Planning For Nature In The City: A Temporal Analysis Of Landscape Change At The Mouth Of The Don River In Toronto, Canada
Nichol, Edward Paul
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This paper critically examines the relationship between nature and the city at the mouth of the Don River in Toronto, Canada, through current and historical waterfront planning analysis at the site. An investigation of the patterns and processes restricting responsible planning of natural systems and the resulting changes to the landscape is central to this analysis, from the infilling of marshland in Ashbridge's Bay at the beginning of the 20th century, to the proposed Don Mouth Naturalization Plan (DMNP) currently in development. While historical accounts of Toronto's waterfront detail the river mouth's alteration over time, omitted from the literature is an analysis that encapsulates how the current naturalization efforts align with trends of the site's history, and what this infers about the value and management of natural systems as part of a modern-day urban waterfront. In a comparison of different time scales, this paper reflects on anthropogenic alteration at the river mouth and discusses how natural systems at the site are particularly influenced by interrelated factors of competition and economic prosperity, governance, stakeholder priorities, environmental threats, and port "functionality". The methodology used to complete this analysis consists of a literature review of urban and landscape ecology theory, an evaluation of waterfront planning history at the site, and ethnographic interviews to link historical narratives together in the context of urban-natural systems. This research reflects the realities associated with implementing naturalization within a functional urban landscape, with implications for other waterfront cities experiencing similar transitions as post-industrial landscapes.