Posts Tagged ‘Curb sprawl’

Places to Grow: setting the stage for growth

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

For those of us living in York Region and in the Greater Toronto Area, growth is one of those things that we cannot escape. In fact, the entire Province of Ontario is set to expand its population by nearly 30% over the next 30 years. Obviously, no one community is an island; growth in one area affects all of us.

To make sure all this growth has a positive impact on our communities, in 2005 the provincial government passed the Places to Grow Act. This Act set out specific growth targets and densities for the province. It also produced individual growth plans for key regions, including the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region. This plan is the basic rule book that is guiding planning for all the regions and municipalities in the region, including York Region and all its towns and cities. It calls for municipalities to look for ways to:

  • Revitalize downtowns to become vibrant and convenient centres;
  • Create complete communities that offer more options for living, working, learning, shopping and playing;
  • Provide housing options to meet the needs of people at any age;
  • Curb sprawl and protect farmland and green spaces; and
  • Reduce traffic gridlock by improving access to a greater range of transportation options.

This plan was welcomed as great news by people who understand the need for sustainable, smart management of growth. In fact, although the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe may sound like a bit of a mouthful, it has many admirers. It has won numerous awards – including from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the American Planning Association (APA) as the first recipient from outside the United States of the APA’s Daniel Burnham Award. Watch a video that showcases why they received the award. This is the most prestigious planning award in the United States, given to a comprehensive plan that, among other things, best represents the APA’s slogan of “Making Great Communities Happen”.

So we’re pretty fortunate in York Region to have this strong policy framework, and we’ve continued to build on it to shape the York Region of the future. It’s a long-term plan, and as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But bit by bit, this future vision is taking shape, and vivaNext is a key component.