Regional Imaginations

What if our region looked different? What forces or trends might change it in the future? What could it have looked like with a different history? New perspectives begin with imagination. Imagination is the catalyst for positive change. Come explore Regional Imaginations.

Regional Shake Ups

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, global and local trends have an increasing impact on the region. By understanding and anticipating these trends, or shake-ups, we can create designs that ensure that the region's systems are better prepared for the future.

What positive and negative implications result from these trends? How can design solutions address these trends to improve the region?


Rising Regionalization

As the number of people living in urban areas increase, regions become vaster and denser creating the areas known as mega-regions. The rapid growth of these mega-regions create new connections, which impact the climate, regional services (such as transit infrastructure), cultural identities, emergency response systems, watersheds, and economic exchanges.


Rising Integration of Digital Technology

Increased digital connection and the resulting rise of cyber-dependency have caused both positive and negative social changes. On the one hand we have easier access to knowledge, people, and organizations, while on the other are breakdowns in privacy, security, and governance.


Climate Change

Climate change causes deterioration in air, soil, and water quality, which causes increased stress on the region's natural, physical, and social systems. Longer shoulder seasons, increase in flooding, and more frequent extreme weather patterns will change the landscape and services of the region.


Distance is Collapsing

Organized regional transportation and new rapid transit expansions connect and traverse municipal boundaries. Combined with accelerating digital technologies, physical distances are overcome through mobile devices and ICT.


Growing Income Gap

The ability to work will become more challenging in the coming decade, and, when combined with the rising cost of living, will lead to increases in the income inequality gap. The widening gap leads to poorer health and lost productivity among low-income populations leading to higher health care costs and economic polarity spanning the region.


Aging Population

The average age of the region's population is increasing as baby boomers age and as young couples choose to have fewer, if any, children. This means there will be a growing dependent population and a shrinking workforce, which will cause challenges for the region's productivity and economic growth.

The Greater Golden Horseshoe

The Greater Golden Horseshoe Region (GGH) covers 32,000 km2, spanning the shoreline of Lake Ontario from Niagara to the rural Northumberland County, and stretching north to Lake Simcoe and the Georgian Bay. Within this area are booming cities, growing suburban areas, rural municipalities, agricultural communities, and a large protected greenbelt.

It is composed of 110 separate municipal jurisdictions with many people living in one part of the region, and working or studying in other areas. It is Canada's largest urbanized area!

The following are a series of speculative maps that use the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region to ask larger questions.

Blocks Mapping

What if the region was zoned through an even spread of zoning blocks?

Regions function because of their diversity. They are the culmination of urban, suburban and rural. However, we explored what an entire region might look if it was laid out and zoned in blocks based evenly on type of usage. Switch between these maps to reimagine the region through different zoning types.

Each map uses a block of 25 square km to reimagine the region.

The Downtown Block

A region zoned in blocks based on the typical downtown pattern. What would it be like if the whole region wanted to live in downtown?

The Danforth

The Danforth is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, lying east of downtown. It is mostly residential interspersed with commercial usage, utilities and some open spaces. What would it look like if the whole region was zoned in blocks of urban neighbourhoods?

The Live, Work, Play Block

A region zoned based on three land use types; employment, residential and open space. How would people interact in a region zoned in blocks evenly spread between Live, Work and Play?

The Food Block

What would happen if the entire region got its food locally? A region imagined based on 50% agricultural zoning.

The Even Spread Block

A region imagined based on each zoning type equally distributed in each block. What would a completely mixed use region look like?