The last decades have been characterized by rapid urbanization on a global scale and the depopulation of rural communities and smaller urban centres to newly forming mega-regions, superclusters and urban-economic corridors. Simultaneously, advances in information and communication technology and ‘digital disruption’ have resulted in evolving spatial patterns that blur political boundaries, foster socio-economic exchange and transform the territories in which we live.
Continuous communities consist of both digital and physical corridors that facilitate the movement of information, people, goods and resources. These corridors are formed by major regional and global infrastructure, population density, resource networks, strategic growth policy and governance structures as well as economic activity, social and cultural relationships, and shared goals/values.
In 2017-18, students, faculty and staff at the IwB will examine the evolution of continuous communities within the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and conduct a broader environmental scan of continuous communities and corridors around the globe. Through interdisciplinary design research students will develop a holistic understanding of the characteristics, systems and qualities that define these communities and their social, economic and environmental impact.
The Continuous Communities project will address questions like: what is a continuous community?; how are continuous communities governed?; what services and systems are needed to support these communities?; and how can we leverage continuous communities to foster social, economic and environmental sustainability?
The project will focus on a human-centred analysis and use the themes of education, employment, mobility, food and agriculture, health care, shelter and housing and public service to better understand how continuous communities are shaping the way we live.
What Continuous Communities exist in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region? How will these communities impact the future of the GGH?
The investigation of Continuous Communities needs to focus on human-centred experiences.
Project Context & Year Ahead
Continuous Communities is the fifth year of a five-year research trajectory set by the IwB to explore Regional Ecologies, an approach that emphasizes the study of the regional scale of cities and their surrounding areas.
The Regional Ecologies Project is a research approach that zeros in on five different city-region types: gateway cities, divided places, interstitial zones, symbiotic regions and continuous communities. Importantly, these categories are not exclusive; they are research themes from which the Institute is building a greater understanding of Regional Ecologies.
In 2013-14, the IwB worked with the theme of Gateway Cities, looking at three case study cities that serve as gateways to their respective regions–Toronto, New York City, and Chicago. The 2014-15, Connecting Divided Places project, investigated the social, economic, environmental, and cultural divisions in Chicago, Eastpointe (Detroit), and Toronto. In 2015-16, the IwB shifted gears and looked at a small region in southwestern Ireland called County Kerry. Defining County Kerry as an ‘Interstitial Zone’, a place ‘in-between’ that has potential to be a future area of influence and vitality, the IwB students looked at ways to promote sustainable economic development in the region. For the 2016-17 Symbiotic Regions project, the IwB is conducting a project with Waterfront Toronto and looking at the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront into a regional hub.
Stay tuned for more about Continuous Communities!
During the first week of classes, the IwB students will participate in an orientation session during which they will meet the major project partner(s). Typically, the session is held at the IwB studio, where students and the project partner have the chance to share ideas about the aims of the project.
In October 2017, IwB students, staff, and faculty will conduct their first charrette of the year addressing themes they themselves identify through their research. The charrette will provide students with research opportunities such as interviews, workshops, observation, and other fieldwork experience. Typically students from other academic institutions are invited to participate in the fall charrette.
The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) showcases independent design in Toronto and runs during Toronto’s Design Week. The festival takes place throughout Toronto’s different art and design venues, as well as at the sites of individual organizations.
Since 2013, the IwB students, faculty and staff have participated in the TO DO Festival, principally hosting exhibitions at the School of Design Gallery space, at 230 Richmond Street East. In February 2018, the IwB students will propose and execute a special exhibition about their project for TO DO 2017.
To find out more about past IwB TO DO exhibits see the TO DO Festival page.
The Toronto International Charrette is an annual IwB event that brings together 200 plus students, faculty and industry experts from organizations around the world. The goals of this charrette will be for participants to design detailed project proposals that respond to the major themes of the Symbiotic Regions project.
For three weeks in April 2018, the IwB students will participate in individualized work placements. Students will work with organizations and companies that reflect their interests and strengths as identified during the first semester.
The IwB has a wide network of past project partners with whom students can seek work placement, but they are also encouraged to branch out and work with organizations outside the IwB network.
In April 2018, the students will plan and execute parts of their research findings as a process exhibit during the GBC School of Design Year End Show (YES). The exhibition will give students the opportunity to showcase their findings with a large audience including other GBC students and their families as well as industry experts.
The Dean’s Charrettes are a spring semester academic course open to students across the Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology (CADIT), completed within a two-week period.
The focus and themes of the 2017 Dean’s Charrettes will be developed from the IDS major project as well as the Special Projects conducted by CADIT during the 2017-18 academic year.
For the Dean’s Charrettes, the IwB students will work with faculty and students from different George Brown College programs, they will also have the opportunity to take on leadership roles and practice interdisciplinary collaboration, while working on industry projects in an intensive studio environment.
The IDS students will produce a detailed plan for the project partner that will build on and incorporate the work of the year, including charrette results, Module projects and Major Project course outcomes. The IwB students will present a detailed proposal to the project partner representatives.
IwB staff and faculty 2017-18
Continuous Communities, Toronto, Greater Golden Horseshoe, GGH, Greater Toronto Area, GTA, connection, municipal planning, regional development