The Importance of Regional Planning That Matters

Author: Kaid Benfield

The Places to Grow land use plan for the region of Ontario around Toronto and Hamilton (image above) is one of the best I have seen. I will discuss it more below, but you can tell how well-conceived it is just by looking at the amount of protected land it saves while accommodating a tremendous amount of regional growth in population and jobs.

Planning at the regional scale is critical. As our economic, land use and transportation patterns have evolved over the last century, metropolitan areas have become increasingly important. In most parts of the country, the political boundaries established by municipalities long ago are no longer relevant to businesses’ or residents’ activities, to say nothing of environmental media such as air and water.

As a result, to meaningfully influence environmental impacts associated with development, land use, and transportation, we must act at a level where central cities and suburbs can be considered together. As President Barack Obama has put it, “that is the new metropolitan reality and we need a new strategy that reflects it.”

Read the full article at http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/kaidbenfield/28185/importance-regional-planning-matters.

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The Hubbub Around Huburbs

Author: Jake Tobin Garrett

They didn’t really look like much. The four Google Earth images projected up onto the screen showed low-density, sprawling suburbanism in all its horizontal glory. But they also represented four locations out of 51 that Metrolinx has designated to become “mobility hubs” in The Big Move, the agency’s ambitious transit plan for the GTA.

Richard Sommer, dean of the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, was showing the images to introduce Huburbs, a symposium on mobility hubs put on by the school and sponsored by Metrolinx this past weekend. “The challenge,” he said, motioning to the screen, “is to take these strange Petri dishes and turn them into a live organism.” (For those of you who haven’t heard Richard Sommer speak before, the experience is like having a vial of masculinity poured directly into your ear. His voice is deep and rich, the kind of voice that makes you want to grow a beard and then maybe build something. But alas, he was not at the forefront of this symposium and merely there to frame the day’s discussion.)

For the next eight hours, we were going to hear international and Canadian speakers discuss the economics, politics, and design involved in creating efficient, sustainable mobility hubs, while also creating vibrant places of community.

But we can already here you asking: what is a mobility hub and, more importantly, what is a huburb?

Read the full article at http://torontoist.com/2011/04/the_hubbub_around_huburbs.php

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Toronto’s aggressive new mayor ignites a transit fight

Author: Philip Langdon

Last October, Toronto elected a new mayor of breathtaking crudeness: Rob Ford, a corpulent councillor from Etobicoke who can be seen on You Tube calling his opponents in government “weasels” and “snakes” and pursuing an exasperated reporter who may or may not have called him a bad name.

At a Council session on whether to reduce the number of traffic lanes on a downtown thoroughfare, Ford took the side of drivers, declaring that “cyclists are a pain in the ass to the motorists.” In a 2007 debate, he said, “I can’t support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”

During the mayoral campaign, Ford, who hails from the least dense of the municipalities that were merged into an amalgamated Toronto, pledged to get rid of a $60 vehicle registration fee. “There’s no secret about it, there’s a war on cars in the city,” he insisted.

With that as prologue, it was to be expected that the 41-year-old businessman and councillor turned mayor would be at odds with many transit advocates. On his first day in office in December, Ford pronounced Transit City — a rapid light-rail network planned to extend throughout the city — dead.

Read the full article at http://newurbannetwork.com/article/torontos-aggressive-new-mayor-ignites-transit-fight-14272

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Job Opportunity: Manager, Innovation

Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario, is realizing its vision to bring about an integrated, traveller-focused, multi-modal transportation system that enhances prosperity, sustainability and quality of life for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

To support this, Metrolinx has identified innovation as a core corporate value and is looking for a passionate, creative and experienced individual to work with the Director of Innovation and a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to identify, develop, incubate and champion innovative ideas, concepts and best practices needed to meet Metrolinx’s short and long-term goals. Reporting to the Director of Innovation, the manager will work collaboratively with all Metrolinx business areas as well as external stakeholders to help identify strategic orientations and manage projects with concrete outcomes.

As the Manager of Innovation, you will be responsible for:

• Managing the development of an Innovation Strategy through a consultative process, involving both internal and external stakeholders.

• Developing and managing research focused on innovation, sustainability, continuous improvement, and customer service leading to the assessment of policies, internal processes, and external services that help to fulfill corporate goals.

• Developing the business case model to support ideas that promote innovation and sustainability from incubation to independence.

• Developing and managing projects related to innovation and sustainability involving internal and external resources.

• Leading technical working groups made up of a variety of internal and external stakeholders.

• Leading the organization of stakeholder forums made up of diverse public and private sector audiences.

Location: 20 Bay Street, Toronto

For more information: http://www.metrolinx.com/mx_hr/en/careers.aspx

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Toronto Takes Off to a Great Walkable North

Author: Christopher Leinberger

October 28, 2010 —

Just back from a four day trip to Toronto with my University of Michigan graduate students learning about pedestrian-oriented urban development. We toured seven major walkable urban places from downtown to a couple downtown-adjacent places, but especially suburban-located walkable urban places redeveloping old town centers and strip commercial centers.
What did we see? A forest of cranes building 30 to 50 story condominiums, rental apartments, and office towers in these walkable urban places and ground level street life that rivals the best metropolitan areas in the world.

The reason I selected Toronto for the students included the generous invitation of Richard Florida, a beacon for my students for having zeroed in on the knowledge economy and the rise of the creative class.

Another reason to see Toronto is that Canada had much more sober banking practices over the past decade, unlike the U.S., so that their five major institutions, all with headquarters in Toronto, have continued lending. The result is seen in the skyline, reflecting the continued engagement of the built environment, representing 35 percent of the assets of the economy, at work. Canada, like China, India, and Brazil, reasonably painlessly continued to grow through the Great Recession.

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Job Opportunity: Director of Innovation, Metrolinx, Toronto, ON

DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION

Salary Range: $136,941 to $171,176

Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario, is realizing its vision to bring about an integrated, traveller-focused, multi-modal transportation system that enhances prosperity, sustainability and quality of life for the GTHA region.

To support this, Metrolinx has identified innovation as a core corporate value and is looking for a unique and experienced individual to work with a team of diverse professionals in the transportation, planning, finance and sustainable development disciplines to identify, develop, incubate and champion innovative ideas, concepts and best practices needed to meet Metrolinx’s short and long-term goals. Reporting to the Vice President of Policy and Planning, this management executive will work collaboratively with all Metrolinx business areas, including GO Transit, an operating division, and public and private sector transportation leadership to identify future lines of business at both the strategic and tactical levels.

As the Director of Innovation, you will be responsible for:

Researching, evaluating, and filtering ideas and concepts including those from senior management, and working closely with all business areas to use new and existing customer insights to advance the corporate value of innovation.
Identifying policies, internal processes, and external services for improved modal integration, efficiency and alignment with The Big Move and overall corporate mission, vision, goals and values.
Developing and directing research focused on transportation innovation and making improvements to the traveler
experience.
Developing the business case model to support innovative ideas from incubation to independence
Overseeing senior stakeholder forums made up of diverse public and private sector interests to remain current and ahead of the curve.
Bringing a diverse perspective to the field of transportation, to grasp issues, opportunities and roadblocks and
subsequently utilizing your range of knowledge and political acuity to minimize barriers and to maximize opportunities.
Integrating potential innovations with Metrolinx’s “The Big Move” plan, the GO 2020 strategic plan and the overall needs of travellers throughout the GTHA.

Qualifications: Completion of a post-graduate university degree in Planning, Engineering, Business Administration or Public Policy or any combination of education, training, and experience deemed equivalent. Minimum ten (10) years experience in the development of corporate strategy or project management in the transportation and/or urban planning fields that includes direct exposure to, or demonstrated working knowledge of;

Developing and fostering innovation in policy, procedures and services.
Managing / Directing high profile and highly complex projects that are organic and require the ability to adapt to changing goals and direction.
Directing and managing cross-functional corporate teams, and multi-disciplinary consultant contracts.
Integrating a diverse portfolio of issues into actionable directives.
Generating and testing hypotheses, and incubating ideas.
Leading by empowering others to innovate and continuously improve.
Superior interpersonal communication skills (written, oral, and listening) and extremely strong presentation skills for public audiences and senior public officials.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area planning and socio-political issues (rural, suburban, and urban) that have the potential to impact the success of Metrolinx and its operating division GO Transit.
Diplomatic personal conduct in highly sensitive and / or political environments, with the ability to negotiate and foster a climate of openness and transparency.

Resumes must be received by the Human Resources Office, Metrolinx, 20 Bay Street, Suite 600, Toronto, M5J 2W3, email: humanresources@metrolinx.com no later than September 15, 2010, quoting File Number 10-220.

Only those selected for an Interview will be contacted.

AN EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
www.metrolinx.com

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