Re-envisioning Sudbury’s Inno-Tech Park: 2018 OPPI Student Case Competition

Re-envisioning Sudbury’s Inno-Tech Park: 2018 OPPI Student Case Competition
This year, the OPPI Student Case Competition brought together student teams from accredited planning programs in Ontario to create a leading proposal for the Inno-Tech Park in the City of Greater Sudbury as presented by OPPI President Jason Ferrigan, RPP.
 
Students presented their site proposals to a panel of Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) including Caroline Samuel, Helen Huang, and Victoria Prouse.
 
The winning team, representing the University of Waterloo’s graduate planners, proposed a bioremediation and green infrastructure approach that would further the goals of Sudbury’s Master Plan while remaining relevant to Greater Sudbury’s economic, social, and cultural context.
 
The winning team will be attending #OPPI18 and present a workshop on the key learnings and development of their proposal. Hear from the winning team about this project and from other RPPs about preparing for a variety of uncertainties to inform choices and inspire communities across Ontario. Register today for #OPPI18 to hear this presentation and much more! 
 
Background
In 2012, the City of Greater Sudbury released its Downtown Master Plan to guide the revitalization of the City’s core over the next ten years and beyond. In order to establish a vibrant urban centre, the Downtown Master Plan is grounded in three directives:
  • Activity and growth
  • Access and connectivity
  • Beauty and pride

The Master Plan includes establishing an Inno-Tech Park, a brownfield site immediately west of the downtown core that aims to cultivate Sudbury’s innovative potential.
 
The proposal recognizes a number of opportunities and challenges, including: 
  • The City is a major regional service centre for northern Ontario
  • The area is culturally rich, acting as a hub for First Nations, Metis, and Franco-Ontarian communities
  • The mining industry has shaped the local economy and identity, resulting in a strong science and technology sector
  • A lack of connectivity both to and within the downtown
  • Changing economic and demographic landscape
  • Climate change, environmental degradation, and industrial contamination on the site

Our Proposal

Our team proposed a multi-functional urban hub blurring the lines between public, industrial, retail, and recreation spaces.
 
Sudbury has a strong relationship with its natural resource industry, but new technologies have limited job growth even as industries expand. We propose Inno-Tech Park include an incubator space for re-training labourers and engineers in order to support the transition from non-renewable extractive industries toward renewable resource innovation. This space would build on partnerships with local stakeholders, including the mining industry, Laurentian University, and the Indigenous community.
 
Inno-Tech Park could help to establish Sudbury as a leader in sustainable resource innovation by embodying the environmental, social, cultrual, and economic pillars of sustainability.
 
We proposed constructing a wetland on the site for bioremediation of industrial contamination, and bio-retention of stormwater runoff (see Figure 1). The site could demonstrate the principles of the forthcoming Provincial Low-Impact Development Guidelines, which describe best practices for sustainable stormwater management. This naturalized space would serve multiple purposes: in the summer months, the boardwalk cutting across the wetland would function as an urban park and provide green space to on-site businesses and residences. In the winter, a naturalized stormwater management pond could be converted into a skating rink to support year-round recreation.
 

Visualization of the 2018 OPPI Case Competition Team’s proposal.
Sudbury, which sits on the traditional lands of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg, has a rich Indigenous heritage. In order to honour the region’s Indigenous heritage and foster a sense of place, we proposed that the site be developed using a “two-eyed seeing” approach by partnering with community groups including the N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre, an indigenous cultural, community development, and social services centre serving the region. In addition, an immersive, living showcase of Indigenous knowledge of local flora and fauna could be featured alongside public art installations by Indigenous artists. Ultimately, we want this project to be truly collaborative, where design and decision-making about the wetland construction are shared.