Institute without Boundaries

COLAB at Work: Case Studies Introduction

The Main Street Markham and Old Kennedy Road revitalization projects are presented here as case studies to demonstrate the COLAB model at work. Each case study presents a unique approach to main street revitalization that shows how strategic problem solving and innovative ideas can be generated when interdepartmental, multi-stakeholder and collaborative design thinking is embraced.

Main Street Markham and Old Kennedy Road are characterized by distinct histories, demographic make-ups and development conditions. Taken together, these case studies illustrate many of the key challenges and opportunities that Markham must consider as it pursues sustainable development, including: how best to undertake intensification in established low-density areas; how to incorporate sustainable building design within the limitations of a heritage context; how to create resilient communities and prepare for a transit-oriented future; how to meaningfully engage community and business in the revitalization process; and how to approach development that is strategic and leverages all available assets to greatest effect.

In both case studies, we illustrate the COLAB model of engaging community, business and municipal stakeholders in a creative process of research, ideation and communications to achieve results that respond to the real needs of people. The Main Street Markham case study shows how COLAB could help Markham use prototyping and design development to initiate small-scale design interventions for Main Street with a focus on enhancing accessibility, residential and commercial infill, and public realm infrastructure. The Old Kennedy Road case study shows how COLAB could help Markham use systems thinking and foresighting to plan for large-scale community revitalization that is strategic and establishes new market opportunities for Markham in the green economy.

This is an article from COLAB, the final project of students from the 2011/2012 academic year. To see all the posts related to the project go here. To see a summary of the project go here.
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The Institute without Boundaries is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. To learn more click here.

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