Environmental Assessment and Urban Design Study
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Gardiner Expressway is an aging piece of elevated highway infrastructure that separates much of the City of Toronto from its waterfront. The redevelopment of the waterfront and the deterioration of the expressway have raised the question of what to do with the highway. The Environmental Assessment and Integrated Urban Design Study for the Future of the Gardiner Expressway evaluates alternatives for maintaining, replacing or removing a 1.5-mile section of the highway. Our team is studying the three alternatives for urban design issues of connecting Downtown Toronto with its waterfront; understanding development potential with and without the freeway to help estimate resulting land value creation; and also developing opportunities for a welcoming and vibrant public realm experience. The urban design study has been critical in helping evaluate each of the alternatives and informing the discussions among the multi-disciplinary consultant team members, the public and the decision-makers.
This segment of the expressway passes through three future mixed-use precincts. The area is one of the largest redevelopment sites in North America, and the study's integration of urban design with infrastructure planning is the first of its kind in Canada. This unique, integrated approach is intended to ensure that urban design objectives remain at the center of the technical analysis and that a new urban environment characterized by design excellence results from this effort.