What should Sudbury be? Or, more importantly, what could Sudbury be? Sudbury or Greater Sudbury is the largest North Ontarian city with a hundred and sixty thousand citizens calling it home. Ojibwe people of the Algonquin group inhabited the region for thousands of years before the settlers found Nickel in 1883 during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Sudbury as we now know it is born.
Like other North American cities, Sudbury faces the growth-sustainability conundrum and dependence on growth to fuel its way of life is no longer sustainable. Automobile dependence is high, density is low, infrastructure is stressed, and no matter how much additional revenue generates due to new developments or increased taxes, the feedback loop makes it economically and environmentally unsustainable. Its time we break away from 'the business as usual' scenario and make Sudbury genuinely competitive and a leader in providing a high quality of life while being sustainable and equitable.
"We got inspired by the great visionaries of the past century, such as Thomas Mawson and his concept of Vienna on the Bow."
Looking beyond 2050, we propose 'ConNext Sudbury 2050', a vision that connects history, people, place and environment to the next millennia. While designing for the future, we got inspired by the great visionaries of the past century, such as Thomas Mawson and his concept of Vienna on the Bow and Ebenezer Howard's Garden city concepts. Our design creates nodes, focal points, urban street edges and vistas that lead to important destinations such as the central Plaza or landmarks. Buildings are located as per their importance and placed strategically to create a symphony of spaces. People are central to our design, and their activities are arranged in concentric rings or nodes that connect everybody with everything. This history inspired concept will create a Sudbury of the future.
ConNext Sudbury is rooted in reconciliation with a proposal for a 'N'Swakamok' Gateway at the intersection of Elm's Street and Paris street, an appropriately designed reconciliation bridge and a reconciliation centre at the end of Marion Street connecting to Paris Street. These landmarks will bridge the past and the future.
Giving the city back to the people, we propose a central people's Plaza that acts as the living room for the city, uniting it and becoming a place for social interactions, music festivals, and all activities that's people-centric, including peaceful demonstrations. The location of the Plaza is such that its easily accessible, noticeable and identifiable. The Plaza acts as the heart of Sudbury, both in its all-season activities and location. Summer events such as open-air movies, food festivals, music fests and ice skating during winter will lead to a vibrant and connected Sudbury. It becomes a place that is defined by the people for the people.
An Urban forest neighbours the Plaza with programmable space and trails connecting the urban core with nature and leading the people to the waterfront.
This new development complements Sudbury's existing downtown with enhancements such as upgrading Elm street as the main street up to the Gateway. A woonerf on Durham street supports local businesses and nightlife, expansion of the memorial park connects it with the Plaza, all the while supporting and enhancing the heritage and values.
The People's Plaza is surrounded by a cultural ring that houses activities celebrating the people of Sudbury. Museums, libraries, concert halls, and art galleries will adorn this ring and bring people joy and enrich the culture. People visiting the Urban core will be able to walk to any of their favourite cultural destinations or walk to the Plaza after attending an event.
Following this cultural ring is the retail, shopping and local businesses ring. This commercial ring will house movie theatres, shopping malls, pubs, and small offices for dentists, lawyers among other amenities. A small percentage of this ring will also have mixed-use developments, including residential. This ring will have an active nightlife bringing in the vibrancy and energy that feeds into and from the Plaza.
A business park ring that offers a walk-to-work employment opportunity sits between the commercial and residential rings. The business park will attract new startups in technology, agri-tech, research and development and light industrial activities. This 24x7 employment core with business hotels and convention centers will create new jobs and bring prosperity to the region. After the day's hard work, employees can choose to shop or entertain themselves by walking to the commercial ring or meet their family for a cultural event before strolling through the Plaza for an open-air movie.
The medium to high-density residential ring will offer multiple choices, including affordable housing. The people living in the residential ring can walk to most of their needs. Easy connectivity with multi-modal transportation makes the entire Sudbury and the region accessible to them. The residential ring also allows for gradually merging this new development with the existing, prompting appropriate change over time for the entire city.
"The ring that forms the part of the Urban Core is well connected and has distinguishable nodes that lead people to explore the rest of the city."
The ring that forms the part of the Urban Core is well connected and has distinguishable nodes that lead people to explore the rest of the city. One such path is connecting the urban core with the waterfront via the reconciliation centre. This tree-lined boulevard includes streetcars, mixed-use developments and offers pleasant, walkable connectivity to the waterfront. Easy access to the lake Ramsey for everyone is essential, hence surrounding land use is proposed for public or institutional purposes while discouraging private lands that disconnect people from the waterfront.
An outer ring connects the inner circle with the rest of the city for easy accessibility. This outer ring on Regent Street, Kathleen Street, Douglas Street, connects back via Paris street, allows for smooth vehicular movement and connects the north-west and north of the city to the urban core and leads them to the waterfront.
Trains are more sustainable forms of transport; hence the railway network within the region is enhanced, with Sudbury acting as a hub. Passenger train services will improve connectivity and support economic growth. The proposal for a central multi-modal transit hub having multiple amenities connects the existing railway station with streetcars, buses, cabs, and other alternative transport provides safe & sustainable connections.
The smart city concept is built-into the very fabric of the city, including utilities, infrastructure and governance. All the new street networks, including the concentric rings, will have a smart infrastructure that supports active mobility, including dedicated bike paths, wide pedestrian pathways, at-grade crossings, and future forms of mobility, including e-bikes and scooters. Re-introduction of streetcars improves the public transit, walkability and sustainability. Smart connectivity via citywide wifi provides easy and reliable access and information to multiple mobility options.
Alternative energy sources are encouraged as long as they remain carbon neutral throughout their entire life cycle. Public transit, active transportation & housing choices, urban forestry, sustainable utilities including segregation of drinking water and various alternative energy sources, will lay the foundation for a carbon-neutral Sudbury.
ConNext Sudbury 2050 makes way for the future where citizens enjoy a very high quality of life and a bright future with programmed Public realm and integration of Urban design with Architecture. This future, based on history and reconciliation, creates an identity and place for a sustainable and equitable city. Social interactions will lead to collaborations creating a Sudbury full of joy for all.
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