Regional symbiosis, or symbiosis, is the functional element of the complex and evolving network of connections, or their relationships. By understanding the value of symbiotic relationships we will be able to use them to develop a stronger regional system for people to live in.
Every regional connection, whether it is an economic exchange or infrastructure development, changes depending on the circumstances affecting its relationship. These types of relationships can be categorized into three broad categories.
An area sharing resources of another area in usually a one-sided relationship. This can be seen in connections through natural systems.
Example: 40% of the world's population lives in 250 major river basins. Downstream users are constantly affected by upstream use of water.
Areas that are dependent on other areas in order to function without adversely affecting the other area's resources. This can be seen in civic connections.
Example: The proposal for a high speed rail line that would connect Toronto to Windsor and the US border is largely motivated for its greater access and connectivity with the the United States. Along the way, the train would pass through rust belt communities of Southwestern Ontario, which have been economically depressed since the decline of manufacturing, potentially offering renewed investment and economic vitality to the region.
Areas are interdependent on each other for growth. This can be seen in economic connections.
Example: The relationship between the pharmaceutical cluster in Mississauga and Toronto's medical research cluster connect two industries that support each other economically.