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Strategies for Urban Revival and Renewal in Canadian Cities and Towns I

My Session Status

Regular session
9:00 AM, Friday 27 May 2022 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Break   10:30 AM to 11:00 AM (30 minutes)

Many of our Canadian cities and towns currently find themselves in need of revival and renewal. Disinvestment in the public realm, decentralization – exacerbated during the COVID 19 Pandemic – vacancies and abandonment - including brownfields and grayfields – are some of the many challenges which they currently face.  

Both dwindling tax bases, and depleted revenue streams, make more formal and top-down urban strategies less tenable. Prevailing Modernist paradigms such as urban renewal led by many Canadian cities and towns in the 50’s and 60’s by local and city governmental agencies, succeeded in fracturing both communities as well as ecologies. How might we begin to revive and renew our cities and towns within the context of these challenges? What is the agency of design as a strategic framework as an alternative to more formal urban strategies, lying within informal urbanisms operating at both the bottom-up and middle-down, or hybrid strategies situated between both the informal and formal?   

Both the recent United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference - COP 26 – and increasing extreme climate change events, such as the mudslides in BC and increased flooding in our waterfront cities and towns, focus increased calls to action on these fronts.  

Design strategies and interventions operating within the existing built urban fabric and which re-use existing building stock, through both preservation and adaptive re-use, contribute to the sustainable continuum of our cultural and social landscapes through built heritage.  

Working within a framework of heritage preservation and re-use, and operating at the bottom-up and middle-down, what might more participatory forms of heritage revival and renewal in our cities and towns be? How might we also recover our ecological landscapes?

Sub Sessions

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM | 20 minutes

The Sudbury2050 Urban Design Ideas Competition was launched on 25 February of 2020 and winners were announced in December 2020. As an international competition on rethinking Canadian cities the size of Sudbury (160,000), entrants responded to the initial design brief: This competition challenges entrants to create a new vision for the urban core of the City of Greater Sudbury. A 2050 vision that is far-reaching and one that will serve the city well in a rapidly changing global en...

9:30 AM - 9:50 AM | 20 minutes

Cities in Alberta are facing three concurrent challenges: 1) the impacts of COVID-19 on the near and long-term planning, design construction, and operations of the built environment; 2) the exacerbated downturn in the oil and gas sector; and 3) the significant pre-existing and exacerbated vacancy and underutilization of built-form assets in their downtown cores. In this period of uncertainty and transition, Albertan municipalities are increasingly open to new and innovative solutions that ...

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM | 20 minutes

To speak of participatory conservation typically brings to mind cases where citizens mobilise to protect threatened forms of material heritage in ‘downtown’ contexts or ‘natural’ spaces at the rural-urban fringe, which in turn is a locus for efforts toward ecological recovery. Less commonly do we think of participation, conservation, and ecological recovery in the everyday (post)suburban landscapes found across Canada. In this paper we explore how densification, diversification, and co...

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