Ontario’s Places to Grow was of great interest to the delegation, as Ningbo is trying to curb enormous sprawl and integrate TOD into their planning. The delegation was interested in learning more about green infrastructure, sustainable urban development and infrastructure finance; meeting technical experts and government officials to exchange ideas and experiences; and visiting some sites to see the impacts of relevant policies and incentives of infrastructure and urban development.
The challenges which have arisen during the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was the focus of a talk by Executive Director Marcy Burchfield at a Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) conference titled: Cities at the Edge: Urbanizing Suburbia in the Regional City.
Burchfied was part of a panel which included Larry Clay of the Ontario Growth Secretariat, Joe Berridge from Urban Strategies, and Mary-Lou Tanner from Niagara Region. Her talk was based on a Neptis report, the first comprehensive review of the Plan. The report paints a picture of an innovative, award-winning plan under pressure and behind schedule.
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.