A Community-Driven Approach to Suburban Retrofitting - Visions, Desires, and Changes for Mississauga Neighbourhoods

Authors: Steven Pham*, University of Toronto - Mississauga
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Suburban sprawl, suburban retrofitting, sprawl repair, community planning, urban planning
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


After World War II, many North American cities suburbanized following Clarence Perry's "Neighbourhood Unit" model, which facilitated a new hierarchy of roads, functional separation of land-uses via Euclidean zoning, and much larger block sizes. As a result, the new suburban landscapes are locked into a path-dependency of automobile-dependency, which perpetuates automobile-oriented lifestyles. This resulted in new patterns of socio-spatial inequalities across North American cities. The City of Mississauga within the Greater Toronto Area is one of these Post-War suburban municipalities. This paper seeks to reveal residents' attitudes and levels of support towards suburban retrofitting, a process which incrementally changes the land-use, built-form, and street network patterns of Post-War suburban neighbourhoods in order to make them more walkable, permeable to automobile traffic, to bring non-residential land-uses (commercial, business employment, institutional, industrial, etc.) closer to residential areas, allow for gentle intensification of businesses and residential dwellings, and so on. The results indicate that Mississaugs residents are split in their support for major changes to land-use patterns, while the majority support major changes to built-form and street network patterns of their suburban neighbourhoods. As well, open-ended responses indicate a yearning for a sense of "place" that is often absent in the Post-War suburbs, which can be addressed through suburban retrofitting. Overall, public opinion may be at a point where suburban retrofitting could be politically digestible.

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