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A Message from our CEO on COVID-19Read the Announcement

Creating an Adaptable Community in the Heart of Vaughan

As we move forward in defining what the “new normal” will look like, an important question remains: How will our needs, capabilities and desires change as the world around us does? New technology is being invented every day, however, it is important to ensure that the infrastructure and techniques we choose are not merely trends, and that they maintain maximum adaptability to introduce these new technologies into our environments.

By

Date

July 27, 2020

It’s 2041. How are you getting to work? Where are you buying your food?

The answers to these questions are dependent on the decisions and investments we make today. In planning and design, we have the privilege to advocate for, and implement, the structures necessary to facilitate resiliency in our future communities.

To be resilient means to be proactive by ensuring a project will be flexible and able to respond to change. It means being prepared for, and reducing the impacts of, disruption caused by unforeseen circumstances and complexity of the future.

For IBI’s Placemaking practice, the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) project has been undergoing an incredible synthesis of resiliency-focused ideas. A combination of evolving techniques is being explored to address the needs of today, as well as to ensure a flexible future. Achieving environmental, social and economic resiliency means including concepts like mobility, open space, urban farming, energy and storm water management at the forefront of the proposed design.

In rethinking mobility, we are exploring how old, new and emerging techniques may be used to facilitate movement through the site. The inclusion of cycling routes and facilities encourages a timeless mode of transportation for a healthy lifestyle, allowing for a singular use not bound by schedule, and maintaining accessibility and affordability. We are also at the forefront of developing an implementation strategy for the use of autonomous vehicles as well as e-bikes/scooters, with the goal of eliminating single-occupancy vehicles and expanding mobility options for people of all walks of life. Implementing these services will allow for local trips to be facilitated by a low-to-zero carbon mode of transportation, providing connections to future routes in the City of Vaughan and beyond.

Open space is being examined as a way to integrate future environmental, social and economic benefits.

The proposed design for the VMC master plan creates a central destination for cultural activities, social gatherings and economic opportunity. By introducing elements such as urban farming, a sunken garden for flood protection, varying degrees of tree canopy/open space and multi-use paths, IBI has considered the design of this open space through the “new normal” lens. The space focuses on providing an environment that addresses the wellbeing of the community through both mental and physical health, as well as sustainable practices.

The concept of urban farming allows for a space to grow produce for a community or local restaurant, as well as to be utilized to help the flow and retention of flood and stormwater. It creates opportunities for a sustainable circular economy of local food production and resilient design. This practice presents opportunities to connect with local businesses, foster social interaction, and create local irrigation systems, ensuring everyone will have access to healthy and affordable food options.

On-site flood protection is one of the many water-based resiliency focuses implemented throughout the design. The sunken garden provides a unique multi-purpose opportunity to collect, store, and redistribute water through micro depressions and bio-swales. Streets with a focus on water retention through low impact developments (LIDs) are designed along major corridors to offer a local water re-use solution that can be primarily self-sustainable.

To ensure the longevity of the project, there are many other methods being explored.

These include permeable paving, pollinator gardens, plant bio-diversity, on-site renewable energy, shading and sustainable building materials, amongst other green interventions.

As we move forward in defining what the “new normal” looks like, an important question remains: How will our needs, capabilities and desires change as the world around us does? New technology is being invented every day, however, it is important to ensure that the infrastructure and techniques we choose are not merely trends, and maintain maximum adaptability to introduce these new technologies into our environments. As designers of the cities of tomorrow, we are increasingly responsible for ensuring that all future growth maintains the ability to be resilient, adaptable and capable of responding to change.

View Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Master Plan and Policy project

Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Master Plan and Policy

Vaughan, ON

IBI Group is providing planning and placemaking services for this exciting community master plan, which has been designed to create a vibrant urban district in downtown Vaughan. The community will feature a mix of residential, commercial and office uses, with the opportunity to live, shop, work and play all within a new pedestrian-oriented space.


Stephen Albanese is an Associate Manager with IBI Group’s Planning practice. Stephen is well-versed in the planning framework guiding land use and development. Supported by a great team of planners, he has successfully obtained/coordinated development and planning approvals for large-scale development projects involving numerous disciplines and teams of sub-consultants. He has undertaken several master planning exercises, policy reviews, statistical analyses, and planning due diligence exercises. In consideration of his development and land use planning experience, Stephen has also completed numerous highest and best-use analyses and represented clients before Council/Committee throughout the public consultation process.

Headshot of Stephen Albanese

Written by Stephen Albanese

Associate | Manager, Planning
Toronto, ON
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