Florian Langstraat, a graduate student in Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, provides an international perspective on planning in Ontario. It is based on the results of a cross-national research project comparing the impact of regional-level, long-term planning visions in Greater Toronto, Canada, and the Randstad, the Netherlands.
Preliminary findings from the Neptis Foundation showing how four major Canadian cities have grown in the past 20 years indicate that while the populations of the Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto city-regions continue to expand, the rate at which new land is being urbanized at the edge has decreased over time - sometimes quite dramatically.
As the transit discussion takes off again during election year, there's plenty of talk - the Scarborough LRT-vs-subway battle, the Downtown Relief Line vs the Regional Relief strategy, varying ideas about how to optimize GO Transit - but these debates are sideshows to the main event: getting a system that treats the region as one big transit network.
The Neptis Foundation is a non-partisan, registered charity which does not endorse political parties or platforms. But this does not preclude us from discussing our reports with political parties, politicians or anybody else who is interested in our research. Neptis will continue to inform public debate during the provincial and municipal campaigns this year. Our hope is that we can move beyond sound-bite coverage of issues and find a platform for rich debate and discussion to address the many complex issues facing our region.
The conference theme was International Perspective: What Lessons Can We Learn and Leverage from Major Developments? The panellists considered how major developments have shaped cities and provided valuable lessons that the GTA can leverage. This session explored a number of projects in Manhattan including the Highline and Hudson Yards projects.
What we are far from doing is upgrading the network across the region, most of which still lacks frequent express rail service. And the current version of The Big Move emphasizes local transit routes over regional express rail. Why?