April 28 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Lindsay Vanstone in Toronto

After these short six months, I now look at my hometown of Toronto with a new perspective and have come to appreciate this city even more than before.

Lindsay Vanstone looking out from the CN Tower, Toronto

I applied for this internship with The Grid after spending a summer studying urban planning. My goals were to get out of my comfort zone within the city by attending events, engaging in city meetings, and exploring new areas, and to clarify my own thoughts about some of the topics that buzz around the city. Most of all, I wanted to share what I know and have learned about Toronto with The Grid’s readers.

The first event I attended as a blogger was the Canadian Brownfields Conference. This experience taught me the importance of soil remediation and opportunities for infill in cities large and small. The conference enhanced my interest in development and community connectedness and shaped the themes of my posts.

Toronto is a rapidly growing city, with many projects underway aiming to address the influx of people and the needs of the city. Condominium towers are being built downtown, Union Station is being renovated to properly accommodate the 200,000 daily passengers, and the upcoming Pan Am Games have spurred development in previously abandoned lands.

Lindsay Vanstone and Toronto, Canada

With these changes come discussions on how to shape the city’s future. BeautifulCity.ca has changed the conversation about arts in Toronto for the better, and the Toronto Design Offsite Festival has connected local designers with the community.

The chief city planner is working to engage the city, but civic participation among youth remains low, and our policies still lag behind some of her visions for Toronto. Even the well-intentioned project to revitalize Regent Park might not be creating the social cohesion as hoped.

Despite these growing pains, events like the Distillery District Christmas Market, destinations like the Outdoor Covered Skating Rink, and the trees and parks that weave through the city, make Toronto a fantastic city to explore at any time of the year.

I want to thank Erica and Debra for their superb editorial feedback and ensuring the publication process ran smoothly, and Renee for giving me this great opportunity to write for The Grid and give readers a taste of urban planning and the community in Toronto.

Credits: Photograph by Stephen Pettigrew. Data linked to sources.

Lindsay Vanstone

Lindsay graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare ethics. Her interest in the link between health and the built environment led her to take electives in urban studies. Last summer she tested this interest in urban planning at the Career Discovery program at Harvard University. She engaged deeply with the design and planning problems she studied, particularly community and economic development, and placemaking, and is now looking to attend graduate school in planning. Lindsay will be blogging about how Toronto is responding to the changing demands of its ever increasing and diversifying population and trying to create a healthier and more livable city and region.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 9:51 am and is filed under Lindsay Vanstone, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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