Yep, that’s what Toronto’s new Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, believes. Keesmaat has written an article in the Globe and Mail outlining her (kinda great) planning philosophy and her (also awesome) vision for Toronto.
Keesmaat says some pretty cool stuff – the importance of creating affordable, quality housing next to excellent public transit, investing in public buildings and outdoor spaces, planning for the long term sustainably. All of this (and more), she says, will help make cities healthy, vibrant places for people to learn, visit and raise their families.
But what I also think is so cool about her article is that she writes about turning away from ideology and referring to evidence and research in decision making about planning. Specifically, she cites the ‘Live Where You Go’ Report which tells us that more and more people want give up a large house and yard and a long car commute in the suburbs in favour of homes that are a convenient distance from workplaces, amenities and rapid transit.
She’s also critical of Canada as being the only country in the G8 without a national transit strategy (yikes!).
Her message bodes well for our little pocket of Toronto. Who else has access to so much public transit (including a subway line, a streetcar line, a bus system and a GO station) great, walkable amenities, fantastic schools and awesome parks including a tributary to a major river (that would be Taylor Massey Creek) which is a gateway to an unfolding parks system running throughout the City?
Ultimately, she says it all way better than I do. Check it out here.