Making Biophilic Connections:
Creating a Green Space Network in Toronto
Alyssa Cerbu is a graduate of the Master of Planning in Urban Development program at Ryerson University, and a former research assistant at the Ecological Design Lab.
The City of Toronto is facing unprecedented population growth, placing an increased demand on existing parkland green spaces. With intensification only projected to increase and limited opportunities to develop parkland, the City must explore other complimentary methods to protect and grow access to nature. This paper will explore the possibility for other urban green spaces to provide natural connectivity between parkland and ravines through biophilic design. Biophilic design underscores the importance of daily contact with nature in order for people to have happy lives. With rapid urbanization, however, this connection is under threat. A historical overview of parks will uncover how their design norms no longer serve the needs of today’s urban populations. Then, a synthetic literature review focussed on the biophilic benefits associated with exposure to nature will show how even small green spaces deliver positive health outcomes. This research is significant for planners and designers working to prioritize access to nature and create a green space network.