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Thesis | Canadian/Int’l Version

Thesis | US Version

ABSTRACT >>>

Limited-access road and rail infrastructure in inner-cities connects the whole at the expense of the affected parts. The 1950’s and 60’s ushered in an era of urban renewal and freeway building that saw cities connected to far-flung suburbs, compromising their neighborhoods, residents and urban livability. Railway construction predated this and, as public-transit, has not attracted the planners’ ire to the same intensity as have freeways; however, it remains a grey ribbon of localized disconnect in inner-cities. Only recently has rail been seen as retrofitable to the local urban need. Toronto has triple wicked urban problems: wide swathes of rail, an elevated urban freeway, and unsightly and choked at-grade arterials. All this, in the heart of a burgeoning city. A city that allows for design dreams, in an environment of perpetual fiscal prudence. A city whose primary urban activity zones straddle this arterial road and rail drosscape. A city seeking spatial unity and a reconnection to its gleaming and burgeoning lakefront.

THESIS QUESTION >>>

What design solutions can mend an urban fabric, ripped apart by infrastructure, located between downtowns and their associated waterfronts?

DESIGN SOLUTION SUMMATION >>>

RAIL-CAP URBAN REDEVELOPMENT

Type: mixed-use air-rights & rail-cap urban open space
Total length: 1.23 km [0.76 mile] long cap
Widest: 250 m [820ft] in width at Bay Street
Cap height: 91-92m [299ft – 302ft] above sea-level | rail at ±83m [272ft]
Rail clearance: 7010mm [30ft] as per Ontario Dept. of Transport
Owner/stakeholders: CN Rail & Metrolinx [and City of Toronto]
Developable land added: 79,674m2 (55,669m2 excl. existing proposals)
Roadblocks: Being outside CN Rail & Metrolinx’s main business focus; City of Toronto Council being risk-averse; constantly changing urban environment & constantly awarding development permits
Positives: Appetite post-Rob Ford to ‘do something’ again; Toronto’s economic boom; Ontario waking from a transit-investment slumber

SIGNATURE PARK AT THE HEART OF TORONTO

Toronto’s prominent trait: diversity; arguably, the most diverse city on the planet What is Toronto? The economic & urban epicentre of Canada Icons: CN Tower; maple insignia; First Nations; multicultural mosaic – informed the park design

PEDESTRIANIZED STREET NETWORK

Most public-space modelled after pedestrian streets, streetscapes to reflect Victorian/Modern design milieu Most park space is linear, opening up to plazas & squares at key intersections Maintaining existing street axes, mirroring the existing urban fabric Uses cardinal directions & insolation [solar radiation] in places to influence plan orientation

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