Planning for Intensifying Suburbs: Analyzing Markham and Vaughan
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In the North American context suburbs are where the majority of the population resides, as they attract families of all types, provide a variety of housing typologies as well as play critical roles in the economy and fixation of local governments. Though this development trend has been in strong demand for years, cities have become increasingly aware of the negative costs associated with sprawl, which has lead the government of Ontario to adopt smart growth principles. Since this time the government has made significant steps in order to curb sprawl, through the Places to Grow Act as well as the Greenbelt Act, where large masses of land and protected and growth is designated to certain highlighted growth centres. Both Markham Centre as well as the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre are part of Ontario’s growth centres as outlined in the Places to Grow Act. Analyzing literature on suburban intensification as well as plans and policies which have lead to the development of Markham Centre, this paper attempts to answer what the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will become. The City of Vaughan is primarily a place of low density while also being automobile reliant, therefore the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre represents something completely different than the current landscape and does not belong to an existing area or neighbourhood. Using literature on suburban intensification as well as Markham Centre as an example of having good planning principles, the specific question put toward the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre in this Major Paper will ask if Vaughan’s downtown can be regarded as suitable and appropriate growth?