Re-Imagining the Toronto Waterfront
On the eastern side of downtown Toronto, there is an area referred to as the Port Lands. This area has a wide range of land uses but is mostly zoned for industrial uses. There are open spaces, parks, and recreational activities near the water and many years ago, the original flow of the Don River was adjusted without thought of the long-term effects. Five years ago, Google's Sidewalks put forth a plan for the redevelopment of this area. The plan called for a highly digital footprint, smart and connected built environment and a myriad of other amenities. For various reasons, the plan did not go through and not much has changed in the Port Lands area. In the Fall of 2021, our online Penn State Geodesign studio course looked to tackle the complex issue of re-imagining this area of the Toronto Waterfront. Students were tasked with working together to utilize the Geodesign framework to come up with a new plan for the area. Students reviewed previous studies, met with stakeholders, and used Map. Social to collect detailed and comprehensive existing conditions data. They worked with server tools within the ArcGIS Platform to accomplish these tasks. ArcGIS Pro and Online were used to gather and organize geospatial data to represent the existing conditions before creating an StoryMap to show their work. Next, the students worked with GeoPlanner to develop scenarios with KPI dashboards to show how design targets were being met. They then had to come to an agreement about what design elements were to be taken to the next step. ArcGIS Urban was used to help get a clear picture for potential land use and zoning envelopes and to understand how the area fit into the larger context of the City of Toronto. Once final decisions were made, students then worked in CityEngine to build detailed models and visualizations for the area. The students final project involved developing a Esri StoryMap to present their findings, including a summary of the process that they moved through during the semester. Final results were presented back to stakeholders from Toronto.