The Growth Plan can support the prosperity of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Regional structure, urban form, planning and providing for the right kinds of economic activity, and the quality and characteristics of the urban environment all contribute to the competitiveness of GGH firms. At the same time, grounding the Plan in an understanding of economic change is central to achieving key planning objectives, such as a transit-supportive urban form, efficient infrastructure, and complete communities.
The current Co-ordinated Review offers an opportunity to create a plan for the GGH that makes the most of our investments, and is anticipatory, flexible, focused, and based on an understanding of the dynamics of economic change in the region.
For example, there is an opportunity to think of “employment” in relation to regional planning in a new way – not just as something to be “accommodated” by providing a supply of land, but also in terms of its economic development potential and its role in shaping the urban environment and supporting transit investments.
There are challenges. Dealing with the ongoing uncertainty and volatility of a regional economy that is increasingly globally integrated is one. There is also a tension between the economic need for responsiveness and flexibility, and traditional planning approaches, which tend to be rigid and static. Some types of economic activities, such as distribution centres, do not align well with conventional planning objectives, and need to be strategically addressed. And of course, there is the need to plan appropriately for areas of the region negatively impacted by restructuring.
THERE ARE MANY NATURAL SYNERGIES BETWEEN ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING AND COMPETITIVENESS ON THE ONE HAND, AND THE GROWTH PLAN AND CITYBUILDING ON THE OTHER.
But the good news is that there are many natural synergies between economic restructuring and competitiveness, on one hand, and the Growth Plan and city-building on the other. Proximity, concentration, diversity, interaction, accessibility, efficiency, and the quality of the urban environment – these elements are at the heart of the evolving economy. With the right policy approach, these synergies can be exploited to support a livable, sustainable, economically dynamic region.