The Institute without Boundaries (IwB) presents Connected & Unbound: A New Regional Perspective, the IwB 's research on symbiotic regions (2016–2017) that guided the development of a series of projects and prototypes to create a regionally connected waterfront in partnership with Waterfront Toronto.

The world is regionalizing

In our daily lives we live beyond the borders of just one municipality. We live in a network of complex and evolving connections that make up a regional life. Living beyond the urban scale, we need to develop an understanding of the new regional scale of our lives.

of the region's population growth in the GTHA was accounted for by Urban Growth Centres.

of the population growth of Metro Vancouver was accommodated by urban centres.

of the GTA's population growth in 2015 was accounted for by the 905 Area.

What are living Connections?

Regions are alive. They are more than just a set of municipalities. They are breathing with relationships from the micro to the macro, from the obvious to the unseen, from the dollars, policies and zoning, to the heart-wrenchingly human. The more interconnected these relationships are, the more positive an impact on the region. A region is living connections.

Living connections can be categorized into six broad categories. Each of these categories is a complex system and has an unlimited amount of connections within it.



Economic exchange is the glue that binds a region together. Its hubs are the heart of the living connections. Close proximities and industry clusters allow the flow of work, business and economic trade to connect different municipalities together. The strength of an economy in one part of the region, if connected, gets distributed throughout.



Regions share a set of built infrastructure that physically connects municipalities together such as roads, water treatment plants and pipes.


Natural Systems

Natural systems create a region's shared dependency. We, quite literally, are connected through the resources we rely on to live. Our watersheds, air quality, drinking water, food and natural beauty is regionally bounded. Natural systems are the bones that connect the region.


Knowledge Sharing

Academic institutions, industry conferences, digital media and other forms of knowledge sharing span over multiple municipalities and attract people from different parts of a region.


Cultural Ties

Shared cultural ties create identities throughout a region and can form bonds that increase empathy amongst people. Multiple cultures sharing the same physical space can create new connections that enhance innovation through perspective mashing.


Political Boundaries

The political connections and regulations that function between regional municipalities must communicate and work together to enhance the other living connections that flow across borders.

Case Study

Partnering with Waterfront Toronto and applying an integrated design strategy to thinking about living regionally, we developed three interventions for connecting Toronto's waterfront connecting it to the wider Greater Golden Horseshoe region.