GGRC33H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Sustainable Design

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Published on 7 Jul 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Geography
Course
GGRC33H3
4. Both Jabareen 2006 and Wheeler 2003 identify urban form factors that are likely to
result in sustainable cities or regions. But we know that every place has unique problems
and unique experiences in solving them. Chose either Jabareen or Wheeler and discuss how
well the current plans to manage growth in the GTA conform to the sustainable urban
design factors he identifies. What are the main problems local policy-makers are trying to
solve?
The GTA plan conforming to sustainable urban design essentially means trying to move towards
transit-oriented design (TOD). In particular however sustainable development as both Jabareen
(2006) and Wheeler (2003) argue is one that looks to improve quality of life and ecological
systems. Furthermore the GTA is looking to plan with the Places to grow act, is where the
initiative is to plan for growth in a way that supports economic prosperity and achieves a high
quality of life. Planning for growth would involve sustaining a robust economy, builds complete
and strong communities that use land, resources and existing infrastructure efficiently, promoting
a healthy environment and a culture of conservation. Through Places to Grow, GTA can work to
develop a regional growth plans (Ontario) that guide government investments and policies. The
Toronto Official plan to manage growth is another vital imitative for sustainable urban design.
Important to discuss (Jabareen 2006) seven design concepts for more sustainable urban
form, which includes: Compact cities, sustainable transport, higher densities, mixed land
uses, diversity, passive solar design, and greening.
1. Compactness is in essence the ability for urban contiguity (and connectivity), which
suggests that future urban development should take place adjacent to existing urban
structures (Jabareen 2006).
When the concept is applied to existing rather than new urban fabric, it refers to the
containment of further sprawl, rather than the reduction of the present sprawl (Jabareen
2006).
In the case of the Toronto sprawl has seen the downtown core expand outwards to
the suburbs, and become the GTA under Metro
However, Wheeler (2003) indicates that the GTA has been relatively good at promoting
nearby development due to policies of not extending infrastructure for more than one
concession block at a time.
Local policy makers are always in conflict with developers looking for development of
urban form
2. Sustainable Transport is defined as transportation services that reflect the full social
and environmental costs of their provision; that respect carrying capacity; and that
balance the needs for mobility and safety with the needs for access, environmental
quality, and neighbourhood livability
Downtown Toronto in 19th century was more connected, than the 20th century
problems of accessibility due to expansions in urban form.
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3. Density is a critical typology in determining sustainable urban forms. It is the
ratio of people or dwelling units to land area.
In Toronto the downtown density was easier to accommodate with subways and the grid
patterns that allowed for mixed commutes of walking, biking, transit and driving, whereas
the suburbs of the GTA face problems of scattered densities, with areas with low and high
densities resulting in issues of mobility, more emphasis on vehicles.
4. Mixed land use indicates the diversity of functional land uses such as residential,
commercial, industrial, institutional, and those related to transportation. Reducing the
need for travel is on the agenda of achieving sustainable urban form, and mixed land use
has a prominent role in achieving it. Mixed land use reduces the probability of using a car
for commuting, shopping, and leisure trips, since jobs, shops, and leisure facilities are
located nearby
5. Diversity promotes further desirable urban features, including greater variety of
housing types, building densities, household sizes, ages, cultures, and incomes
For Jacobs, diversity is vital; without it, the urban system declines as a living place and a
place to live. – This means, the use of walking, public transport, cars, mix used
In 20th century zoning is a major institutional force working against diversity of urban
form (Wheeler 2003).
Furthermore, the extensive development of homebuilding of residential housing in
suburbs in the 20th century often is another cause that prevents diversity (Wheeler (2003).
6. Passive Solar Design is central to achieving a sustainable urban form. Generally, the
idea of this design is to reduce the demand for energy and to provide the best use of
passive energy in sustainable ways through specific design measures.
In the GTA more design that is looks to reduce energy is in demand and desired, oil
is scarce and therefore the movement for solar design is important.
LEED is important to adopt, Canada has, so the GTA needs to encompass the
building standards that reduce energy and are sustainable.
7. Greening of the city, or green urbanism, appears to be an important design concept
for the sustainable urban form. Green space has the ability to contribute positively to
some key agendas in urban areas, including sustainability
The GTA plan for the golden greater horseshoe encompasses the ideas of curbing
sprawl and protecting farmland and green spaces.
In Toronto, an example by Wheeler is of Cornell, where new urbanist development
features many greenways, parks and a protected stream corridor. However, such emphasis
on environmental protection, is still in its early stages and is far from universal either
within current development projects or at a regional scale of planning.(Wheeler 2003).
The major’s problems that need to be solved is developing and implementing a consistent
vision of regional urban form. Policy makers need to address the large scale regional
designs, they need to harmonize on a multi-level more effectively.
The issues of sprawl, automobile dependences, and lack of transportation modes from
suburbs to suburbs are other major problems policy makers need to address.
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Document Summary

Both jabareen 2006 and wheeler 2003 identify urban form factors that are likely to result in sustainable cities or regions. But we know that every place has unique problems and unique experiences in solving them. Chose either jabareen or wheeler and discuss how well the current plans to manage growth in the gta conform to the sustainable urban design factors he identifies. The gta plan conforming to sustainable urban design essentially means trying to move towards transit-oriented design (tod). In particular however sustainable development as both jabareen (2006) and wheeler (2003) argue is one that looks to improve quality of life and ecological systems. Furthermore the gta is looking to plan with the places to grow act, is where the initiative is to plan for growth in a way that supports economic prosperity and achieves a high quality of life.