Urbanist Robin Mazumder reviews Quayside, the new ‘smart’ neighbourhood on Toronto’s eastern waterfront
The futuristic neighbourhood being designed for Toronto’s waterfront
IImagine being able to build a neighbourhood from scratch in the heart of Toronto, the country’s most populous city; to experiment with innovative urban design in the midst of a housing shortage and what Mayor John Tory has called a citywide mental health crisis, as many citizens struggle with issues related to a lack of city resources and a coordinated national approach. What would that neighbourhood look like? How could it be built to support the well-being of the people living there? Enter Sidewalk Toronto, an ambitious mixed-use community project on a nearly five-hectare stretch of Toronto’s eastern waterfront called Quayside, created in partnership with developer Waterfront Toronto and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, a Google sister company specializing in urban innovation. The project, which will integrate modern technology and best urban design practices, is currently in consultation, with plans to break ground in 2020 and see its first residents as early as 2022. As an outspoken urbanist, advocate for healthier cities and a former mental health occupational therapist completing my doctorate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo, where I study the psychological impacts of urban design, I’m excited about the neighbourhood’s possibilities. If done well, Quayside can set the tone for how we build future urban centres in the age of open data and smart technology. Here are some elements I think are essential to Quayside’s success.
Teachers! Bring this and other infographics into your classroom by visiting cangeoeducation.ca/resources.