Contextualizing the Growth Plan: The Intersection of Regional Growth Management Planning and Smart Growth in a Suburban Region
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The paper explores how regional growth management planning legislation and policies are rolled out on the ground at different levels of government in Ontario using the Region of Peel as a scenario. Further examined are the challenges associated with suburban sprawl and Ontario’s response to addressing these challenges through the concept of smart growth to create complete communities, which became the underlying ideology of Ontario’s first regional growth management policy framework The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006. A review of Ontario’s top-down planning system is undertaken to understand how municipalities make planning decisions to address the location and density of growth from the Province down to municipalities. The Region of Peel is reviewed along with the Official Plans of its lower-tier municipalities as a means of examining how upper-tier municipalities assist in coordinating growth amongst their lower-tier municipalities. Through first person interviews and secondary research, it uncovered that the Region of Peel has a limited role in the development process. My review indicated two potential explanations for the Region’s limited role in the development review process which has affected its ability to enforce characteristics of complete communities in new developments. To help facilitate and encourage the development of complete communities through the development process, the Region of Peel implemented the Healthy Development Assessment (HDA) which provides recommendations during the development application process to create developments that are pedestrian-friendly, transit-supportive and have a mix of uses.
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