While Transformations 2014 does not as yet have a full conference schedule available (there are too many great events in the pipepline that haven't been confirmed!), we want to give you students a taste of just some of the great programming that will be happening from February 6-8, 2014. This doesn't represent a full list, just some highlights. Keep in mind, too, that several of these events have limited space, so check back often to secure your space for your favourite events!

For the Preservationists and Adaptive Reuse Wonks

steamwhistlebrewerySteamwhistle Brewery Tour

The Steamwhistle Brewery is a great example of how old industrial buildings, in this case an old railcar repair hub, can be transformed into thriving places of business and great tourist destinations, all while preserving the embodied history of their siting and architecture.

The Good Beer Folks would like to welcome you and your friends to come by the brewery for a tour and taste. Learn how Canada's Premium Pilsner is made, meet our friendly staff and enjoy a sample of our beer. You'll learn why Steam Whistle was designated one of Toronto's "green buildings" and about our railway history. Our tours will educate and entertain!


For Visionaries, Big Idea Folks, and City Builders


Transformations: Do They Drive Us or Do We Drive Them?

Join Kevin Stolarick as he unpacks the changes in the economics of the world's great cities and explores challenging questions about innovation, creativity, and their impacts on urban life.

The transition from an industrial economy to something "post-industrial" has been well-documented and discussed.  However, knowing the economy is "post-industrial" is about as useful as asking someone the time and being told "well, it's after 4:30am".  Conceptualizing the current situation as a "knowledge" or "creative" economy offers some clarity, but each is imbedded with its own challenges.   What are the transformations that have already taken place?  Which ones are still on-going?  What is just now emerging?  How do these ideas relate to each other and what does actual data reveal about these changes?   The world has been best characterized as being "spiky" instead of "flat".  Is that also true of these significant transformations?  Are they "spiky"?  How is that unevenness translated at the individual, household, neighbourhood, city, regional, or national level?   Have we become "hoisted by our own petard"?  Are we driving these transformations?  Or, are they driving us?



City Building: A New Convergence

Ken Greenberg delivers a thought-provoking and engaging keynote presentation on the transformations underway in our cities and how city builders are melding placemaking with citybuilding.

We are living through one of the most remarkable transformations in urban history as 21st cities worldwide are redefining themselves. At the core of this transformation is an increased focus on the concept of place and the quality of the public realm. New more dynamic models for city building are emerging that that stress mix, overlap, shared space and flexibility and integrating 'concepts' at the intersection of economy, community, and environment identified by Jane Jacobs and others. This more 'ecological' understanding of connectedness favors solutions that bring together many kinds of skills and knowledge, challenging disciplinary silos and generating new practices and tools. Cities at their best provide much of what we seek in a place to call home: community, places of culture and business that we can walk to, mass transit and a wealth of amenities that couldn't be supported without a city's density. The mid-century drive to suburbanization deprived us of these inherent advantages of urban living. The realization of this loss, in tandem with pressing recent concerns about energy scarcity and global warming, has made us see cities with fresh eyes and a growing understanding that they can provide us with an unparalleled measure of sustainability. This talk will focus on the broad outlines of that powerful transformation underway.


olrOttawa's Transportation Transformation Initiative

Ottawa's Chief Planner, John Moser will explore the changes to his city's transit system, brining light rail vehicles to thousands of citizens.

Ottawa has long been referred to as “Government Town” or “The Town that Fun Forgot,” but the city is now approaching the threshold population of one million and is positioning itself on the world stage as a first class, cosmopolitan city. This session will provide an overview of Ottawa’s largest ever infrastructure project – the construction of the Confederation Line LRT service – and the aspirations that residents, City planners, and Members of Council have for this project’s imprint on the urban fabric.


3994445484 e55a272a18Imagine and Engage: The Keys to Transformative Planning Practices

Political engagement in cities is at an all-time low, but the passionate public discourse about visions for the places we live is louder than ever. What disconnect is hindering these conversations from translating ideas into reality?

Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner for the City of Toronto and Michael Gordon, President of CIP-ICU and senior planner for Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, will speak about their experiences shifting public discourse through capacity building, and the underlying factors that lead to the tipping point required to achieve a lasting impact. Belief, understanding, and engagement must come together to empower communities to move forward positive change.

The City of Toronto's Planning Division as well as the City of Vancouver Planning Department are embarking on a new trajectory aimed at fostering these underlying factors by connecting with its citizens at a deeper, more substantive level. Jennifer and Michael will challenge each of you to commit to planning practices that are transformative for our communities, places and environments. They will suggest that these practices involve such values as equity and being respectful of our planet, our histories and the places we love. They will urge you to care deeply about the communities and places we call home.


Portland Transit Mall with cyclists crossingTransit Urbanism: Transforming the City Through Transit

Increasingly, cities are investing in transit as a means to transform their communities and deliver on a number of city- building objectives.  Conventional transit goals are expanding to address the promise of liveable communities and environmental improvement, of economic and social development, as well as quality living and public health. This represents a paradigm shift, which I describe as “transit urbanism”. This more rounded vision is fuelled by a growing number of success stories, often in cities that we consider lofty vacation destinations: Lyon, Copenhagen, Melbourne, NY, and so on.  And now, a number of unsuspecting Canadian cities have recognized the potential and are taking the initiative: Mississauga, Edmonton, Calgary, Hamilton, and others. Will they get it right? Can they truly deliver? The answer to these questions will depend on the extent of the commitment and vision of each city. Ultimately, transit investment only makes sense when coupled with a comprehensive strategy for directing growth and urban structure – and a public realm that supports walking, active transportation, and transit use. The presentation will employ evidence-based analysis and national case studies to illustrate a rational for a renewed approach to delivering transit facilities – one that is geared to address and leverage aspects of quality of life, economic development, and public health. Antonio Gomez-Palacio is an award-winning planner and urban designer with ample experience delivering and integrating transit projects within a larger city vision and has lead public revitalization projects for some of Canada’s major cities and institutions. In the last few years, Antonio has worked on a number of LRT corridors, and is currently helping the City of Toronto undertake the public campaign to consult and create awareness on funding tools for transportation projects. Antonio is a founding partner of DIALOG and formerly of Office for Urbanism. He has acted as the Chair of the Toronto Society of Architects, as well as a juror, guest critic, and lecturer for national and international institutions.


For Placemakers and Space Animators


Waterfront Toronto Walking Tour

Revitalizing Toronto's waterfront is the largest urban renewal project currently underway in North America and one of the world's largest waterfront revitalization initiatives. Waterfront Toronto is a tri-government funded corporation with a 25-year mandate to transform 800 hectares of waterfront brownfield lands into Toronto's New Blue Edge - beautiful, accessible, sustainable mixed-use communities and dynamic public spaces.

The tour will be led by Brenda Webster, Manager of Planning and Design at Waterfront Toronto whois a Professional Project Manager with a Master's Degree in Architecture. Mrs. Webster has been responsible for leading the planning and design of the 300 acre Lower Don Lands since 2008. While Ms.Webster talks about the different planning and design challenges with certain project areas, including the flood protection landform, you will be taken to some of the most talked about and innovative parks and public spaces built by Waterfront Toronto and the first new communities currently being constructed, including the West Don Lands, home of the 2015 Pan Am Games Athletes' Village.

Please meet at Waterfront Toronto offices, 20 Bay Street, Suite 1310 (south of Union Station) for a brief presentation. The tour will end in the West Don Lands, a 15 minute walk to the Distillery District. To return to Union Station, walk north to King Street East and take the 504 King Streetcar west until Bay Street. Walk south on Bay Street to Union Station.




Regent Park Revitilization: The Journey So Far...

This tour will be led by Dr. Mitch Kosny of Ryerson University and will explore one of Toronto's most ambitious and renowned revitilization projects. NOTE: Tours will being at Ryerson University (South Bond Building Room 312) followed by a streetcar ride to Regent Park, so please bring some change or TTC tokens to faciltate the journey's speed and efficiency.

Regent Park is one of the oldest social housing communities in Canada. Prior to its initial construction in 1948, city officials considered the area a slum. The development of Regent Park was intended to replace this area of run-down, overcrowded, squalid dwellings on the fringes of Toronto's downtown with a modern, car free spacious and pleasant environment inspired by Ebenezer Howard's Garden City movement from the United Kingdom.

After fifty years, Regent Park was Regent Park was rapidly deteriorating and its buildings urgently needed repair and upgrading. Most planners recognized the original design was obsolete, and created significant challenges in mainting a safe and healthy community. On February 13, 2006 Toronto Community Housing Corporation - Canada's largest landlord - began the revitilization of Regent Park with the demolition of the first building at the corner of Parliament and Dundas Streets. It is now seven years into the process. This tour will walk through Regent Park and discuss the lessons learned.



York University Campus Redevelopment Walking Tour

The tour will be led by Chris Wong, Director of Transportation and Master Planning with the York University Development Corporation and Donna Hinde, Partner at The Planning Partnership.

York University’s Keele Campus has entered its second fifty years and is poised to be transformed into a true “Campus in the City” following completion of the Toronto Yonge-Spadina subway expansion in late 2016. Preparing to guide growth, both within the academic core and in the surrounding edge precincts, has been under way for the last decade with a new secondary plan and master plans for the University’s lands. The tour will profile recent and current developments including The Village at York, Rexall Tennis Canada, the Ontario Archives, the 2015 Pan American Games Athletics stadium, and future subway stations, as well York’s edge precinct lands that are destined for future mixed use neighbourhoods. Following the tour, Chris and Donna will provide a presentation describing the established planning framework, as well as the current community engagement process aimed at confirming desired principles and associated framework for development of the future edge neighbourhoods.



For the Designers and DIY-ers


Toronto boutique urban design firm, DISTL, will be hosting a unique and participatory design charette that will challenge delegates to envision innovative transformations in three different sites across Canada. If you're the kind of person who loves hands-on learning and dynamic collaborative practices, you'll have to make sure to check out this event. Oh, yeah, DISTL will also be hosting a special event later in the conference. We can't give you any details (because it's a secret), but the image below might give you a hint:

DISTL Social


Photos courtesy of  HazPhotos, Reflective Moments PhotographyericveryOttawa Light Rail, Francisco DiezChrisTylerTO, Steve Morgansssteve.oCity of Toronto, and DISTL.

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