2020 ULI Hines Student Competition
The 2020 ULI Hines Student Competition is now open for registration!
In September, the City of Brampton, in partnership with ULI Toronto, Ryerson University, and Nordic City Solutions, hosted a day of city-building walkshops, which concluded with a taste of international cuisines and a panel discussion with Nordic experts. A total of 110 ULI members from various disciplines across the GTA took part in the walkshops and subsequent discussions, with over 250 registrants taking part in the evening event.
The walkshops explored the City of Brampton’s potential for urban growth and economic development through the discussion of four key strategies: transit-oriented development (TOD), building a tech-friendly ecosystem, opportunities for a meanwhile strategy, and transforming the public realm. Discussions were led by experts from Arup, Ryerson University, MaRS, DTAH, TRCA, Akin Collective, Greenberg Consultants, and the City of Brampton.
The integration of TOD through a culture shift will be a key component of successful urbanization and its ability to meet the demands of future growth. There is a need to create and capture value by leveraging investments and rethinking access to transit, as well as to understand the coordination and integration between different mobility options to address the problem of first and last mile.
The city’s location on the Waterloo-Toronto Region corridor, along with its wealth of technology companies and educational institutions, present the city with the opportunity to mature in its identity as a centre of innovation. Tapping into the city’s extensive resources can foster an environment in which technology drives economy, leading to the attraction and retention of talent in health and knowledge-based industries.
John MacRitchie, Assistant Vice-President of Zone Learning & Strategic Initiatives at Ryerson University, shared the vision for a new cybersecurity hub in Brampton. “The hub’s role will be one of multiplying, amplifying and celebrating the innovation activities in the community,” he explained. “We are more effective when we are multiplying and amplifying existing activities rather than creating them from scratch…”
The role of art, events, and regular programming as short-term strategies for placemaking are integral. Akin Collective’s Michael Vickers and Oliver Pauk shared their expertise in transforming underused spaces into affordable studios for artists in Toronto. There is opportunity to collaborate with organizations, such as Akin Collective, to bring similar interim adaptive reuse to Brampton.
There is opportunity to revitalize Brampton’s downtown and transform the public realm, making it sustainable and resilient through engineering an innovative and long-term solution to the flood risk. “…Many future revisioning opportunities come on the back of necessary infrastructure improvements,” said Bryce Miranda, Partner and Landscape Architect at DTAH. “Perhaps the biggest opportunity, with the focus on public realm, is the ability to design public spaces for people, rather than for vehicles. Creating a pedestrianized downtown with future ready details, innovative green infrastructure, and context sensitive materials helps make for unique cityscapes with an identity. They become cities that people want to identify with, live in and ultimately invest in.”
After the walkshops, participants were invited to explore the integral role of food in cities and public spaces through a taste of international cuisines. Suresh Doss, food writer at CBC, curated the night’s menu to showcase the authentic local fare that reflects the cultures of immigrants’ homelands.
Vice director of Economic Development at the City of Helsinki, Jani Moliis, spoke on Helsinki’s success and the various strategies the city has incorporated to achieve this. The panel included Jani Moliis, Chris Morris of ALA Architects, Carsten Primdahl of CEBRA Architects, and Cherise Burda of Ryerson City Building Institute, and was moderated by Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants. They engaged in a dynamic conversation on city building, discussing how Brampton can move towards resilience and sustainability as it continues to urbanize, transform, and reach its 2040 Vision.
As the City of Brampton is entering a period of unprecedented growth and change, it will require undertaking a new growth model – the urban suburb. A fresh perspective on city building is essential in shaping the City as it transitions. The strategies that the City of Helsinki undertook for successful urban regeneration can serve as inspiration for successful city building in Brampton and beyond.