In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the relationship between health and the urban environment.  A broad body of research has emerged in both planning and preventative health disciplines, demonstrating a strong correlation between physical activity levels and key built environmental elements. This means that we now know that neighbourhoods with high residential densities, a diverse mix of land uses, and a high degree of physical connectivity are home to residents who are relatively more likely to walk and cycle. As a result of their built environment, these more physically active residents have statistically lower incidences of obesity and chronic diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles which are leading causes of premature death in Canada.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022

Architect:  Jennifer Zatser

his project took the planning-health relationship one step further. Through extensive consultation with current complex care residents and a broad array of stakeholders ranging from high school students and seniors to urban farmers and clinical health specialists, an overarching vision of “whole health” was developed for the future of the neighbourhood. During the design process for the neighbourhood plan the following five elements were implemented as guides:

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FLOW – water as amenity, therapy, and ecological asset

ACCESS – a connected and multi-modal community

GROW – productive spaces for growth of food and sense of community

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THRIVE – integrated, diverse services for an integrated, diverse community

HARMONIZE – a healing landscape with spaces that are sensual and enriching

Focusing on Implementation + Financial Sustainability: The early stages of implementation are already underway. The culmination of the engagement and neighbourhood concept planning was a Policy Statement unanimously adopted by City Council. A large parcel has been retained by the client/owner for rezoning and redevelopment, and the rest of the site has been sold for similar rezoning and redevelopment.

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Further throughout the process, land economics and real estate professionals were engaged as part of the core project team to develop a business case and ensure ideas put forth were feasible. The treatment and care side of the story here is often a financial one, and stretches far beyond the site’s boundaries. It comprises one of the most interesting and innovative aspects of the neighbourhood plan and redevelopment. The client/owner is strategically leveraging the value of the redevelopment to create a financial endowment for the broader health region, generating much needed capital for public health projects and services.

According to the client/owner, “[economically], the redevelopment holds the potential to create a new model for health care capital funding. Through redevelopment of this valuable 25.4 acre site, they intends= to generate sufficient funding to build state-of-the-art complex care and residential care facilities and add capacity to existing residential care housing stock throughout their facilities. The funding model could potentially establish a new model for all health authorities throughout the region.”

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Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022