As cities around the world recover from the impacts of the pandemic, there is a unique opportunity to tap into innovative forms of city-building that put social purpose at the centre of the rebuilding effort. In Toronto, there is an emerging movement towards creative mixed-use buildings that deliver significant affordable housing among other critical social infrastructures.
Creative mixed-use buildings bring together public, private, and non-profit uses in novel ways, co-locating unexpected partners in the same facility. In Toronto there are over 50 creative mixed-use buildings that have been developed since the 1970s. Examples include schools, theatres and homeless shelters developed with condominiums up above; student housing built on top of a community recreation centre, affordable housing built on top of non-profit spaces that provide social services, and schools, libraries, childcare and recreation centres co-located in community hubs. While not widely known, creative mixed-use buildings produce immense community benefit out of the rapid development taking place in cities.
This exhibition celebrates Toronto as a leader in the implementation of creative mixed-use buildings - an approach that is increasingly becoming more formalized in planning practice. We have curated eight diverse examples that show the importance they’ve played in shaping the vitality of communities and their significance moving forward. These projects are so much more than bricks and mortar buildings. They emerge out of long, complex and sometimes contentious planning processes, where deep meaningful collaboration is critical to realizing outcomes that are better than any one party could achieve on their own.
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