The ecosystem approach and the global imperative on Toronto’s Central Waterfront
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As one of the ‘last great waterfronts’ to embrace what has become a near-ubiquitous post-fordist development model, the formerly industrial lands of Toronto’s Central Waterfront are currently being reshaped to provide the kinds of spaces and places that facilitate new modes of capital accumulation. In order to understand how Toronto’s waterfront has come to be mobilized to accommodate the imperatives of 21st-century global economic and spatial restructuring, this paper explores the area’s recent planning history, reviewing the policies and politics of waterfront planning activities undertaken over the past twenty years. A new and novel ‘ecosystem approach’ to waterfront planning was adopted in Toronto in this period that allowed its proponents to resolve historical problems that had formerly impeded new forms of waterfront development. This paper demonstrates that, in so doing, the ecosystem approach – and its use by a succession of influential waterfront planning bodies and processes – set the stage for the Central Waterfront to become a key site for the elite pursuit of world city status in Toronto.