed from the right perspective. Innovation often happens at the periphery of established practices—when different perspectives are invited to challenge assumptions, new approaches to problem solving are born.

Our most consistent and high quality results were achieved when we worked at the intersection of the municipality, community and private sector, harnessing the knowledge and resources of each to develop strategies that went above and beyond. Innovation in this context is about enabling dialogue and collaboration between diverse partners, and providing a laboratory for new ideas and best practices to be shared and celebrated. IwB + COLAB 2012  19



WHAT IS COLAB? COLAB is an interdisciplinary design solutions unit for Markham. COLAB draws on the resources of the municipality, the dynamism of the private sector and the wisdom of the community to research, design, develop and prototype innovative solutions to 21st century urban challenges. COLAB is a laboratory for interdepartmental collaboration and problem solving within the municipality. Working with diverse stakeholders from the community, business sector and town, COLAB facilitates open communication and engages creative ideation methods to help Markham achieve its strategic sustainability objectives. COLAB is not for profit and works on a per-project basis. A core staff of two employees work with stakeholders to identify project directions and source interdisciplinary teams made up of individuals representing the public, private and municipal interests.

COLAB is on site. In order to succeed, COLAB has a physical workspace in Markham where it can collaborate with citizens, municipal staff and private sector stakeholders. COLAB is accessible, located within the Civic Centre and close to key knowledge and decision-making resources. The space is open and inviting, with room for small groups to gather around tables and design facilities that support the creative process.

COLAB is project based. COLAB consults with its stakeholders to identify project opportunities. COLAB takes on projects in the area of sustainable planning for the public realm. COLAB puts the right people on the right projects.

COLAB is ongoing. Great conversations start in collaborative environments. Business hours and online forums are not enough to support the momentum COLAB inspires in its members. COLAB regularly hosts events like charrettes and other community engagement activities to collect insight from participants.

COLAB is online. COLAB online allows for more outreach and immediate feedback. COLAB online is also a resource for current and prospective clients to explore our work. Our online presence also makes us accessible to a global audience.

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COLAB IwB + COLAB 2012  23


WHAT IS A CHANGE LAB? There is widespread global momentum toward collaborative thinking and doing. Rather than specialize in one medium and create solutions in silos, design has been expanding into the realm of participatory collaboration between client and designer. Contemporary thinking is now suggesting that the practice of engagement is a critical element of a design education. Three entities have emerged as leaders in the integration of design thinking, community engagement or a combination of both practices, to produce exceptional results: IDEO, IBM & MaRS. In June 2011, Metropolis Magazine described how IDEO had brought design thinking to the US government. This San Francisco-based product design and innovation firm had secured four contracts with different branches of the government between 2009 and 2011. This indicates that governmental interests are shifting to make their administrations more innovative and less bureaucratic. Why the sudden shift? IDEO is distinctly unscientific in their approach, but employs user engagement to extract results. The process of using design thinking to approach problems faced by government agencies often results in an overall rethink of the system at large. IBM, whose Canadian headquarters are located in Markham, has adopted the use of community engagement. In the words of IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano, “If we want to make quantum leaps in service, we need to make quantum leaps in our thinking.” For the company’s 100th anniversary, it organized a huge Service Jam that engaged both current and former staff members and their families for an eight-hour session

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to apply their skills and expertise to civic challenges and societal needs. In the publication following the Service Jam, one finding was the importance of an intermediary place or framework for service providers to come together to collaborate, learn and connect. IBM imagined a "Service University" where opensource knowledge could be shared by guest speakers from different professional backgrounds. Rather than requiring its own physical space, Service University would exist both online and at existing academic institutions. The Service Jam report also indicated that “the urgency for effective collaboration across sectors and borders is building behind a weak global economy and scarce resources for businesses, governments and non-profits alike.” All of this is an indication that the large-scale private sector players understand that change is needed, and sharing resources is how this new collaborative model makes the most sense. In February 2012, Toronto’s MaRS released a publication called Labs: Designing the Future that acknowledges the limitations of government departments and large corporations to tackle interdisciplinary challenges.

An astute quote by Charles Leadbeater, former advisor to Tony Blair, kicks off the document by stating, “In the name of doing things for people, traditional and hierarchical organizations end up doing things to people.” This is exactly how disconnection can develop between citizens and their municipal-level decision makers if collaboration between them has no forum to exist. MaRS has explored many global change lab initiatives in their examination of the concept, including the IwB. In a section about process and characteristics, MaRS compares the change lab to the science lab, in the way that a neutral space is used to problem solve in a highly experimental environment. Business and governments are beginning to understand the financial opportunity that sharing resources represents, and the high level of results that open collaboration and communication between stakeholders can generate. IDEO’s contracts with US governmental offices, IBM’s Service Jam results, and MaRS’ publication on this emerging methodology all reinforce an emerging belief: change is coming from the lab.


CHANGE LABS IN ACTION The Danish government has MindLab, and Kent in the United Kingdom has SILK (The Social Innovation Lab for Kent). The value of collaborative thinking is evident from these successful precedents. The IwB is in many ways a change lab for people, places and ideas. By collaborating with faculty, guest speakers and domestic and international students from interdisciplinary academic backgrounds, and, most importantly, by taking that collaboration and distilling it into solutions, the IwB transforms participants into design thinkers. Design thinking and the ability to work interdepartmentally without the limitations of civic bureaucracy are the value that a change lab offers.

“SILK is a small team based within Kent County Council that was set up in 2007 to ‘do policy differently’. Over the past 4 years we have been doing projects which have demonstrated the benefits of working in a different way and have developed a Methodology and Toolkit which provide a structure for the way we work. We believe that the best solutions come from the people who are closest to the issue; this could be service users, residents or frontline staff. We go much further than community consultation and we believe that people should be actively involved in the design of services that they are going to use or deliver. The SILK Methodology provides creative and innovative ways to engage with people and approach projects, and enables a collective ownership and responsibility for project design, delivery and outcomes.”

“MindLab is a cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. We are also a physical space – a neutral zone for inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration. We work with the civil servants in our three parent ministries: the Ministry of Business and Growth, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address. MindLab is instrumental in helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective. We use this approach as a platform for cocreating better ideas.”

IwB + COLAB 2012  25



COLAB conducts interviews, photo document, organizes events and experiences, fosters community engagement, consults academic research and analyzes statistical and demographic data to establish a context for making informed decisions.


COLAB uses ideation to rapidly generate innovative ideas, tailoring our methods to suit the specific requirements of the ideation exercise. Some of these methods include brainstorming, mind mapping, drawing, sketching and model making


COLAB uses systems thinking to help us understand the important relationships between the various forces that shape a city. We use tools such as the City Systems diagram and other methods to organize, categorize and visually model systems.


COLAB takes conceptual designs and works out the details by rendering, phasing, illustrating and evaluating their impact, working with our partners in the private sector to demonstrate how schematic plans would actually work.


COLAB prototypes in order to thoroughly test and refine ideas before they go live. Prototyping allows us to create models or drafts of design concepts and place them in context to see how people will respond and interact with them.


COLAB communicates with the citizen, municipal and private sector stakeholders to ensure our work remains responsive to the changing needs of the city. Facilitating open and productive channels of communication allows us to collaborate effectively.


COLAB is a strategic design solutions unit working with Markham to help the city achieve excellence and leadership in sustainability. We synthesize research insights and apply systems thinking to predict future trends and get ahead of the curve.

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IwB + COLAB 2012  27



Private Sectors


The Town of Markham is an essential client partner for COLAB. Although COLAB is an independent agency, it works closely with the municipality to find innovative ways to help the town achieve its sustainability objectives. Markham’s investment in COLAB will take three forms: financial support, information and resource support, and access to space. In addition to contributing financially, the Town of Markham will support COLAB by fostering a culture of openness and cooperation with the agency, consulting with COLAB in the official planning process and providing COLAB with access to staff. This close relationship between COLAB and the municipality will be supported by COLAB’s proximity to leaders and decision makers, being located physically in the Civic Centre.

The private sector will be a key partner in assisting COLAB to fulfill its mandate to help Markham achieve innovation in sustainability. The private sector can support COLAB in a number of ways, including providing staff with specialized knowledge and technical skills, supporting pilot projects with financial and material donations, and offering expert market advice that will be crucial to ensuring the viability of COLAB initiatives. Markham is one of Canada’s leading hubs for high technology business. An impressive group of information and communications technology companies, both large and small, have chosen to locate their offices in Markham. These companies have the resources and the wherewithal to get involved in the kinds of projects that COLAB will undertake.

Citizens support he COLAB process by contributing their expert knowledge, and volunteering their time to help execute projects. This knowledge is invaluable, as it is the citizens of Markham who live, work and play in the city and bring an intimate and intuitive knowledge of its quirks, charms and challenges. Residents often have the most visionary ideas for the future of their communities. In addition to their deep knowledge of Markham, these citizens are also a pool of talented and well-educated professionals, capable of contributing insights and skills to the projects they work on.

In exchange for this support, Markham will have access to an in-house consultancy dedicated exclusively to helping Markham achieve design innovation. COLAB meets a need that Markham has identified in its own strategic planning documents: the Green Print Sustainability Plan in particular makes a number of recommendations to support the implementation of its sustainability objectives that COLAB meets directly. These include coordinating project management of cross-departmental initiatives, embracing experimentation through pilot projects and leveraging partnerships with the private sector and community. Municipal staff will benefit directly by having a dedicated space where they can dream big and propose visionary ideas and pick up new skills in the design-thinking process that can be used to support their own work.

By supporting COLAB in its mission to help Markham achieve sustainability targets, the private sector will benefit from the creation of favourable conditions for increased growth and commercial activity in Markham. Furthermore, by supporting COLAB with intellectual capital that may lead to innovative sustainable services and technologies, the private sector stands to benefit from the creation of new market opportunities. Joining community members on projects that contribute to quality of life and healthy living is an excellent way for businesses to meet their corporate social responsibility targets in a meaningful way. By engaging with COLAB in the creative design-thinking process, business leaders can acquire new ways of problem solving and creating innovation that can be brought back to their own companies.

28  IwB + COLAB 2012

By working with COLAB, citizens are able to help shape and direct Markham’s future in a tangible way. COLAB’s projects also help citizens build capacity by helping them understand the municipal process and allowing them to build skills. Markham is already seeking to forge meaningful connections with its citizens, and engage them in the planning process. COLAB has a strong focus on citizen engagement and can help Markham achieve this. By facilitating relationships between citizens and the municipality, and engaging them in real world projects, COLAB helps citizens feel empowered to effect change in their world.


CITIZENS Markham Residents Ratepayer Assocations Community Based Organizations


MUNICIPALITY Municipality Departments Culture Services Economic Development Urban Design

IwB + COLAB 2012â&#x20AC;&#x192; 29

MARKHAM MEET COLAB COLAB is located in Markham’s Civic Centre. The physical space accommodates the creative needs of a working design studio with the administrative resources to support the Board of Directors, Manager and Coordinator.

The Board of Directors is responsible for setting the vision, mission and overarching strategic objectives of COLAB. The board is made up of nine volunteer members representing stakeholders from the community, municipal and private sectors. The board is responsible for overseeing the financial health of COLAB by pursuing funding opportunities and maintaining financial records, as well as establishing operational policy and promoting high level partnerships with industry, academic institutions and the government.

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The Manager reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for helping to establish COLAB’s strategic objectives and nurturing stakeholder partnerships. The Executive Director implements COLAB’s mission by setting program directions, submitting funding proposals and producing regular reports and program evaluations. The Executive Director also curates interdisciplinary teams to support COLAB’s ongoing projects and ensures that project results attain a high quality.

The Coordinator oversees the management of COLAB projects, guiding project teams to achieve successful results. The role of Design Coordinator requires strong leadership and facilitation skills to maintain the dayto-day working relationships of the COLAB team members. The Design Coordinator is the public face of COLAB and as such is the point of contact with the community and inquiring public. The Design Coordinator promotes the work of COLAB through public speaking engagements and other communications channels.

The COLAB space is a multipurpose Resource Area designed to support a variety of project requirements. COLAB understands that its partnerships with the community and private and municipal stakeholders are essential to its success. As such, the COLAB Resource Area is designed to support collaboration and promote a sense of optimism, possibility and dynamic energy. Facilities include computers equipped with design software, printers, a shared work table, a supply of creative materials and flexible space in which to move, model, draw and experiment.








Community Networks

Community Networks

Community Networks







IwB + COLAB 2012  31












Start Up : 6 Months


Year One : 12 Months

Jul 2012 – Dec 2013

Jan 2013 - Dec 2014






10,000 1,000

REVENUE 40,000


REVENUE 150,000


6,000 5,000

EXPENSES 150,000

10,000 27,000 30,000

Core Staff : Coordinator Key Activities: Recruit Board of Directors, incorporate as non-profit; perform community and stakeholder outreach; lead Markham strategic policy review. In the first six months of operations, COLAB will focus its energies on recruiting a board of directors and establishing itself as a non-profit organization. Ten board members will be recruited, with three each representing the citizens, private sector and municipality. $30,000 in seed money from Markham’s Department of Economic Development will cover start-up staffing costs. $10,000 grant from the United Way of York Region’s Strength Investment Fund will help cover other costs such as rent and studio facility purchases. The Strength Investment Fund supports emerging collaboratives with a mission to bring different stakeholders together to create new and innovative approaches to tackling community issues. The Manager will begin formally reaching out to community organizations and striking up working relationships with the private sector. A review of existing municipal strategic plans and, in particular, Markham’s Green Print will determine areas of strategic focus for COLAB over the following three years. A multi-stakeholder engagement process will help the Board of Directors establish a vision and mandate.



Core Staff : Coordinator + Manager Key Activities: Stakeholder outreach; Main Street greening initiative In its first year, COLAB will continue reaching out to build relationships with its citizen, private sector and municipal stakeholders. A Project Coordinator will join the Manager on the team. Another installment of $50,000 in seed money from the Department of Economic Development will go towards staff costs and overhead. The remainder of staffing and overhead costs will be covered by an additional $40,000 grant from the United Way’s Strength Investment Fund. A $10,000 grant from Evergreen’s Green Grant program, $15,000 grant from TD Bank’s Green Streets and $10,000 from the Markham Village BIA fund will help COLAB initiate its first major project: a Main Street Greening initiative. This project will work with the Markham Village BIA and residents to imagine, design and prototype smallscale greening initiatives for Main Street Markham. These will include tree and native species plantings, community gardens and a green wall prototype. This project will allow COLAB to demonstrate its value as an expert facilitator and community engager while also helping the town begin to experiment with sustainable design technology in the public realm. The Project Coordinator will recruit a landscape architecture summer student intern and volunteers to support the project.

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Year Two : 12 Months

Year Three : 12 Months

Jan 2014 – Dec 2015

Jan 2013 – Dec 2014

5,000 25,000




REVENUE 190,000





REVENUE 220,000

EXPENSES 190,000


EXPENSES 220,000

5,000 135,000


110,000 115,000

5,000 5,000 10,000


Core Staff : Coordinator + Manager Key Activities: Stakeholder outreach; knowledge sharing and capacity building with other change labs; Ontario Centres of Excellence, Social Innovation Partnership Challenge.

COLAB will continue to receive $65,000 annually in start-up financing from the United Way’s Strength Investment Fund. Over time, COLAB will build the capacity to pursue grants and projects with the private sector.

In the second and third years of operation, COLAB will focus on building its internal capacity as a change lab.

Demonstrating leadership in social innovation, COLAB will be named a "Regional Innovation Centre" in its third year as part of the Ontario Network of Excellence program.

In fulfillment of this objective, COLAB will initiate a knowledge sharing and capacity building program to connect with other change labs in Ontario and around the world to establish best practices. The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s Partnership Grant Program will provide $210,000 in funding over three years for this project.

Building on this, COLAB will establish its first formal project with a private sector partner. HydroOne will match a $50,000 grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Social Innovation Partnership Challenge. Together, COLAB and HydroOne will work with new residents in Markham Centre to develop new products, services or business models that meet social and environmental needs.

Typical Project : Main Street Markham Greening Initiative April COLAB would hire a coordinator to oversee the planning and implementation of this project. A volunteer organizing committee made up of representatives from the Markham Village Business Improvement Association, community members and municipal staff would support the coordinator. Grants from Evergreen and TD Friends of the Environment would help fund such project costs as staffing and materials. The project coordinator would work to source sponsorships from local businesses, like Sheridan Nurseries.

May & June A Jane’s Walk would be organized to explore the topic of nature in the city. This walk would offer local community members a chance to learn about the Greening Initiative and help the project to begin building momentum. The next step would be to host a community design charrette to create design visions for greening the public spaces along Main Street Markham. Following the charrette, an architectural summer intern would be hired to take the community visions and turn them into working plans.

July & August Over six weekends in July and August, community planting workshops would engage locals in bringing these plans to life. A prototype of a green wall would be created to demonstrate the advantages of this innovative sustainable technology. A wrap up event with community members would be hosted to celebrate the conclusion of the project. COLAB would publish a video document of the project to share with other communities.

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WHY DOES MARKHAM NEED COLAB? Markham is recognized as a leader among Canadian municipalities for its progressive and visionary approach to planning. Time and time again, we have observed that Markham is a city that works. A culture of collaboration, respect and pragmatic problem solving is already alive and well in the halls of the Civic Centre. COLAB is a proposal that builds on this tradition. COLAB presents Markham with an opportunity to set a high bar for interdepartmental and multistakeholder collaboration. At the heart of the COLAB vision is the simple idea that the solutions to Markham’s most pressing challenges are already at hand. As Canada’s high tech capital and one of the most diverse municipalities in the country, Markham is in the enviable position of having incredible assets in knowledge and creative capital among its citizens. Furthermore, the design processes that are at the heart of the COLAB working model– research, ideation, systems thinking, design development, prototyping, communication and foresighting– are already happening around Markham. What is not yet happening, however, is the interface between the potent mix of community, industry and municipal interests and the designthinking process within a collaborative setting. COLAB addresses this opportunity with a proposal for a design solutions unit within the municipality that is dedicated to building partnerships with community and the private sector and engaging them in creating innovative new ideas for Markham’s sustainable future. By drawing on the wisdom and perspectives of its citizens and complementing these insights with the knowledge of city staff and the dynamic energy of the private sector, design solutions can be generated that are tailor-made to meet Markham’s unique needs. COLAB responds to the need for a strategic and integrated approach to achieving sustainability that is identified in Markham's existing planning documents. Over the last decade, Markham has undertaken an impressive program of strategic planning and policy review. From the Integrated Leisure and Markham Diversity Action plans, to the Green Print Sustainability Plan, and more, the town has identified

a number of progressive sustainability and economic development objectives. These objectives encompass a range of issues from environmental health, social and cultural well-being, and economic vitality. They include recommendations for promoting greater levels of resident involvement in community stewardship; increasing the viability of local commercial food growing and processing; promoting green business development; creating a culture of walking, cycling and transit usage; and planning high performance new neighbourhoods. The Green Print Sustainability Plan sets out a number of strategies to ensure the successful implementation of these objectives. The proposed recommendations include: Coordinating project management of cross-departmental initiatives Embracing pilot projects Leveraging partnerships with the private sector Establishing stakeholder working groups Emphasizing the role of community engagement These strategies are at the heart of the COLAB model. As Markham moves forward, the city requires an approach to sustainable planning that is interdepartmental, multistakeholder and collaborative. COLAB is the design solutions unit that can facilitate communication and consensus-building between community, the private sector and municipal departments, to help Markham achieve its economic, sustainability and community development objectives.

IwB + COLAB 2012  35



CASE STUDIES The Main Street Markham and Old Kennedy Road revitalization projects are presented here as case studies to demonstrate the COLAB model at work. Each case study presents a unique approach to main street revitalization that shows how strategic problem solving and innovative ideas can be generated when interdepartmental, multi-stakeholder and collaborative design thinking is embraced. Main Street Markham and Old Kennedy Road are characterized by distinct histories, demographic make-ups and development conditions. Taken together, these case studies illustrate many of the key challenges and opportunities that Markham must consider as it pursues sustainable development, including: how best to undertake intensification in established low-density areas; how to incorporate sustainable building design within the limitations of a heritage context; how to create resilient communities and prepare for a transit-oriented future; how to meaningfully engage community and business in the revitalization process; and how to approach development that is strategic and leverages all available assets to greatest effect.

38â&#x20AC;&#x192; CASE STUDY : MSM

In both case studies, we illustrate the COLAB model of engaging community, business and municipal stakeholders in a creative process of research, ideation and communications to achieve results that respond to the real needs of people. The Main Street Markham case study shows how COLAB could help Markham use prototyping and design development to initiate small-scale design interventions for Main Street with a focus on enhancing accessibility, residential and commercial infill, and public realm infrastructure. The Old Kennedy Road case study shows how COLAB could help Markham use systems thinking and foresighting to plan for large-scale community revitalization that is strategic and establishes new market opportunities for Markham in the green economy.






CASE STUDY : MAIN STREET MARKHAM Markham Village is one of the oldest built areas in the Town of Markham. It developed as a commercial and residential area to the north of the original grist and woolen mills that were established along the Rouge River by the Berzcy family and Pennsylvania Dutch settlers. In the 19th century, the village transitioned into an important industrial and administrative centre of the region. By the turn of the century, a transformed, compact urban form had emerged, anchored at the centre by a main street with dignified commercial and administrative buildings, with a collection of perpendicular residential streets forming a grid plan and a direct rail connection to Toronto along the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, making it an ideal location for growth and opportunity. Today, despite significant changes in the architectural forms of the building, the organization of streets in the Main Street Markham district maintains its inherited 19th century grid plan form. Newer residential areas that were built in the 1950s and later, however, betray the grid pattern in favour of residential streets dominated by a network of crescents and closed circulation paths that are

oriented towards Highway 7 rather than the established Main Street commercial strip. The street is a mix of basic amenities, small businesses and boutique shops. Although the heritage character of Markham Village has been maintained with new commercial establishments, revitalization of Main Street is necessary to make full use of this potential and meet the needs of residents and business owners today. Main Street Markham presents an excellent opportunity for Markham to support growth by increasing residential and commercial density and to work with the community to design sensitive interventions that contribute to a dynamic public realm.

The largest demographic is between the ages of 40 and 65. Home-ownership and spending power are largely governed by this group. A valuable opportunity for Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future also lies in the retention of the 13-14% of the population between the ages of 10 and 19. As this demographic matures, its members will require alternative, smaller and less expensive housing options if they choose to reside near Main Street Markham. Infill housing development contributes to densification and population growth, and works to retain this valuable demographic with an alternative typology to the single-family residential unit.

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Between 43 and 46% of the population in Ward 4 & 5 are currently employed in the business and financial sector, as well as the sales and service sector. Though only 7-9% of the population of these wards is associated with the art, culture and recreation industries, there is an ideal opportunity to grow the number of employees in this sector. Main Street Markham is an ideal setting for arts, crafts, culture and recreation industries. Drawing entrepreneurs and artists to the area contributes to a streetscape enriched with studios, specialty shops and mixed-use buildings. 42â&#x20AC;&#x192; CASE STUDY : MSM


Currently of the places of work represented in Ward 4 & 5, 83% of the population is employed at usual places of work outside of the home. Only 7% work from home. As most residents in the Main Street Markham area are employed at permanent places of work, there is an opportunity to diversify the way that people work in the area. By creating live/work housing options, the population of people working from home will rise as industries of art, craft, culture and recreation also increase.

CASE STUDY : MSMâ&#x20AC;&#x192; 43


USER SCENARIO : GRACE'S STORY Heavy traffic discourages walking and cycling Existing pedestrian and public realm infrastructure is under utilized Low residential density means fewer customers for local businesses Limited employment options in the creative sector Inconsistent application of the Markham Village identity It’s Friday morning and I’m running late, but I still need to stop for a coffee on the way into work at the business that I own on Main Street Markham. I drop off my daughter at my mom’s house, a couple neighbourhoods away, and take my alternative route to work, avoiding Highway 7 because at this time in the morning, it's going to be packed. Four lanes don’t seem characteristic of the heritage area my business is in. What about those extra wide lanes from the 50’s? Those would be a dream drive along this strip.

Drink in hand, I leave to walk back down the street. It’s a quiet street in the morning and the sun is low. I have a fleeting thought that I wish my walk wasn’t crammed into 3 feet of sidewalk, that I would even bike if Main Street Markham’s lanes weren’t so busy. I could leave my bike at work, and ride up the street at lunch to run errands, instead of being stuck inside all day. We’re having people over tonight – I could pick up the cheese and olives I’m planning to serve at lunchtime instead of having to drive to the grocery store at rush hour.

There’s still plenty of street parking when I get to work; most stores won’t see too many customers until a little later. I find a spot close to the store and then make the trek to the other end of the street to get my coffee at Starbucks. This morning I’d love a baguette, but I’m at Starbucks. I go in, choose a muffin, and wait anonymously for my drink to be called out.

Grace Davis, 36 Small business owner, ceramics studio and gallery Family: Married with one child, 4 years old Hobbies: Hiking the Rouge River Valley, collecting antique furniture Favourite thing about Markham Village: The Saturday Farmers Market in the summer and the Festival of Lights in December Least favourite thing: The heavy traffic




CASE STUDY APPROACH Main Street Markham contains many important and desirable characteristics of a healthy and vibrant main street. The street possesses a fine-grained, compact urban form with beautiful heritage properties, and is represented by strong local businesses and a resourceful and engaged residential community. In the last sixty years, as the city has grown up around Markham Village, dramatic changes in urban development and shifting consumer and employment patterns have displaced the once-preeminent role of the Main Street as the heart of the city. COLAB proposes that Main Street Markham reclaim its position as the heart of the city with a program of targeted design interventions that focus on improving quality of life, accessibility and strengthening community identity. As Markham embarks on a formal revitalization initiative for Main Street in 2012/2013, COLAB sees an opportunity to support this effort, working in collaboration with municipal planning departments, business representatives and residents to imagine, design and prototype innovative solutions. Promote active transportation by making improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, including widening sidewalks and adding dedicated bike lanes; incorporating sustainable design elements such as permeable pavers; embracing universal design principles with bold and playful wayfinding signage.

Build a strong Markham Village identity by celebrating the heritage of Markham Village as a place of settlement and commerce over 200 years in the making; incorporating motifs that draw on this heritage and the traditional symbols of new Canadians in streetscape design elements; involving the community in the planning and design process.

Increase residential and commercial density by repurposing parking lots for residential and commercial development; designing alternative housing types that serve the needs of community members at every stage in life, from live/work units for young professionals to accessible apartments for the elderly.

Enhance public open spaces by building on the legacy of existing pocket parks on Main Street Markham and adding more throughout the community; incorporating green walls, green roofs and gardens to bring nature back to the city and create a unified and natural aesthetic across the main street.

Strengthen the local economy by developing infrastructure to support the creative sector; establishing co-working facilities for designers, artists and craftspeople to pursue their work and incubate new talent; creating a compact community of live/work studios for creative professionals; promoting the creative economy on Main Street through festivals and events such as artist studio tour days.

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Activity and Accessibility

Density and Infill

Creating connections to and from Markham Village will support increased levels of foot traffic on the main street. Making the street safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists will encourage the use of different transportation methods. An integrated wayfinding network is anchored by a dramatic gateway sign at Highway 7 and Main Street Markham. To support these efforts, COLAB will facilitate cooperation and dialog between the Main Street Markham BIA, Heritage Department staff, municipal engineers and planners, residents, and community associations. COLAB will help stakeholders understand the value of these changes and the impact they will have on improving accessibility for Main Street Markham.

The compact urban layout of Markham Village offers significant opportunities for increasing commercial and residential density. Overlooked spaces such as parking lots, gaps between buildings, and even residential backyards can all be developed to add increased density. Understanding the housing needs of residents not just today but also down the road, and planning strategically for housing that will attract new age groups and demographics will ensure the continued vitality of the community. To help plan for this future, COLAB will undertake research in the community, facilitating lines of communication between residents, the Business Improvement Association and the Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Heritage and Planning departments.

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Quality of Life and Public Space Public spaces that are both functional and beautiful contribute to a positive main street experience for residents and visitors. One of the most desirable features of the surrounding residential streets is the continual presence of nature. A Main Street Greening Initiative would bring this feel to more public spaces and would be a simple way to promote energy savings while creating a unified look and feel on the street. COLAB will support these efforts by engaging community directly in the design of public spaces, ensuring community stories and values are represented.

unity Commtre Cen




Streets Redesign


Public Spaces



Distinct Intersections




Paved Parking Residential & Retail Buildings Markham GO Station

CASE STUDY : MSMâ&#x20AC;&#x192; 49


ACTIVITY AND ACCESSIBILITY COLAB began by conducting primary research to understand how people use the main street and the accessibility barriers they encounter day to day. Through site visits, meeting with local shop owners and customers, and photographing and mapping these issues and comparing them to other communities in Markham, COLAB set a context and basis for evaluating accessibility in Markham Village. Moving forward, COLAB would work intimately with planners, the Business Improvement Association and local residents to communicate these results and follow-up with a community mapping design exercise to help ideate solutions. Prototyping new pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, for example by painting bike lanes on the road, is one technique that COLAB recommends to explore and test different design options before full implementation. The results of these tests could be studied to help identify other key challenges and considerations that Markham will have to take into account as it strives to increase accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists on the main street.

Activity and accessibility are desirable main street characteristics. Attracting and creating different types of activity is important to the civic, cultural and economic life of Main Street Markham. The introduction of widened permeable sidewalks would make walking easier and more pleasant, while bike lanes would provide safer access for cyclists, promoting a positive main street experience. The goal is to get citizens out of their cars and onto the sidewalk to diversify street traffic. Well-designed wayfinding strategies will improve usability and guide users as they navigate the street. Reducing traffic lanes and street parking will encourage people to use other methods of transportation. These designs benefit community members, business owners and shoppers directly by bringing more prospective customers to the street. The designs also benefit the municipality by creating opportunities to generate more tax revenue.

unity Comm re Cent

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Sidewalk W.

2 Lanes Roadway




Sidewalk E.



Indent for parking

Cistern underneath

Street Redesign

Sustainable Paths

Main Street Signage

By moving street parking to one side of the road and limiting the number of driving lanes to two, traffic along Main Street Markham would be slowed, resulting in safer streets for everyone. The street redesign also includes widened sidewalks with permeable paved surfaces to help manage storm water runoff, as well as the addition of two-way bike paths replacing street parking on one side of the road.

Currently, many residential side streets in Markham Village do not have sidewalks. Adding a network of sustainable paths would enhance connectivity and encourage more people to walk from place to place.

Adding consistent wayfinding signage throughout Markham Village will help enhance identity while also guiding visitors to important attractions.

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BEFORE : A parking lot in Markham Village

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AFTER : Artist rendering of sustainable path network

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DENSITY AND INFILL COLAB began by conducting research to identify suitable sites on Main Street Markham where infill design could increase density. By conducting surveys and studying census information on household demographics and business statistics, COLAB gained an understanding of the housing typologies best suited for Main Street Markham. Moving forward, COLAB will work with planners, architects and the community to facilitate a design development process to explore and understand the best configuration of new housing types and commercial spaces for Main Street Markham. Designs will consider the needs of diverse age ranges and professional occupations and promote new ways of living and working on Main Street. COLAB will encourage the BIA and Markham to develop a co-working space with shared studio facilities and street level sales rooms where artists can practice and sell their work. COLAB will also work with the Business Improvement Association on a strategy to promote Main Street Markham as a community of working artists, artisans and craftspeople. Bringing increased residential and commercial density to Main Street Markham can be achieved by finding creative ways to infill under-performing parking lots and other unused properties. Increased density will provide business owners with a consistent local clientele and increase the general sense of energy and excitement on the street. Increasing residential density also provides an opportunity to consider and plan for housing that will sustain the long-term population of Main Street Markham. COLAB proposes housing typologies for two demographic groups in particular: aging residents looking to downgrade from large homes into something more manageable, and young entrepreneurs looking for housing with space that allows them to work from home. Creating housing that supports the needs of people at every stage in their life-cycle, will not only help add density to Main Street Markham, it will also create a new and more diverse community fabric.

unity Comm re Cent

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The creation of a co-working facility for artists and craftspeople is a smart idea because it builds on the established strengths of the community to create new economic opportunities for Main Street Markham. Taken together, the co-working space and proposed live/work residential developments will help attract and retain young people and further bolster the economic resilience of Main Street Markham.

Coach House The Coach House concept pays homage to Main Street Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rural heritage. A backyard infill home is proposed that offers modern living with heritage design. This housing is especially suited for young people transitioning between home and independence or for elderly citizens looking to downgrade into more manageable housing.






Meeting Space Outdoor Area Shared Kitchen & Cafe Exhibition Space Shared Working Space

Co-Working Hub

"The Box" Artist Studios

Designed to provide a venue for artists, designers, craftspeople and other creative entrepreneurs to share studio space costs and provide a common exhibition and retail space, the facility offers various sizes of office and studio spaces. Flexible and expandable units offer adaptability for businesses as they grow. The main floor includes a cafe, retail and exhibit spaces open to the street and generous outdoor spaces for socializing and holding temporary events like markets and community gatherings.

The entry point of "The Box" artist studios is located directly on Main Street Markham with private space for residents created along an adjacent side street. This arrangement offers a balance between public workspaces and private living. The corridor created by placing the studios across from one another forms an avenue open to the public. Providing a space where artists and craftspeople work in proximity and where the public can come and view work in progress helps promote Main Street Markham as a destination for the arts.

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BEFORE : A parking lot in Markham Village, future site of ‘The Box’ Artist Studios


AFTER : Artist rendering of ‘The Box’ Artist Studios



QUALITY OF LIFE AND PUBLIC SPACE COLAB began by documenting the way people use public open spaces on Main Street Markham. It considered what aspects or features promoted prolonged engagement with these spaces and what aspects might be considered as deterrents to their use. COLAB hosted community engagement sessions to communicate directly with citizens about what they would like to see in a public space for Main Street. COLAB worked with the results that came out of these community engagement sessions to mock up design concepts for the public realm on Main Street, and then submitted these ideas for critical feedback. This level of communication is important because it fosters collaborative design practices and encourages residents to become involved with their city in a practical and hands-on way. Moving forward, COLAB will take the best of these ideas and them enter into a design development phase to detail designs for enhancing public spaces in Markham Village. Well-designed public spaces with access to nature contribute to the quality of life for residents and visitors of Main Street Markham. Expanding and enhancing the network of pocket parks will provide quiet, reflective spaces for rest, away from the busy main street. Promoting a strong sense of community identity can be achieved by representing the values and stories of Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diverse community through such design elements as street furniture. A series of filigree-style patterned gateways marking the entrance to each pocket park is a nod to the heritage of Main Street Markham and the diversity of the community today. Applying this same pattern to intersections along Main Street will establish a bold and consistent aesthetic motif across the entire site. A streetscape greening initiative that includes the introduction of green walls, green roofs and native species plantings is another simple and powerful way to enhance the main street aesthetic. This also helps manage storm water and can help reduce heating costs for buildings significantly. Taken together, these interventions add value to the Main Street Markham experience for all residents, business owners and customers. unity Comm re Cent

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Pocket Park Having rest spaces and quiet moments between buildings and shops along a busy street is a natural way to provide spaces for residents and patrons to enjoy the outdoors. The residential streets of Markham Village have many mature trees and abundant green spaces. Bringing this to the Main Street will help improve neighbourhood cohesion and make Main Street Markham a nicer place to be. Pocket parks are an ideal way to do this.

Filigree Gateways and Pattern Crossing A striking filigree pattern, derived from the combined pattern languages of Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diverse residents, would become the unifying aesthetic for Markham Village. One application of this pattern would be to use the filigree to create physical structures such as gateways, benches and other street furniture. The painted application of this pattern at the intersection of Main Street Markham and Highway 7 would create an attractive and distinctive landmark at the entry of Main Street Markham, helping to slow traffic and improve safety for all.

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BEFORE : A Parking lot in Markham Village

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AFTER : Artist rendering of pocket park with filigree gateway in front of Co-Working Hub

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REVITALIZING MARKHAM The Main Street Markham case study shows how COLAB could help Markham initiate small-scale design interventions for the main street, with a focus on enhancing accessibility, residential and commercial infill, and public realm infrastructure. COLAB can help Markham: Understand issues from a citizen’s perspective COLAB would undertake primary research with residents, business owners and customers to help Markham understand how people use the main street. COLAB would work with planners and designers to consider ethical, sustainable, intelligent and universal principles of design. Identify unanticipated challenges and see new opportunities COLAB would work closely with the Markham Village Business Improvement Association to define business development opportunities in the arts and culture – markets where Markham Village already shows strength. Crowdsource ideas for Markham from public and private sectors COLAB would invite community members to be involved in the design of key public realm infrastructure such as pocket parks. COLAB believes that locals are the real experts and would facilitate community design workshops.


Engage community in creative and meaningful ways COLAB would engage the community upfront and in meaningful ways throughout the entire project life cycle. COLAB uses creative community engagement methods such as charrettes and design workshops to share ideas and promote collaboration in the design process. Recognize emerging trends to assure competitiveness COLAB would help Markham understand the rise of mobile working and co-working as trends and how this can be supported to keep Markham competitive. COLAB proposes Markham establish a co-working facility in Markham Village for designers, artists and craftspeople to pursue their work and incubate new businesses.

Take action to move good ideas from concept into execution COLAB would facilitate communication and cooperation between the municipality, citizens and the private sector, building momentum around good ideas and helping to connect individuals with the resources necessary to move forward. Plan strategically for a sustainable future COLAB would pursue project directions that are strategic and help Markham achieve its sustainability objectives. COLAB proposes Markham support the creation of alternative housing that serve the needs of community members at every stage in life, from live/work units for young professionals to accessible apartments for the elderly.

Main Street Markham has changed a lot since I started working here. There are more people on the street, and although the number of small businesses has increased, it still feels quaint.

It’s Friday morning, I’m running late and I still need to stop for a coffee on my way to work. There’s a café across the street from my store on Main Street Markham. Maybe this morning I will try some homemade jam the baker just started selling. Last time I was there he told me he makes all the preserves himself.

will be busy with commuters heading to their offices. I won’t see the beautiful work that’s been done to the intersection when you enter Main Street Markham from Highway 7 but I can walk down at lunch to see it if I have time. It feels so much more welcoming – not just a bunch of gas stations.

Main Street Markham has changed a lot since I opened my business here. There are more people on the street, and although the number of small businesses has increased, it still has that quaint character that attracted me to the neighbourhood. There’s a new energy to the street and younger people have moved in and opened their own businesses in the new live/work units where the parking lots used to be. The changes have been inspiring even to the well-established business owners. I notice them painting and changing the way they display things. Even their business hours have increased. The whole street feels more like a little community and looks more beautiful too. It’s a nice place to be and I’m glad I get to work here.

I park in the lot beside the church. During the week people park here to go to their jobs or to shop nearby, but on weekends it's priority parking for churchgoers or for community events.

I pack up my daughter and all the things she needs for her day. I leave my house and take my special route to work, avoiding Highway 7 because at this hour I know it

We walk along the new, extra-wide sidewalks to my daughter’s daycare and I drop her off for the day. It’s so convenient having a daycare on the same street as my business – I can check in whenever I have a break or even pick her up to have lunch. I enjoy the walk to my favourite coffee shop, and say a quick hello to the girls working there before heading across the street to get my bread and some of that homemade jam. I tell Chris, the new owner, that work on the pocket park up the street is done and it’s a nice place to eat lunch. He just moved here and opened his business in the same neighbourhood.

Grace Davis, 36 Small business owner, ceramics studio and gallery Family: Married with one child, 4 years old Hobbies: Hiking the Rouge River Valley, collecting antique furniture Favourite thing about Markham Village: The Saturday Farmers Market in the summer and the Festival of Lights in December Least favourite thing: The heavy traffic





CASE STUDY : OLD KENNEDY ROAD Old Kennedy Road is a historic road in Markham’s Milliken Mills neighbourhood. Bordered by Steeles Avenue to the south, Denison Street to the north and the GO rail line to the west, Old Kennedy Road was once the heart of a small hamlet and regional market called Milliken Corners – so called for its location at the intersection, or "corners," of Steeles, Kennedy and the rail line. The number of heritage properties dating back to the late 1800’s that sit along Old Kennedy’s southern edge reveal the history of Milliken Corners as an early regional settlement. Likewise, the agricultural history of the area is evident in the landscape of narrow and horizontal property lines. This allotment of properties is a distinguishing feature that reveals a history of land subdivision that dates back to the original concession plan laid out by General John Grave Simcoe in the late 1700s. The area around Old Kennedy Road has witnessed incredible growth and transformation over the last forty years. Starting in the 1970s, agricultural lands gave way to sprawling residential subdivisions and the rise of the automobile. These new suburban land use patterns dramatically transformed the rural landscape. Dusty concession dirt roads were widened and paved to become arterial roads, filled in by malls and strip plazas, and residential cul-de-sacs lined with low-density housing.


Today, the legacy of Milliken Corners as a commercial and residential hub lives on. The area around Steeles and Old Kennedy Road is one of the most populated communities in Markham. The area has become a destination community for waves of immigrants over the last two decades, primarily from China and South East Asian countries. These communities have contributed enormously to the evolution of Markham, with commercial developments such as Pacific Mall – North America’s largest Asian mall – transforming the community into a significant regional shopping destination. However, in spite of all this change, Old Kennedy Road has remained somewhat isolated. Boxed in by rail, road and residential fencing on all sides, Old Kennedy Road has no through streets connecting it to the adjacent areas. The construction of the Kennedy Road bypass in the early 1980’s, designed to extend Kennedy Road north of Steeles and away from the congested "corners" of the

rail line and the original hamlet, further isolated the site. Over the years, Old Kennedy has become an auxiliary district in the Milliken area, with a mix of empty lots, automotive repair shops and landscaping businesses along the strip. The town of Markham has identified this area as a site with growth potential in the municipality. Old Kennedy Road has been subject to a number of planning and urban design concepts since 1989, with the latest plan identifying Old Kennedy as a new main street for the Milliken Mills area. Old Kennedy Road area is strategically important for growth and is one of the last significant underdeveloped sites in Markham. Presently, a number of proposed residential and commercial developments in the surrounding area are putting renewed focus on the need to move forward with plans for Old Kennedy.




DEMOGRAPHIC The Milliken Mills neighbourhood is considered to be one of Canada’s most diverse communities. Out of a population of 38,699, 90% belong to a visible minority population. This diverse population is one of Markham’s greatest assets, with foreign-born Canadians holding, on average, higher levels of education, and bringing international perspectives and a global network to their work.


EMPLOYMENT Milliken Mills is a young community, with 55% of the population under the age of 39 and 66% of the population of working age. Important employment sectors include sales and service, business and finance, processing and manufacturing and the arts. Close to 15% of the labour force in Milliken Mills works from home or from no fixed address. This employment pattern is quickly becoming the norm. Supporting the creation of workspaces for the mobile labour force will help the town retain a young and entrepreneurial demographic.

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USER SCENARIO : PO-YIN'S STORY Brownfield sites are more challenging and expensive to develop The presence of heritage buildings can impede the development process Poor pedestrian and public realm infrastructure Multiple property owners make land acquisition challenging Site is isolated by rail and lacks connections to neighbouring amenities My name is Po-Yin and I live, work and own property on Old Kennedy Road. As a long time resident, I have witnessed a great amount of change in this area over the years. My husband actually grew up in one of the heritage houses on Old Kennedy back when this part of town was called Milliken Corners and most of the surrounding lands were still farms. The house belonged to his family going back three generations, and when he passed away last year I inherited it. Today I live and operate a tailoring business just across the road in one of the new live/work town homes built in 2008. Living on Old Kennedy Road is convenient. The shopping and food nearby can’t be beat, and it’s nice being close to the GO line. But doing business on Old Kennedy Road can be a real challenge. There just aren’t enough people coming through the area to make small business operations on this strip viable. My customers tell me they never find a reason to come to Old Kennedy, and many are surprised to learn that there are shops and business to explore on the road. Many stores still sit vacant several years after being built.

As a local resident, I work hard to build community on Old Kennedy Road. I try to meet and keep friendly with my neighbours and the other business owners on the street as much as possible. However I find that without any real significant community gathering place, finding ways to connect is a challenge. It doesn’t help that with all those houses turning their backs to the road, people find it easier to just stay inside and keep to themselves. My friends have children who are getting married and thinking about where to settle down, and some are considering the Old Kennedy Road area. I’m having a hard time supporting that decision wholeheartedly. In 2006 I was a member of the Main Street Milliken Advisory Group, so I understand very well the challenges the Town of Markham is up against on Old Kennedy Road: multiple plots and diverse land ownership; years of industrial land uses requiring expensive environmental remediation efforts; and the heritage designation of many properties on the road, including my own, present yet another hurdle for would-be developers to overcome. In the last 25 years I’ve seen many plans for Old Kennedy Road. This area has so much history and potential, and it’s time for Old Kennedy Road to become the beautiful main street that Milliken Mills deserves.

Po-Yin, 61 Small business owner, tailoring shop Family: Widowed, no children Hobbies: Local history, community organizing Favourite thing about Old Kennedy Road: The diverse mix of businesses and residents Least favourite thing: The slow pace of change on Old Kennedy Road




CASE STUDY APPROACH COLAB proposes a new model for the main street revitalization on Old Kennedy Road. Our vision is of a neighbourhood that is a living laboratory of best practices in sustainable urban design. Old Kennedy Road presents Markham with an opportunity to build a model sustainable community while establishing the infrastructure to enable the development and commercialization of sustainable technologies, products and services that will position the town as a leader in the emerging “green technology” sector.

Demonstrate leadership and innovation in sustainable urban design practices by establishing a Sustainable Urban Development Corporation and Centre for Urban Ecology to oversee the revitalization effort, and embracing public outreach and education as a means to share research, draw acclaim and attract investment. Encourage collaboration between community, industry, and research partners by building partnerships between Markham’s small and large high-tech companies, the York Region Biotechnology Cluster, and regional post-secondary institutions; and developing designing programs such as conferences, fellowships and exchanges to enable collaboration between partners and bring fresh talent to Markham.


Support the development and commercialization of sustainable technologies, services and products by creating campus-style research facilities to enable high quality research and foster cross-disciplinary collaboration; and working with industry partners to design mentorships and business accelerator programs to support young entrepreneurs. Engage citizens and community stakeholders in the revitalization process by giving local residents and business owners a voice in decisionmaking through the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation; and involving community members at every phase of the revitalization process through workshops, charrettes, and educational programming.

Promote learning, discovery and play with educational programs for all ages by identifying the local community and the inquiring public as primary stakeholders in the revitalization effort, and designing programs that make innovations and technologies being developed on site accessible to the public.




Planting the Seeds

The establishment of a Sustainable Urban Development Corporation and Centre for Urban Ecology will enable development to unfold in a timely, accountable and sustainable manner. The designation of Old Kennedy Road as a Community Improvement Project area will unlock financial and policy tools to support the revitalization effort. A significant upfront capital investment from the municipality in green street infrastructure will set the tone for development and provide incentives for further growth.


New Growth High-density mixed-use residential and commercial development will begin to take shape close to Steeles Avenue. The new growth will demonstrates Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Neighbourhood Development, transforming Old Kennedy Road into a model sustainable community. In line with these objectives, the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will strive to create 25% new affordable residential development.

The Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will use investments from Social Impact Bonds to purchase and retrofit a 5,000-square-meter warehouse at the heart of Old Kennedy Road. The retrofit will transform the building into a leading convergence centre for the research and commercialization of sustainable technologies, products and services. The Centre for Urban Ecology will take ownership of the convergence centre and direct research and programming.

Harvesting Profitability As residential and commercial development expands, the need to create public realm infrastructure for the thousands of new people living and working in the Old Kennedy Road area will become crucial. A pedestrian plaza will be designed adjacent to the convergence hub, creating an important focal point and civic space for Milliken Mills. An extension of Aldergrove Drive across Old Kennedy will establish a crucial connection linking surrounding residential and commercial amenities.

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Properties on Old Kennedy Road will need to be assembled, transferred into the hands of the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation and rezoned. Brownfield land uses will require soil remediation and native species plantings. These remediation efforts will provide an opportunity to engage community members and prepare the land for development. A nonprofit Centre for Urban Ecology will work with town staff to implement these programs and engage the community.

Cultivating Community Vision While land acquisition and soil remediation programs are running, an extensive process of community engagement will provide a forum for residents, business owners and other community members to establish a shared vision and help shape the master plan for Old Kennedy Road. COLAB will facilitate this process by hosting a multi-day charrette bringing together residents, local business owners, researchers and town staff. Community garden plots will be established preparing the way for urban agriculture.

Sustaining the System The successful regeneration of Old Kennedy Road will feature research and commercialization of sustainable technologies, ensuring a resilient community. Innovations in sustainable technologies pioneered onsite will be prototyped in the community, creating a model sustainable community in Markham. When the revitalization is complete, the maintenance of this vision will be passed from the Development Corporation into the hands of the community.





ne on







Open Space



Business Park Area

Arterial Roads

Local Roads

Bus Stops

Stouffville Rail Line

Pedestrian Paths

Milliken GO Station

Backyard Fenceline

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LAYING NEW GROUND Before significant development can occur on Old Kennedy Road, Markham must establish the necessary institutional, financial and policy tools that will enable development to unfold. COLAB will facilitate this process by working closely with the municipality and the private sector to create a Sustainable Urban Development Corporation to oversee the revitalization effort. COLAB will also work closely with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and members of the environmental and scientific community to establish a physical presence on the site through the creation of a Centre for Urban Ecology. Together, COLAB and the Centre for Urban Ecology will undertake research and create educational programs for the public about sustainable urban development. The Town of Markham will adopt a "Community Improvement Plan" for Old Kennedy Road outlining policy and financial tools to promote redevelopment. These include tax increment financing, brownfield remediation grants, development charge reduction fees, and social impact bonds. A Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will be created to oversee and lead the revitalization efforts. Urban development corporations are publicly accountable organizations, combining the resources of government with the expertise and dynamism of the private sector. The Old Kennedy Road Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will provide a forum for citizens, the private sector and the municipality to share an equal voice in the decision-making process. The creation of a non-profit Centre for Urban Ecology will promote research, advise the Development Corporation on sustainability best practices and facilitate community engagement. Together with the Development Corporation, these publicly accountable institutions will ensure revitalization happens in an efficient and sustainable fashion. Demonstrating commitment to the Old Kennedy Road revitalization, the town will employ Tax Increment Based Financing to make an up-front capital investment in green street Infrastructure. This investment in will send

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a signal to the private sector that the municipality is serious about moving forward with revitalization plans. The inclusion of permeable surfaces, rain gardens and cycling infrastructure will set a high bar for sustainable development to follow. The street redesign will create an impressive pedestrian boulevard, anchoring new commercial, residential, institutional and open-space land uses into a cohesive system.

Rain Garden shallow drainage course filled with soil and vegetation, designed to manage storm water runoff.

Bike Lane permeable concrete cement made with 15% recycled opengrade course from the original sidewalk.

Parking Lane permeable concrete cement allows water to drain through rather than over the surface.

Old Kennedy

Pedestrian Boardwalk made with wood reclaimed from development on site.

Green Street Infrastructure As a demonstration of Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dedication to pursuing sustainable urban design practices, the first step would be a green street infrastructure overhaul of Old Kennedy Road to incorporate permeable pavers, rain gardens and a boardwalk promenade. The green street redesign of Old Kennedy Road includes infrastructure to help manage storm water runoff and promote active transit such as cycling and walking. Such permeable materials as wooden boards, paving stones and permeable concrete help to direct storm water away from the sewage system. Rain gardens manage this flow by retaining water and filtering debris and pollutants.

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PLANTING THE SEEDS COLAB will work with the municipality, Old Kennedy Road land owners and property developers to purchase lands and transfer ownership over to the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation. Once land assembly is complete, COLAB will work with the Development Corporation using ideation to consider rezoning options that will position Old Kennedy as a model sustainable community. Years of semi-industrial land use will require soil remediation in some areas, and, in the case of abandoned greenfields, native species plantings. COLAB will encourage the Development Corporation to use the remediation process as an opportunity for meaningful community engagement, with such events as native species planting workshops. The Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will work with Old Kennedy Road property owners to acquire land in zones A, B and C. The assembled lands will be rezoned to accommodate the following land uses: Zone A: Commercial The commercial zoning designation in zone A will enable the development of high density mixed-use residential and office units close to Steeles Avenue and the Milliken GO Station. In compliance with environmental assessments, the brownfield properties on this site will be put through a phytoremediation program to remove hazardous materials from the soil and prepare the land for new development. Zone B: Institutional Re-zoning land in zone B as institutional is a strategic move that will set the conditions for Markham to explore economic development through campus-style facilities focusing on research and commercial innovation in sustainable technologies, products and services. Zone C: Open Space The Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will move to protect the forest and grasslands in zone C by making them a part of the Markham Natural Heritage Network. The Markham Centre for Urban Ecology will implement a forest restoration program that engages community members in native species plantings and ecology workshops. Protecting the forest and grasslands in zone C will create a legacy open space in one of Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most densely populated neighbourhoods.

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The brownfield soil remediation and forest revitalization programs are excellent opportunities to demonstrate the revitalization process in action. Hosting workshops and engaging the community in these early phases will help establish a sense of investment and pride of place. The legacy that will be created with the forest revitalization will provide a venue for recreation and learning that will be enjoyed for generations.

Forest Revitalization Almost one quarter of the land on the Old Kennedy Road site is greenfield. The site contains new growth forest and wetland areas. A naturalization program to re-introduce native species will help return this area to its natural state, and by integrating public trails, educational programs and natural play structures, these lands can become a jewel in the crown of Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Natural Heritage Network.

At the top of Old Kennedy Road sits a 14-acre forest with marshlands, wild grasses and heritage properties. Restoring this zone and preserving it under Markhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Natural Heritage Network will create a legacy open space in the heart of a fast growing community. As part of the Old Kennedy Road revitalization, a forest restoration program with community native species plantings and environmental workshops is a powerful way to engage community in the process and invite them to shape the broader vision.

Brownfield and Soil Remediation Program Land uses on many Old Kennedy Road sites have deposited unsafe contaminants into the earth. Environmental assessments and soil remediation programs will need to be undertaken to make the land suitable for further development. Phytoremediation, a process that uses vegetation to extract contaminants from the soil, is one of the green methods that will be used to accomplish this. Plant roots absorb water and pollution from contaminated soil. Some pollutants are stored in the roots, stalks and leaves. Other pollutants are given off as harmless gasses into the air.

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CULTIVATING COMMUNITY VISION While land acquisition and soil remediation programs are underway, COLAB will host extensive community engagement processes to bring citizens and town staff together with environmental experts, research partners and designers to establish a shared community vision and help shape the master plan for Old Kennedy Road. COLAB's proficiency for facilitation and communication will be an invaluable asset in helping participants create a holistic and resilient plan. Working to further enhance community investment in the revitalization effort, COLAB will work with the Development Corporation and the provincial and federal governments to issue Social Impact Bonds. These Bonds will provide the Development Corporation with a source of capital to pursue investment, and enable citizens to make a socially responsible investment in their community.

Community members will be invited to participate in a charrette process to contribute ideas and help shape the master plan for Old Kennedy Road. Residents will work with designers to create a branding and visual identity system for the neighbourhood, with urban street furniture and wayfinding identity banners for lamp posts. An urban agriculture and community gardening program will be established on five acres of reclaimed land. Workshops geared to school age children will teach lessons about the local food system and urban ecology. Formally inviting community members to contribute their ideas and perspectives to shape the Old Kennedy Road master plan is a powerful way to ensure the design vision meets the needs of the people who will live, work and play in the neighbourhood. The charrette process will also help empower community members with detailed knowledge about the planning process, further enfranchising community in the revitalization project. The Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will begin issuing social impact bonds to finance the purchase and retrofit of a warehouse on site to become the eventual home of the Old Kennedy Road convergence hub.

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The use of social impact bonds to finance community infrastructure is an innovative new tool available to nonprofits and community organizations in Ontario. Social impact bonds allow community organizations to leverage large capital investments from their extended communities by issuing secure RRSP eligible bonds. Social impact bonds are another way for community to become meaningfully engaged in the revitalization.

Neighbourhood Branding Strategy + Street Furniture Old Kennedy Road has long been considered a prime site to build a main street for Milliken Mills. A newly revitalized Old Kennedy Road will capture this main street feel and reflect the pride of the community with a unique branding system and well-designed urban street furniture. Integrated lighting, seating and public information bulletin boards will help promote a sense of neighbourhood identity.

Neighbourhood Branding Undertaking a neighbourhood branding exercise is a fun way to get community members thinking about the values of their community. For example, this brand logo concept for Milliken Mills takes inspiration from the neighbourhood’s rich Asian culture, blending a traditional Chinese seal cut aesthetic with the form of Milliken Mills residential streets to create a unique brand and identity for the community.

Street Furniture Great streets have great urban street furniture. It’s incredible how much a bench, lamp post, trash receptacle and even bus shelter can transform our experience of an urban environment. Well-designed street furniture should be functional, durable and lend a unique style that enhances the surrounding environment. This model urban bench and lighting system complements the stone and wooden materials used in the green street redesign scheme.

Community Gardens + Urban Farming Paying respect to Markham’s agricultural heritage and dedication to sustainability, urban agriculture initiatives are a big component of the Old Kennedy Road revitalization strategy. Urban agriculture helps to ensure local food security and can be a powerful way of involving local residents in community life. An accessible community gardening program will allow people to grow their own food and teach them about food production in Markham.



NEW GROWTH Supporting of the goal of making Old Kennedy Road a model sustainable community, COLAB will work with the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation to ensure that new residential and commercial developments are designed with a holistic systems thinking approach. The Centre for Urban Ecology will support this effort by working with COLAB to ensure that development schemes meet the highest standards in LEED for Neighbourhood Development. In addition to setting sustainability objectives, COLAB will work with the Development Corporation to incorporate socially-responsible practices, like ensuring that at least 25% of new residential developments are affordable housing.

Supported by tax incentives from the town and province, residential and commercial development will begin to take shape along Steeles Avenue and the southern stretch of Old Kennedy Rd. Mixed use condos with retail at street level will add housing for an additional 17,780 people. The Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will ensure that 25% of new homes are designated as affordable. Office buildings are also developed, bringing 15,800 daytime workers to the area. The Sustainable Urban Development Corporation will leverage developer fees from these projects to fund other revitalization initiatives onsite. With residential development adding a proposed 17,000 new residents to Old Kennedy Road, and commercial development bringing dozens of new retail stores and more than a hundred thousand square meters of office space, the positive economic benefit for the town is undeniable. Projected tax revenues for retail and commercial properties alone will bring the town an estimated 11 million dollars annually.

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Developing high density mixed-use development along Steeles Avenue makes sense, given the proximity of Old Kennedy Road to the Milliken GO Station, TTC service along Steeles Avenue and surrounding commercial amenities. As Markham strives to incorporate smart growth principles into its planning agenda, Old Kennedy Road presents a unique opportunity to develop a significant regional node.

1-5 Floors

Pedestrianized Space

6-10 Floors

Existing Buildings

11-15 Floors + Green Roof

Residential Development Key to the revitalization of Old Kennedy Road is the introduction of higher-density residential development. A mix of live/work studios; one, two and three bedroom condominiums; and affordable homes will meet the needs of different types of local residents including single young people, older “empty nesters,” and young families. With proximity to the Milliken GO Station and excellent shopping and dining along Steeles Avenue, the area is ripe to become a future hub of commercial activity in Markham.

With Old Kennedy Road being developed as a model sustainable community, we propose residential designs that incorporate the following green design considerations: strategic orientation for passive solar gain, green roofs to mitigate the heat island effect, the use of thermal massing to regulate building temperatures, high performance building curtains and setbacks to circulate fresh air through the buildings.

The Old Kennedy Road revitalization proposal supports Markham’s Smart Growth objectives by developing high density mixed-use commercial and residential properties. The proposed development is transit-oriented, located along Steeles Avenue and within a five-minute walking radius of the Milliken GO Station.



MATURITY The COLAB model of working across disciplines and between private and public sectors to create innovation will serve as a blueprint and working model for the proposed sustainable technologies convergence hub. The key COLAB processes of prototyping and design development will play an important role in the way research and innovation take shape in the convergence hub with businesses modelling and testing new technologies. COLAB will draw on its connections with Markham’s technology and health sciences sectors, and postsecondary research partners, to help establish an advisory group and eventually a board of directors that will allow the Centre for Urban Ecology to transition into a management position overseeing the convergence hub. Investment from community bonds will allow the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation to purchase and retrofit a warehouse on Old Kennedy Road. The retrofit will take advantage of best practices in sustainable architectural design and create a convergence hub that will support collaboration and innovation in the creation of green technologies, services and products. The convergence hub design includes: Lobby/flex space Permanent office/studio space Open plan workstations Production facilities Private meeting rooms The Markham Centre for Urban Ecology will take on the management of the convergence hub, expanding their mandate to provide space and resources for the incubation and commercialization of green sector businesses. Together with new office buildings at the north end of Old Kennedy Road, an urban farm and a naturalized forest, the convergence centre will form the heart of an extended innovation campus. The creation of a convergence hub dedicated to the research, demonstration and commercialization of sustainable technologies and services will position Markham as a leader in Canada’s emerging green economy – a destination city for a highly skilled pool of international professionals seeking a community in which to settle and put down roots.



Incorporating this investment into a full-scale neighbourhood revitalization will create a virtuous circle, attracting young talent to Markham and incubating new business ventures that in turn draw attention and acclaim to the town.

First Floor


Second Floor Second Floor SECOND FLOOR

Warehouse Retrofit Establishing a convergence hub dedicated to the innovation and commercialization of sustainable technologies is a strategic move that will act as a catalyst for the revitalization of Old Kennedy Road, and for all of Markham. The warehouse retrofit that the hub will occupy will be designed to accommodate the needs of a full-fledged research and business incubation institution. Open plan workstations promote collaboration and together with the permanent studio and office space can be rented out to generate revenue. Large production facilities for light manufacturing enable researchers to prototype their designs on site. A flexible lobby and indoor and outdoor exhibition areas create a touch point for public education about sustainable research at the convergence hub.

Open Plan Work Stations Private Meeting Rooms Permanent Office / Studio Space Flexible Lobby and Exhibit Areas Production Facilities

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BEFORE : Vacant lot on Old Kennedy Road, looking South-West


AFTER : Artist rendering of Pedestrian Plaza, Convergence Hub and Urban Farm

CASE STUDY : OKRâ&#x20AC;&#x192; 87


HARVESTING PROFITABILITY As high density mixed-use development takes shape and thousands of residents, daytime workers and new business owners move to Old Kennedy Road, COLAB will offer its communication skills as a resource to community members to help establish a neighbourhood association and business improvement area plan. With time, the business improvement area will help pay for and maintain public realm infrastructure enhancements while the neighbourhood association will organize community gatherings and cultural events. The first major project overseen by the business improvement area will be the creation of a pedestrian plaza adjacent to the new convergence centre, and the extension of Aldergrove Drive, across Old Kennedy Road and over the GO rail tracks, to Pacific Mall.

Aldergrove Drive will be extended west across Old Kennedy Road and, together with a new "shared street" pedestrian plaza, will become a crucial connection linking Old Kennedy Road to Pacific Mall and the neighbouring residential community. The new pedestrian plaza will be lined on its southern border by retail and to the north by commercial office space. Weekly markets, summertime performance spaces and winter skating areas will bring life to the plaza. A retrofit of an existing warehouse structure facing onto the plaza will create a retail destination with cinemas, restaurants and anchor stores to complement the established retail environment at Pacific Mall. Extending Aldergrove Drive across Old Kennedy Road will provide an important connection into and through the redevelopment site. Pairing this connection with a pedestrian plaza establishes a focal point at the heart of Old Kennedy Road. The pedestrian plaza will provide a gathering space and common ground for the diverse community of Milliken Mills to live, work and play. The Aldergrove Drive extension and the pedestrian plaza will be designed according to a "shared street" design philosophy, eliminating grade separation between pedestrian and vehicle right-of-ways, and promoting diligence

88â&#x20AC;&#x192; CASE STUDY : OKR


as deterrent to accidents. A level crossing at the rail line will bring Aldergrove Drive and the pedestrian plaza directly into the vicinity of Pacific Mall. The benefit of increased foot traffic will be shared by both parties. A ratepayers association made up of the governing boards of the new condominiums and businesses will be established with the objective of maintaining a healthy and thriving main street community.

Pedestrian Plaza A pedestrian plaza is at the heart of the Old Kennedy Road revitalization plan. It runs east-west across the site, connecting Old Kennedy Road with the Market Village and Pacific Mall, and acting as a focus for community gatherings such as weekend markets, cultural celebrations like Taste of Asia, public art exhibitions and the demonstration and testing of new products developed at the convergence hub.

A broad pedestrian plaza anchors the new community and provides a setting into which the new sustainable convergence hub will be located. The Aldergrove Drive Extension will run parallel to the pedestrian plaza and incorporate "shared street" design principles, including a lack of grade separation between the pedestrian plaza and Aldergrove Drive, as well as the use of such landscaping and architectural cues as paving stones, trees, lighting and street furniture to indicate right-of-way distinctions and promote slower driving speeds. The proposed pedestrian plaza is a showcase for Old Kennedy Road. The plaza is designed to be a hub for Milliken Mills. The plaza includes landscaped open areas for market and mobile vendors to set up shop, grass and raised wooden boardwalks for gatherings and performances, and a water feature that doubles as skating rink in winter.

Aldergrove Drive Extension The Aldergrove Drive Extension will provide an important east-west corridor through the Old Kennedy Road site, connecting Pacific Mall and Market Village with the residential community to the east. With projected increases in residential and employment density in the area, both Old Kennedy and Pacific Mall will benefit from this connection.

CASE STUDY : OKRâ&#x20AC;&#x192; 89


SUSTAINING THE SYSTEM The successful revitalization of Old Kennedy Road through a strategic focus on sustainable development and the commercialization and demonstration of green technologies onsite will establish a leading-edge community that is resilient and ready to meet the needs of the 21st century. The seamless integration of campus-style research and commercial facilities with residential and commercial development, designed and developed in partnership with the community, establishes a new model for neighbourhood revitalization. This proposal demonstrates how Markham’s position as a major “high technology” hub in Canada, as well as the pool of creative talent and intellectual capital that this attracts, are key assets that the town can leverage to help fulfill its objectives for Smart Growth and sustainability leadership. With COLAB coordinating collaboration between municipal, private and citizen groups, we have demonstrated how strategic planning and foresighting can lead to innovative results. The continued presence of COLAB will ensure that the lessons learned through the Old Kennedy Road revitalization are captured and integrated into future projects.

Upon the successful completion of its revitalization mandate, the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation is restructured to become a community association made up of neighbours, business owners and partners from the convergence hub to oversee the maintenance of the Old Kennedy Road vision and identity. The Centre for Urban Ecology continues to play an important role as the research, experimentation and community engagement continues on Old Kennedy Road. The centre maintains the urban farm and forest with educational activities, camps and conferences for community members. With community, business and research partners fully invested in the maintenance of the Old Kennedy Road vision, the area can become an example for economic and social innovation at regional and national scales.



Open Landscape Space Total: 137,000m² Old Kennedy Road: 12,600m² Other Roads: 12,400m² Forest: 71,700m² Plaza: 24,000m² Pedestrian zones: 5800m² Boardwalk: 10,500m²





yR oa


n St.

New Residential Residential site area: 94,000m² New residential floor area: 814,530 m² Number of new residential units: 8937 Total new residential population: 17,780 Population density: 479 people / hectare Gross density: 2.6 x coverage Net density: 4.1 x coverage

New Commercial Total: 147,940 m² Retail: 29,440 m² Office: 118,500 m² New day-time workers: 15,800

N Steeles Ave.

Financial Analysis Roads

Mixed use

Commercial Retail

Natural heritage network

Commercial Office

Urban agriculture

Total market value of residential: $3,060,520,000 Annual tax revenue collected on residential: $26,944,922 Pedestrian paths Institutional Total market value of office space: $15,306,276 Annual annual tax collected on office space: $30,695,864


Commercial Retail Residential Commercial Office

Pedetrian Paths

Mixed Use

Natural Heritage Network


Urban Agriculture




REVITALIZING MARKHAM The Old Kennedy Road case study shows how COLAB can help Markham plan for large-scale strategic community revitalization, and establish new market opportunities in the green economy. COLAB can help Markham: Understand issues from a citizen’s perspective COLAB would involve community members at every phase in the revitalization process through workshops, design charrettes, educational programs and regular town hall meetings. Identify unanticipated challenges and see new opportunities COLAB would support Markham’s sustainability objectives by harnessing the resources and strengths of the high technology sector. COLAB recognizes the pressing need to revitalize Old Kennedy Road as a strategic opportunity to meet these objectives. Crowdsource ideas for Markham from public and private sectors COLAB would facilitate relationships and knowledge sharing between Markham and small and large hightech companies, the York Region Biotechnology Cluster and other regional research partners. COLAB knows that the private sector understands the importance of innovation.


Engage community in creative and meaningful ways COLAB would ensure that local residents and business owners have a voice in the decision-making process by establishing a Sustainable Urban Development Corporation to manage the Old Kennedy Road revitalization. COLAB would also engage the community directly in the revitalization effort through workshops and soil remediation programs. Recognize emerging trends to assure competitiveness COLAB would help Markham position itself as a player in Canada’s burgeoning green economy by creating campus-style research and office facilities for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Take action to move good ideas from concept into execution COLAB would work closely with industry partners to design programs such as mentorships and internships that support young entrepreneurs. Plan strategically for a sustainable future COLAB would help Markham leverage its existing assets – strong municipal leadership, a healthy private sector and immense creative and intellectual capital – to plan for a sustainable future that includes environmental health, social and cultural well-being, and economic vitality.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when significant residential development would actually come to Old Kennedy Road. When they started a soil remediation program where the scrap yards used to be, I knew we were in business. Since the revitalization effort began a few years ago, things have really changed around here. As a longtime resident, I have to admit that I was skeptical when the town announced plans for my neighbourhood in 2012. They said they wanted to transform the community into a model of urban sustainability and that Old Kennedy Road would become a hub for research and commercialization of “green” technologies. They said that the community would be “engaged” as a key stakeholder in the revitalization and that everyone would benefit. It all sounded great on paper but I’ve seen nice plans for this street before and nothing ever came of those. It’s been six years since the town set up the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation, followed by the Centre for Urban Ecology, and started hosting open-house meetings and workshops for community residents. At first the turnout was small – I think other local community members were also skeptical – but then a nature exploration program was started with the local schools. Students visit Old Kennedy Road’s forest to learn about urban ecology and take part in native species plantings. This program was a huge hit with the local kids. Next, the Centre for Urban Ecology started running community gardening programs for adults and hosting monthly creative workshops on all sorts of interesting environmental topics.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when significant residential development would actually come to Old Kennedy Road. When they started a soil remediation program where the scrap yards used to be, I knew we were in business. I joined the board of the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation three years ago, and this spring we broke ground on a fifteen story residential condominium at Steeles and Old Kennedy Road. This is the first of many developments planned to go up over the next 10 years that will bring many new residents to the community. Being on the board of the Sustainable Urban Development Corporation has been one of most rewarding experiences of my life. My fellow board members are a fantastic group of people who represent the community and local business owners, the Town of Markham, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, York University and some of Markham’s largest technology companies. This board is seriously dedicated to sustainable development and it has been inspiring to see what can happen when a group of talented and dedicated individuals rally around an idea like this one. I’ve always taken great pride in my community, but now I have even more reason to be excited and hopeful for the future. My neighbourhood is on track and to become Canada’s most sustainable community by 2020. When I see the architectural drawings that show what Old Kennedy will eventually look like in 10 or 15 years, I think of my husband and I know he would be so happy to see his beloved hamlet revitalized and restored.

Po-Yin, 61 Small business owner, tailoring shop Family: Widowed, no children Hobbies: Local history, community organizing Favourite thing about Old Kennedy Road: The diverse mix of businesses and residents Least favourite thing: The slow pace of change on Old Kennedy Road




MARKHAM MEET COLAB The Main Street Markham and Old Kennedy Road case studies show an approach to sustainable urban development that is informed by a framework   for achieving design innovation outlined by students in Year Three of the City Systems program. The elements of this framework include an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, community collaboration, solutionoriented design development, and the thoughtful application of seven core design processes and methods. Interdisciplinary and Inter-departmental  Coordinating inter-departmental communication and   finding meaningful ways to work productively and share knowledge across disciplines is a challenge for any organization. The COLAB approach to facilitating interdisciplinary communication is to use the design process, and   its emphasis on modeling and visual expression, to help stakeholders and clients speak about problems and explore options with a common set of tools. The Main Street Markham and Old Kennedy Road projects show how COLAB can help Markham communicate complex ideas and engage conversation with both professionals and non-specialists such as members of the community. Community Collaboration  Engaging community upfront and in meaningful ways through all phases of a project is a cornerstone of sustainable design. COLAB has a human-centred approach   to research in order to understand the context for designs that responds to the real needs of citizens. The Main Street Markham project shows COLAB at work, engaging community through extensive field research, conducting interviews, developing user scenarios, and documenting the everyday use of the street. The Old Kennedy Road project shows how COLAB could follow this up with regular engagement in the form of workshops, community gatherings and a Sustainable Urban Development Corporation   to ensure that citizen voices are represented in the decision making process.

Next Steps:

Refine the business model and assemble a board of directors

98  COLAB 2012

Solution-Oriented Design Development Markham requires an approach to sustainable planning that can identify challenges and rapidly develop, prototype and test innovative solutions. COLAB’s aptitude for systems thinking and strategic foresight can help Markham design solutions that promote environmental health, social and cultural well-being, and economic vitality. The Main Street Markham project shows how COLAB uses systems thinking to understand the connection between environmental health and social and cultural well being. Creating accessible streets, vIbrant public spaces, and the reintegration   of nature into the city are small interventions that go   a long way to promoting environmental health and building a sense of pride in Markham Village. The Old Kennedy Road project shows how COLAB applies strategic foresight to connect the dots between environmental health and economic vitality, using research and commercialization of sustainable technologies and services as a catalyst   for neighbourhood transformation. Seven Core Design Processes and Methods The tools and methods that COLAB uses to achieve design innovation—research, ideation, systems thinking, design development, prototyping, communication, foresighting—balance the need to support experimentation and divergent thinking while applying a systematic and rigorous process of trial and revision. These are tools that can Markham can use to help them understand issues from a citizen’s perspective; identify unanticipated challenges and see new opportunities; crowdsource ideas   for Markham from public and private sectors; engage community in creative and meaningful ways; recognize emerging trends to assure competitiveness; take action   to move good ideas from concept into execution; and plan strategically for a sustainable future.

Build partnerships and begin the first six-month phase of development as outlined in the Markham Meet COLAB business model

Source start-up funds from organizations and grants

Choose one project, such as the Main Street Markham Green Initiative, to launch COLAB


Asma Khanani Caporaletti

Matthew Koop-Pearce

Asma is a graduate of OCADU. She brought her skills in textiles and metalwork as well as her entrepreneurial experience as a small-business owner to the team. Throughout the year, Asmaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposals for Markham included several sensitive interventions throughout the city, with a particular focus on culture, identity and small business opportunities. With the help of faculty, advisors and other fearless individuals who supported the project and provided sage advice, she oversaw the final revitalisation plan for Main Street Markham, integrating the designs of the complete IwB team and results of several charettes.

Matt is an urban enthusiast, a community development activist, and a graphic and web designer. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Humanities from Carleton University and a certificate in multimedia design. Matt brought his critical thinking, writing, visual communication and systems skills to the project team, consistently developing projects at a very high strategic level. With the support of faculty, advisors and the rest of the IwB team, Matt developed the Old Kennedy Road design vision, incorporating design elements from charrettes and other projects throughout the year.

Raymundo Pavan Gutierrez Ray is an accomplished architect from Mexico City. He brought a highly developed aesthetic, his professional and diplomatic character, and set the example for working diligently through all aspects of a project. In addition to sharing his architectural expertise through this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s project, Ray also leads by example with his commitment to a balance of hard work and having fun. During the Markham project, Ray took on numerous architectural and urban-planning design challenges as well as expanding his skills to include developing the business model for COLAB.

Dana Seguin

Nikki Hsiao Chi Shih

Dana is interdisciplinary. She has studied Urban Planning, Fine Art History, and Architectural Theory and Technology. As a believer that the best education can come from outside the classroom, she is also an experiential learner who has complemented her academic studies with working in several different fields and travelling extensively. Naturally curatorial, organized, vocal, and experimental in her approach to projects, Dana was a visionary member of the team who always pushed others to go beyond boundaries in their design thinking. Dana played a key leadership role in all the exhibit designs and acted as the managing editor and writer for the final publication.

Nikki is a communications designer. She studied Communication Arts and had a graphic design background before joining the IwB team. Her strong graphic communication skills were an invaluable asset during all stages of the project year. She consistently uncovered and inspired new insights with her ability to take a fresh perspective and explain it simply and elegantly using visual language. Nikki masterminded the visuals for the final communication strategy including the branding, layouts and infographics. In addition to being seriously good at design, Nikki is seriously invested in her online Castle community.

COLAB 2012â&#x20AC;&#x192; 99

SOURCES Exhibition Museum of Modern Art, “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” 2012, New York. http://www.moma. org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/foreclosed/. Archives accessed April 2012.

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COLAB 2012  101

THANK YOU BOOK CONTRIBUTION Andrew Lauder Angelica Ramos Saavedra Arne Suraga Cindy Ly Daniel Garnier Kimberlyn Lee Lei Matthew Raffa Mazda Amiryar Paige Magarrey Stephen Tiao0

Janet Reid

Roberto Giusti

Katherine Ngui

Dr. Helmut Klassen

Nik Baerten

Jim Jones

Mazyar Mortazavi

Kathryn Firth

Elena Koidis

Omri Stern

Joachim Ravoth

Apostolo Zeno

Leo de Sorcy

Eli Malinsky

Paul DeFreitas

John Ryerson

Jeremy Vandermeij

Roger Keil

Erik Stackelberg

Perin Ruttonsha

Karen Boniface

Soojung Jenny Park

Scott Chin

Eunice Lam

Reeganne Duncan

Krista Barclay

Gary Michael Dault

Suzanne Stein

Firoz Shroff

Richard Brault

Wendy Gold

Graham Seaman

Richard Thomas

Andrew Jones

Henrique Pessoa Pereira Alves

Ron Dembo

Linda Irvine Michael Sraga Mihai Coman Nadine Daley Regan Hutcheson Rino Mostacci Rob Kadlovsky

BOOK ADVISORS Luigi Ferrara Michelle Hotchin Susan Speigel Monica Contreras Lauren Wickware Elise Hodson

Robert Tadmore Ronji Borooah Sandra Tam Shawn Hermans Vicky McGrath Robert Tadmore

Dave Wolfenden


Christopher Pandolfi

Luigi Ferrara

IWB PROGRAM ADVISORY COMMITTEE Mazyar Mortazavi Paul Rowan Paddy Harrington John Tong Mark Guslits Michael Dila Matthew Milan Mark Salerno Ron Dembo Janet Rosenberg

Zahra Ebrahim SCHOOL OF DESIGN Anne Sado Maureen Loweth Helene Vukovich Trent Scherer Lori Endes Priscilla Li Judith Gregory Connie Wansborough

Hilary Van Welter Howard Shore Huyen Hare Ian Chalmers Irene Van der Top Jennifer Adams Jenny Park Jamie Black Joachim Ravoth John Ryerson

Sandra Tam Sara Udow Shirley Marsh Susan Speigel Suzanne Stein Terri MacDonnell Tom Bessai Virgina Tassinari Warren Price Woojoo Lee Xavier Masse

Connor Malloy


Rich Macintosh

Adam Clare

Juan Camacho

Andrew Batay-Csorba

Julia Padvoiskis Julie Ulrich


K.C. Au

Chris Katsarov Luna

Kathryn Firth

Emily Hogg

Katie Epp

Ivan Kostynyk

Keita Demming

James Hu

Lauren Wickware

Morteza Golestani

Leo Desorcy

Mark Roche Shelley Kirkbride

Jordan Axani

Michelle Hotchin



Susan Speigel

John Furneax

Angelika Seeschaaf Veres

Stephen Chait

Fiona Lim-Tung

Arlene Etchen

Arlene Etchen

Anik Glaude

Dave Wolfenden

Kamilla Nikolaev

Barry Sheehan

Anita Bidinosti

Monica Contreras

Warren Price

Bastien Hermand

Brenda Librecz

Roberto Chiotti

Michele Gucciardi

Brian Lee

Calvin Tennant

Lauren Wickware

Virginia Tassinari

Bruce Cudmore

Carolina Moretti

Richard Witt

Nik Baerton

Calvin Tennant

Lilliana Diaz Olavarrieta

Cathy Molloy

Susan Spencer-Lewin

Ayla Newhouse

Camelia Melchiori

Linda Irvine

Cheryl Rego

Xavier Massé

Carl James

Chris Pandolfi

Luigi Ferrara

Christina Kakaflikas

Juan Camacho

Simone Maurice

Marco Grassi

Christine Matthews

Christopher Pandolfi

Bill Gurney

Christian Kokholm Pedersen

Colin Campbell

Brendan Cormier

Christine Williams

Diane Koblansky

Matt Hexemer

Daniel Karpinski

Don Hamilton

Miles Keller

David Lieberman

Erik Stackelberg

Mark Guslits

Guela Solow

Graham Seaman

Gavin Baxter

Ian Chalmers

Howard Shore

Simon Drexler

Jeff Howards

Huyen Hare

Graeme Kondruss

Jenny Lemieux

Christina Rungstrøm

Maria Gabriela Sanches

Chriz Miller

Marlene Slopak

Connie Wansborough

Michele Perras

Connor Malloy

Mike Gioffre

Dave Wolfenden

Mike Nitsopolous

Diane Koblansky

Miles Keller

Doug Dragasevich

Nick Crampton

Yrsa Sogaard Gregersen

Shaunna Thatcher Tony Caporaletti Sony Rai


Elena Dragoman

Jordan Feldberg


Pedro Quinteros

Victoria Dell’Anno

Amel Mahfouf

Elizabeth Dougherty

Jordan McCallum

Massimo Mellilo

Philip Cudiamat

Virgina Tran

Achraf Hentatit

Emilie Bouchon

Joshua Danque

Mathew Tauro

Pia Lyck Festersen

Walter Batori

Adèle Hurbault

Erika Baltusyte

Joyce Tan

Mathilde Schettini

Pierre Olivier Planty

Weipeng Wayne Wu

Adelina Restea

Esteban Came

Julia Spinell

Matteo Boldrin

Qiannan (Cathy) Zhao

William Zega

Adrian Di Domenico

Evan Milward

Julian Semenovs

Matteo Casaburi

Raman Calliste

Winnie Chan

Akkeno Johnson

Fatemeh Samaeitehrani

Julie Hoang

Matthew Lane

Rashida Francis

Yi (Charlie) Lu

Jurga Saudiene

Matthew Lloyd

Renato Trindade

Justin Chan

Matthew Mak

Reshman Hussen

Justin Shin

Matthew Raffa

Richard Zeng

Karen Lin Thorsley

Maud Benhammou

Ridvan Isik

Karen Yu

Maurizio Calabrese

Roberta Giovannini

Karl Kriedemann

Melanie Gaspar

Robin Olsson

Kathy Masoumi Rad

Melody Sarvghadi

Rosanna Iyadi

Keit Kollo

Mervat Gorgis

Samuel Christian

Helena Harvey

Keli Chiu

Michael Crook

Sandor Soltesz

Michael Ferrari

Sara Scheuermann

Asif Shamim

Henrik Jeanty Andersen

Kimberlyn Lee Lei Kristian Pal

Micheline Ferguson

Sergei Plehhanov

Ayad Basamh

Hiu Chan

Kurtis Eckensweiler

Mike Campbell

Shahin Rahim

Boi Phan Hoang

Hley Vacirca

Leslie Endes

Mike De Lima

Shehneela Farheen

Bradley Rastrullo

Ioulia Leiderman

Lester Fallarcuna

Miranda Bowland

Simona Pollara

Breanna Rawn

Irina Rendon

Lin Huang

Monika Bene

Simone Wedderborn

Brendan Keen

Isabella Amato

Linea Bering

Nanna Marie Lund

Soffi Ernst

Bryan Kee

Isabelle Mattern

Lisa Hong

Natalia Semenovs

Sony Pereira

Camila Campos Herrera

Jacky Twsa

Liz Huntly

Natalie Pozzan

Spencer Dingle

Jagroof Dhindsay

Lydia Macintosh

Nathan De Sousa

Stephan Larsen

Chloé Pérignon

Jaimie Hallarn

Macey Jin

Nathan Proctor

Stephen Fiset

Christine Graystone

James Newsome

Nathanial Archer

Steven Defrancesco

Cian O’Hare

Jamie Verbrugge

Magnus Bonde Petersen

Steven Evely

Cindy Ly

Jane Burger

Maia Stubitsch

Nelson Paulo

Steven Tiao

Jason Sullivan

Mandarine Gervaise

Ning Sun

Cordero Wingertero

Steven Xyloportas

Courtney Richard

Jerry Petersen

Marc Rosso

Nuno Maceso

Stuart McPherson

Daneyka Lauchu

Jessa Sy

Marcel Wilson

Nuria Gonzalez

Talin Balian

Daniel Felix

Jesse Langille

Maria Grazia Francia

Padraic Wilson

Telmo Mussenga

Daniel Garnier

Jin Hwan Oh

Maria Grazia Francia

Parastika Hendrajat

Tenish Lewis

Daniel Herrara

John Carl Cabral

Marianne Métairie

Patrick Siemek

Diane Villeneuve

John Ha

Marie Paznar

Patrizio Canestrini

Teresa Maria Barreiros Garcia

Dong-Ju (DJ) Kwon

Joi Mcconnell

Marina Felchin

Douglas G. Scott

Jonabelle Torralba

Mark Butterworth

Jonathan Calle

Mark Rosso

Jonathan Gibb


Allison Rogers Amy Allicock Andrew Briand Andrew Jordan Andrew Lauder Andrew Paul Andrew Wallace Andrian Di Domenico Anna Federica Adamo Ashley Vigilante

Dyan Buerano Ekaterina Granovsky

Fiorella Amadei Geoff Stoneham Giulia Luppino Gregory Moore Guanzhong Ye Hannah Tapang Heather Mackay-Lams

Paul Bennett Paul Lapkin Paul Nigro Pauline Praseuth Pavel Grigoriev

Tiziana Nicolao Tommy Stevens Troels Kobberø Valery Prokhurovskiy

COLAB: A Change Lab for Markham  

This is a year long project in collaboration with the city of Markham. Designed by students from interdisciplinary design strtegy at the Ins...

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