The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to outline the major factors and social trends that are shaping the Central Ontario Zone, and second, to identify the outcomes of those trends and their implications for planning and public policy and the quality of life in the Zone. The broader objective is to demonstrate the scale and intensity of the social transformations that have swept over the Zone - and will continue to do so for some time - and to illustrate the importance of these changes for planning and governance. The results reported here, however, cannot be viewed in isolation. They must be interpreted in conjunction with ongoing research on the regional economy and the transportation system.