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Congratulations to this year’s 11 recipients and thank you to all
applicants who made a PlanON Awards submission this year.
BYLAWS FOR BIODIVERSITY:
The Bylaws for Biodiversity public education campaign aims to provide widespread knowledge, education and support for urban biodiversity. This work has centered on advocating for reform of bylaws and ordinances to enhance biodiversity through lawn naturalization and healthy yard practices. This multi-faceted research and education project is part of a growing movement across North America, with the objective of mitigating the global impacts of biodiversity and habitat loss on one’s private property, through practices of naturalization, encouraging municipal-wide environmental stewards, and through the revision of outdated, colonially-rooted weed and grass bylaws. Since 2020, countless residents from across Ontario and beyond, have reached out to our lab seeking advice. With the ongoing collaboration of community partners, our team has translated municipal planning research into a series of free downloadable public-facing resources that provide factual data, support, and answers to the frequently asked questions we most often receive from the public. Our project now includes a research report on the troublesome history of lawns, a bylaw toolkit for planners, a free downloadable FAQ document and “how to” guide to naturalizing lawn space. These resources written by our team provide public knowledge and education, supported by fact, about not only resisting outdated urban planning practices and municipal property standards and by-laws, but also best practices when speaking to other members of the community, who may not yet understand the magnitude of the social and ecological value provided by the naturalized garden on one’s private property.
OPPI Team Members:
The OMAFRA sponsored research explored best practices related to on-farm diversification policy design and implementation at provincial, municipal, and individual farm levels. This research made many recommendations related to policy change and implementation process. The dissertation identifies how on-farm diversification impacts the family farm and how Ontario land use planning policies can balance agriculture and family farm resilience. This research took on a more theoretical review of agricultural resilience literature, On-Farm Diversified Use (OFDU) examples and land use policy to connect a balanced approach to economic development and agricultural land preservation. This research is the first to provide in-depth review of OFDU policy and identifies recommendations and best practices. Municipalities have evidence to design and implement policies/initiatives supportive of OFDUs, to achieve a balance between farmland preservation and agricultural viability. This includes municipal councils, planning departments, economic development, and various committees. The information and best practices in this research are shared across the Province to lead to consistent interpretation and application of provincial policy. The provincial government has access to a thoughtful evaluation of existing policies on OFDUs to provide insight into the success of the Guidelines and assist with PPS reviews. Research identifies ways the planning profession can devote efforts to training/supporting RPPs in interpreting, designing, and implementing policy supportive of OFDUs that is consistent across Ontario.
PLANNING DEMENTIA - INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES:
Contrary to popular belief, over 2/3 of people living with dementia (PLWD) live in community in Canada, yet there is limited research on how land use and design impacts their ability to access their neighbourhoods, with none done in Canada before this project. PLWD deserve to access their neighbourhoods, like anyone else, so this project investigated how PLWD experience their suburban neighbourhoods. The project sought to answer two questions: 1) What are the barriers and facilitators to accessing their neighbourhoods for PLWD? and 2) What can planners do to make the ubiquitous open house public engagement tool more accessible to PLWD? The research included 7 PLWD in suburban Waterloo Region, and used innovative methods to address the RQs, like narrative interviews, multiple go-along interviews with photos, two-week GPS tracking and travel diaries (to address Q1), and participant observation at public open house meetings and post-experience interviews (to address Q2). I address two core ways of working towards justice in planning– through outcomes and processes. OUTCOMES: Biglieri & Dean (2022) examined barriers and facilitators to mobility for PLWD in terms of land use, urban design and wayfinding. With my background as a landuse planning consultant, I created a list of built environment features to help planners to think about how suburban areas can be familiar/comforting to PLWD, but also a scary place that forces people to remain in a particular area, or indoors. PROCESS: Biglieri (2021) examined adapting the public open house to be more accessible to PLWD, providing easy-to-implement, low cost recommendations for planners in communication, selection of interior spaces/lighting/sound/layouts, presentation of info and feedback mechanisms. I question planning theory, that grand ideas about inclusion are not enough – we have to conduct on the ground, microscale studies to see what barriers exist for people with disabilities during public engagement
OPPI Team Members:
The Master Concept Plan sets in motion the transformation of a 29-ha brownfield site into a complete community. The plan will achieve carbon neutral, affordable housing, and active mobility to create a dynamic new neighbourhood. Designed as a model community, the project has implementation targets to ensure the creation of public benefits (parks and public realm, community amenities and local economic benefits). The MCP has 7 guiding principles and organized by 4 districts to bring capital, destination and civic experiences to life. The vision is a thriving cultural hub and diverse community grounded in a sense of history and place. The MCP is structured by 7 strategies: Parks & Public Realm, Mobility, Land Use, Built Form, Sustainability, Culture and Heritage, Housing. It provides for flexible development targets to guide long-term development and achieve an appropriate mix of land uses: 12.5 ha of parks/open spaces; 520,000 sq.m. of GFA; 4,000 units; 7,500 residents; and 3,750 jobs. The redevelopment of LeBreton offers a model for the future of downtowns that addresses challenges of climate change, equity, affordability, and health. The Plan outlines policies and targets to create a transit-oriented, mixed-use that sets a new bar for sustainable, inclusive, active-mobility oriented development. More than 40% of the area is dedicated to parks and public realm. As a carbon neutral neighbourhood, all buildings will certify to CaGBC Zero Carbon Building Standard and energy demand will be met through district energy. The project is committed to the delivery of at least 25% affordable housing and 15% of overall units be family-sized. The housing targets have been put into municipal policy, thus when sites within LeBreton are going through municipal development, they will be required to meet these policies. The MCP will follow best practices, innovation in sustainable development, and use social procurement to implement benefits to the community and local economy.
OPPI Team Members:
TOWN OF KINGSVILLE TEMPORARY FARM WORKER HOUSING STUDY:
The Town of Kingsville has the one of the highest concentrations of commercial greenhouses in the world. Every year thousands of temporary foreign workers travel to the area for seasonal employment in these greenhouses. Workers require housing, which for Kingsville, has been provided both on-site, and off-site. WSP worked with the Town in 2021 and 2022 to undertake a review of land use planning policies related to temporary farm worker (TFW) housing within Kingsville. The primary question our team was asked to consider was whether worker housing should be located solely on-farm, or also permitted off-farm in the rural area and in the Town’s urban area. This study was at the intersection of several major planning issues, not just in Ontario but in the rest of Canada, the United States, and many countries around the world. As the impacts of climate change worsen, food supply chains will be threatened and local agriculture will become more and more important. The already vibrant greenhouse industry in Essex County is likely to experience rapid growth, and the need for temporary workers will increase, requiring thoughtful guidance to ensure workers are provided with safe and clean housing, treated equitably, while considering the housing supply for the Town’s permanent residents. Furthermore, our team explored, through our engagement with workers’ reps and our research, how the Town’s planning policies can be leveraged to improve connection and inclusion of temporary workers within the Kingsville community.
OPPI Team Members: