No Mean City: The World of Architecture, As Seen From Toronto

Aug 28

Toronto, the city parks of the future and 'landscape urbanism'

2013 / Categories: Uncategorized



Recently in The Globe and Mail I wrote about new urban parks: the breed of new ones that are filling marginal spaces in cities, serving growing numbers of city dwellers, and doing serious ecological work at the same time.

Toronto’s Corktown Common is an excellent example: as I’ve written here, the park represents a useful example of infrastructure and recreation all in one, protecting the heart of downtown Toronto from flooding while animating a new neighbourhood.

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The park is designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates of New York and Boston, one of the world’s leading design firms in this area…

MVVA also designed the new Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates

But MVVA aren’t the only stars in town. Toronto is a global centre for the theory of  landscape urbanism, thanks in part to the Downsview Park design competition of 2000.

Now, thanks to Waterfront Toronto, many of the world’s leading landscape firms are working here including West 8 and James Corner Field Operations. Vancouver’s PFS Studio, who have designed two excellent parks here too, including Underpass Park. The scale and importance of waterfront development is still not clear to many people even in Toronto. Corktown Common may help change this, along with the 2015 Pan Am Games.

It’s an interesting moment for Toronto and for urbanism, and with the West Don Lands proposal still up in the air, the near future will be even more interesting.

Underpass Park PFS Studio

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