During DesignTO I ventured to the bakery building in liberty village to check out an exhibition about creative mixed-use. Now in the planning and architecture world, we have mixed-use buildings that traditionally consist of retail on the ground floor and condos above.
What is Creative Mixed Use?
Creative mixed-use buildings bring together public, private, and non-profit uses in innovative and often unexpected ways. While a classic example of mixed-use buildings would be a retail store with a condominium built on top of it, creative mixed-use buildings push the envelope further and help fulfill the need for hard infrastructure interventions that provide the services a neighbourhood needs, like affordable housing, schools, and health centres. But they also strengthen a city’s social infrastructure by creating opportunities for people to build communities around these sites.
As cities across the world envision ways to restore upended communities in post-pandemic recovery, there are vast opportunities to adopt city-building methods that are lasting and impactful. In Toronto, these have become creative mixed-use buildings that often bring together public, private, and non-profit uses, locating unexpected partners in the same facility. They have a long track-record of delivering significant affordable housing among other critical social infrastructures such as schools, homeless shelters, and more. While these building types are not widely known, they contain immeasurable social value responses to rapid development in cities worldwide.
+(plus) 2.0 imagining the future of city-building together through creative mixed-use continues to explore Toronto as a leader in implementing mixed-use buildings, demonstrating how our clients can center around care and overcome challenges through multi-aid partnerships.
Drawing from ideas generated through the public’s participation in +(plus) 1.0: An exhibition of unexpected creative mixed-use buildings that foster community, our newest exhibition answers the question “What if?” +(plus) 2.0 explores the full breath of possibilities for community-building that emerge from mixing improbable uses together questions the current systems that maintain the “status quo” in the built environment, and encourages us all to reimage not only what our neighbourhoods look like, but ultimately who our cities are for.
But creative mixed-use is to bring together public, private and non-profit uses in innovative and often unexpected ways. Pushing the envelope to help fulfill the need for hard infrastructure interventions that provide services that neighbourhoods need like affordable housing, schools and health centres.
Some interesting ideas for future interventions in the city that I hope to see are
Housing + retirement home + daycare + cafe
A Church + Music Venue + Market and Hostel
Sometimes, real innovation comes from putting things together that you never would have thought. In the world of city building, we need new ways of thinking and planning for the future that brings diverse communities together under one roof. What combinations would you put together?