In September 2013, a group of Ryerson graduate planning students were assigned the task of creating a landscape infrastructural connectivity plan for the City of Toronto. The project, titled ‘XING: Landscape + Infrastructure – Connectivity in Toronto’s Ravine System’, builds on a master planning and design project being undertaken by Evergreen Brick Works, Arc Solutions, The City of Toronto, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) that focuses on developing landscape infrastructural design solutions for long-term sustainability and resiliency.

Through a mapped study and concept plan, the project accomplishes the following:
1. Provides an understanding of the inter-related needs for landscape connectivity from ecological and social-cultural perspectives (i.e. urban and natural, human and wildlife needs for mobility, urban resilience and sustainable infrastructure);
2. Assesses and analyzes the the opportunities and constraints to “blue” and “green” infrastructures that collide, intersect, diverge and converge in the ravines; and
3. Proposes a series of designed connections in the ravine systems as key locations, and at various scales in cost, time and scope.

This manual provides a bird’s eye view of the landscape infrastructure of the ravine system, and examines where and how connections can be made between and within the Humber, Don and Rouge watersheds. It is intended to provide ideas for improving connections for both humans and wildlife to ensure the ecological functions of the city’s green spaces and natural systems are adequately supported. Presented within this manual are some approaches and design principles that can be used to revitalize the connections to the ravines, and to restore and protect the city’s important valley lands and river corridors, within the context of urban resilience.

The ideas outlined in this manual stem from a growing body of knowledge around road ecology, which is the study of how roads and the natural environment interact. More specifically, road ecologists explore how roads act as barriers that inhibit the movement of wildlife, and they examine the ways in which the planning and design of roadways can compliment the surrounding landscape (Tepper, 2011).

This manual is intended for use by the general public, city planners, decision makers, environmentalists, and anyone else interested in creating a more resilient and connected city.

The final report can be viewed here: XING: Landscape + Architecture.

For more studio projects conducted for Evergreen, click here.

Students: Aaron Cameron, Emily Osborn, Jennifer Roth, Jenny Kluke, Kristen Flood, Lauren Sauve, Megan Ketchabaw, Michael Chung