What Can Scarborough Learn from Mississauga about Urban Development?
In the early 1970s, Mississauga and Scarborough were much alike. But today, the contrast is striking: Mississauga has grown, while Scarborough has lagged behind. What has made these two places so different, and how can we bring some of Mississauga’s dynamism to Scarborough? In August, SCRO volunteers met with staff from the City of Mississauga’s Planning and Building Department to find out.
The informal discussion, plus a walk around the Mississauga Civic Centre, focused on what Mississauga did to create a vibrant home to nearly 800,000 people that’s filled with shops, educational and municipal institutions, offices, and open spaces.
Urban growth is a complex issue. Paul Stewart, a planner with Mississauga’s Policy Planning Division, explained how reaching out to residents, businesses and other stakeholders is a key part of effective planning. This helps identify how a wide range of people would like to use an area for life, work, and play.
Strategic plans “set the table” for future development, noted Stewart. Then come a series of in-depth plans that focus on details for specific projects, such as public access, open space, design, and regulations. The result is a hierarchy of development activity linked back to the original objectives of all stakeholders.
Mississauga’s strategic plan considers five key concepts to make the city a “place where people choose to be.” Ibrahim Dia, Researcher for Mississauga’s Downtown Strategic Plan summarized them:
- Move – Developing a transit-oriented city
- Belong – Ensuring that youth, older adults and new immigrants thrive
- Connect – Completing our neighbourhoods by making municipal services widely available
- Prosper – Cultivating creative and innovative businesses
- Green – Becoming a leader in environmental initiatives.
How can we make Scarborough’s development more dynamic? SCRO’s Economic Development Committee wants your input – email Mimi Lau at email@example.com to share your ideas.