The Lower Don Lands proposal is the product of an international invited design competition whose purpose was to re-imagine a 300-acre waterfront parcel characterized by a tangle of transportation infrastructure, a channelized and deadened river, and large territories of under utilized brownfields and former industrial port lands. The project addresses two important goals: to provide an iconic identity for the Don River that takes into consideration key flood protection and habitat restoration requirements of the river mouth; and to establish a comprehensive urban design framework that integrates new development, bold and imageable transportation infrastructures, dynamic new open spaces, and robust, multimodal circulation networks.
The proposal begins with the ecology and hydrology of the river, manifest in a series of soft infrastructures that spawn a recolonization of the expanded river mouth. This landscape infrastructure is then threaded through the dense but porous urban fabric, giving rise to new types of civic spaces fully integrated with the workings of the larger reconstituted environment. Existing infrastructures are re-tooled, fragments from the site’s industrial past are given new life. This is the new green city, in both image and in performance: a sustainable metropolitan district with unique, dynamic, engaging, world-class neighborhoods and open spaces.