THE RAINBOW JUNCTION IDEA
Rainbow and Junction are meaningful concepts in the story of Sudbury. The Rainbow is a universal symbol for diversity, and in the Sudbury context, it represents the City's harmonious diversity of cultures, notably its high concentration of First Nations and Franco-Ontarian cultures, and its aspiration to become a competitive multicultural city on the global scene. The Rainbow has become a Sudbury moniker finding representation in the City's Rainbow District School Board, the Rainbow Centre Shopping Mall, and more recently, it has crossed over into the realm of sustainable transportation planning via appropriation by the Rainbow Routes Association to represent the spectrum of nonmotorized movements such as walking and cycling along natural corridors such as creeks, and naturalizing corridors, such as railways and complete streets. We are inspired by the potential of the Rainbow Routes movement in redirecting the creative energy of human and natural resources as vitalizing forces back toward the city center. Of all Rainbow Routes, we see the greatest potential in the Junction Creek Rainbow Route (JCRR). With extremeties on the northeastern and southwestern peripheries of the City, the JCRR stops short of the ring roads which loop Downtown Sudbury, albeit the creek continues to flow below the civic heart of Downtown Sudbury through a concrete culvert. Our transformative plan is evolutionary and participatory in nature. It is comprised of small-scale tactical experiments as public engagement tools, intended to generate feedback in the short-term to inform the design of large-scale projects in the long-term. Our design emphasizes the 3 Rs of Rail, River, and Road, as we believe that each of the 3 Rs can be subverted from a barrier to a conduit. Of the three Rs, our project emphasizes River. Our short-term tactic is to activate the culverted Junction Creek flowing below Downtown Sudbury through guided paddle tours, telling its story, and advocating for its daylighting. In the long-term we envision a restored Junction Creek as an integrated social, cultural, and ecological interchange. Socially, it becomes the City's 'green heart' or central meeting place by virtue of its central location. Culturally, it conjures the iconography of the indigenous and extractive landscapes of Northern Ontario through its landforms and plantings, instilling a strong sense of place. Ecologically, it recovers native floral and faunal communities safeguarding against flooding and buffering a changing climate. We believe that a Rainbow Junction is not merely a meeting point or intersection that serves one type of movement and hinders others, but that it is a place of harmonious exchange, mediating a diversity of movements that span the spectrum between city and nature.
RAIL JUNCTION: circa 1890
The Centripetal City: The Emergence of Downtown Sudbury
Sudbury emerged as a railroad junction at the turn of the 20th century upon the serendipitous discovery of high concentrations of nickel and copper ore through railroad construction activities of blasting and excavation. Upon this discovery, the Sudbury Junction exerted a centripetal and centralizing force, drawing human resources from beyond and catalyzing the growth of a dense mixed-use urban settlement organized around the Canadian Pacific Railway Station and tram network. Once a catalyst to urbanization, the railyards have become the largest physical barrier to non-motorized movements on the east side of Downtown Sudbury, an impediment to its growth, and the subject of countless feasability studies on their relocation. Today, the barrier is beginning to be subverted through crossing infrastructures and parallel greenways for non-motorized movements.
ROAD JUNCTION: circa 1960
The Centrifugal City and the Downtown Decentralization
In the post-war years, the Sudbury Junction evolved in complexity with the construction of ring roads around Downtown to serve the daily tidal flows of suburban commuters in private automobiles. This type of junction begun to exert a centrifugal, dispersive, and degenerative force, drawing investment out of Downtown Sudbury toward new suburban communities where shopping malls and new centers began to emerge. The combined effect of mass automobile ownership and disinvestment had an erosive effect, wearing away at the fine-grained pedestrianoriented urban fabric to serve the speeds, volumes, and storage requirements of the private automobile. Today Downtown Sudbury is characterized by oversized one-way roads, and the prevalence of surface parking lots, an image and experience that is inhospitable to pedestrians and to natural processes, the two primary ingredients of vitality.
RAINBOW JUNCTION: 2020-2050
The Ecological City and Downtown Re-Centralization
Of all the Rainbow Routes criss-crossing through Sudbury, the Junction Creek Rainbow Route holds the greatest potential. Presently, it terminates on the edges of Downtown Sudbury, with the creek flowing below the city centre through a concrete culvert. Our proposal envisions Junction Creek as a junction, interchange, or place of meeting in the heart of Downtown Sudbury. We consider a daylighting or uncovering of Junction Creek as a project in social, cultural and ecological restoration. Socially, it will convey volumes of people through the Junction Creek Rainbow Route directly into the civic heart of Downtown Sudbury. Culturally, the reclaimed Junction Creek will conjure images of Northern Ontario Landscapes through its design, restoring a strong place identit. Ecologically, the daylighting will recover natural riparian landforms and eco-system processes which in combination can provision eco-system services with tremendous social benefits such as containment of large storms mitigating flooding, and the purifying water through natural processes.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: TOURS AND TACTICS
A 'BACK TO THE FUTURE' APPROACH TO TELLING THE SUDBURY STORY
Our transformative plan is evolutionary in nature, and will begin with small-scale and short-term tactical experiments as participatory public engagement tools which can generate feedback to inform design guidelines to direct large-scale projects in the long-term. Tactical installations are an effective base or primer as they can bypass the barriers of political, regulatory, and fiscal constraints by virtue of their bottom-up, thrifty, and temporary nature, activating the imagination of the public, and conditioning the urban ground for more permanent projects to take root in the future. By virtue of their small scale, tactical installations can be citizen lead processes and could be designed by students of architecture in collaboration with local artists and business owners, cultivating a culture of integrated art, design, urbanism, and community building that is critical to the prosperity of cities in the 21st century.
PRESENT MOVEMENTS: Rainbow Routes through Rails, Rivers, and Roads
We believe that restored circulation, promoting the flow of non-motorized movements and natural systems can vitalize the city center. Thus our integrated short-term tactics and long-term strategies emphasize the 'greening' of all three types of urban transportation corridors; Rail, River, and Road which make the circulatory structure of the Sudbury Junction. The railyards of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) have historically been a barrier to non-motorized movements and downtown growth, but in recent years, the integration of the Elgin Greenway Rainbow Route has begun to subvert and activate the barrier into a vital conduit. Similarly, the Junction Creek Rainbow Route for non-motorized movements has been successful in channelling human and natural resources closer to Downtown. We see tremendous potential in extending the JCRR into the heart of Downtown. Lastly, the roads of Downtown are oversized and underutilized, holding tremendous potential to accomodate non-motorized movements and sustainable urban drainage systems to restore natural hydrological processes and native plant communities as vitalizing forces.
PROJECTIVE TACTICS: Disrupting the Auto-Centric City & Imagining a Green Future
We propose a series of four tactical installations correlating with each of the three 'R's - Rail, River, and Road. Additionally, there will be a tactical installation for vacant or underutilized parking lots. Each tactic will be disruptive of the existing auto-centric circulatory system, promoting the movement of pedestrians, cyclists, and natural processes of hydrology, flora and fauna, falling under the Rainbow umbrella. The tactical installations will be projective in nature, provoking the public to imagine a future city center, vital with pedestrian-oriented activities and natural systems as ecological infrastructures.
FOR ACTIVATION AND ADVOCATION
RETROSPECTIVE TOUR: Reviving Urban Design Principles of the Past
As part of our public engagement plan, we would like to imbed our projective tactical installations within a spatial and historical context that can add local contextual meaning to each installation. Thus, our tactical installations become nodes along a circuit tracing the urban histories of Rail, River, and Road. The walk begins with the story of Sudbury's origin as a rail town outside the CPR/VIA rail station. It continues either over or through the culverted Junction Creek. The walk then resumes up Elm St., continuing along Durham and Cedar St., tracing the path of the historic tram which once connected the City's commerical, insititutional and residential core to the mining operations. It is 'Back to the Future' in approach as it advocates for preservation of existing heritage structures, the revival of of urban design principles from the streetcar urbanism of the early 20th century, while projecting an ecological future.
1. RAIL: From Hard Barriers to Soft
Retrospective Tour: Railway as Hard Barrier
The tour begins with the story of Sudbury's origin as a railway junction. It presents the dichotomy of rail infrastructure, as once a catalyst to growth, but now an impediment to downtown growth as a physical and perceptual barrier. The walk will highlight strategic greening projects such as the Elgin Street Greenway intended to soften the hard edge condition of the railway corridor through nonmotorized transport.
Projective Tactics: Railway as Soft Connector
a. Activate and soften railway edges with urban agriculture.
b. Improve walking and cycling infrastructure along railway corridors
c. Where possible create 'plaza-like' at-grade crossings over railway tracks to soften the perception of the railway as a barrier.
2. RIVER: From Risk to Resource
Retrospective Tour: Junction Creek
The tour then traces the path of the culverted Junction Creek. This segment of the tour could happen either at grade or below grade as a paddle tour through the civic core of Downtown Sudbury. This part of the tour conjures the narrative of Junction Creek which was culverted in the the early 1960s to safeguard against flooding. At grade, it could be a a critical tour of the sterile Modernist plaza that has covered the Creek. Below grade, it could be a more sensory experience.
Projective Tactics: Junction Creek Paddle Tour
A light installation on the walls of the culvert, illustrating the Creek's story and its future potential, advocating for its recovery as the ecological heart of Downtown Sudbury could become a popular tour, activating the imagination of the public.
3. ROAD: From One-Way to Two-Way
Retrospective Tour: Streetcar Streets
The walk continues up on Elm street tracing the path of the historic tram which once connected the City's mixed-use commerical, insititutional and residential core to the mining operations on the peripheries. This path will recall the history of Sudbury's early to mid 20th century streetcar urbanism, characterized by narrow streets, and narrow lots and building frontages, scaled to the rhythm of movement of the human body. It will also reveal the erosive effect of the automobile on the public realm.
Projective Tactics: Rainbow Streets
a. Restore Two Way Circulation and Narrow Travel Lanes to Match Driving Speed Limits
b. Claim ROW for Sidewalk Extension and Sidewalk Furniture
c. Promote On-Street Parking with dedicated areas for Vendors such as Food Trucks
4. LOT: From Dead Spaces to Vital Places
Retrospective Tour: Erosion of Built Form
The walk continues up the intersection of Durham and Cedar Streets, to a large parking lot where the narrative of the automobile as an erosive force that upset the once fine-grained urban morphology of the relationship of the city is developed. This type of urban environment is often called 'lost' or 'wasted' space, as it serves the automobiles of commuters by day, and is void of life on evenings and weekends.
Projective Tactics: Temporary Plazas
a. Social and Cultural Activation: On evenings and weekends when demand for parking is low, these lots can be enlivened with food trucks, film, music, and informal play opportunities.
b. Ecological Activation: A number of parking spaces can be compromised to host Planted Natural Drainage Infrastructure systems, which will manage all rainwater runoff and snow melt on site, while beautifying parking lots.
TRANSFORMATIVE DESIGN STRATEGIES
1. RAIL: Cover with Park
a. Introduce City and Regional Passenger Rail Services Along Rail ROW
b. Establish wildlife and Active Transportation Corridors
Along Rail ROW and Over Land Bridges
c. Conjure the Imagery of Northern Ontario Geology
2. RIVER: Uncover as Park
a. Restore a Concave Riparian Landform to Detain
b. Reintroduce Native Floral and Faunal Communities
c. Provision Grade-Separated Movement into Downtown
Sudbury via the Junction Creek Rainbow Route
d. Provision Passive Recreation
e. Conjure imagery of Northern Ontario through Design
3. ROAD: Calm and Complete
a. Restore Two Way Circulation and Narrow Travel Lanes
to Calm Traffic Flow
b. Reclaim Road Surface for Bicycle Lane
c. Reclaim Road Surface for Sustainable Drainage System
d. Delineate Sidewalk into Distinct Zones
e. Integrate Bus Transit Stops with Street Plantings
4. INFILL: Mid-Rise, Mixed-Use, Mass-
a. Use Mass Timber as Primary Building Material to Sequester
b. Promote Overhangs and Setbacks to Allow for Extension
of Retail and Programs Outside
c. Green Roofs for Sustainable Stormwater Management
and Habitat. b. Activate Adjacent Laneways
d. Reclaim Road Surface for Sustainable Drainage Systems
e. Expand Sidewalks at Intersections to Reduce Pedestrian
f. Activate Adjacent Laneways with Furniture and Retail
SUDBURY 2050 VISION: A RAINBOW NETWORK
COVERING RAILS, UNCOVERING RIVER, AND COMPLETING STREETS FOR MULTIMODAL MOVEMENTS
We envision the Sudbury of 2050 to be vitalized by a network of integrated gray, blue, and green corridors operating at multiple scales. Rainbow Routes along the Canadian Pacific Railroad and Junction Creek corridors will operate at the regional scale by virtue of their extensive nature, with potential to connect all 14 Sudbury communities to Downtown via grade separated green thoroughfares. We propose to 'cover' the railyards with a vegetated roof in a similar manner to Millenium Park in Chicago, conjuring the iconography of the many hills that encircle Sudbury, and subverting it from infrastructural barrier to connective regional greenway. We propose to 'uncover' the Junction Creek, facilitating connectivity from the Sudbury region to the Downtown core. At a finer and local Downtown scale, we propose to revert all one-way streets to two-way in order to improve connectivity, calm traffic, 'calm and complete' the hierarchy of roads comprised of major, collector, local, and laneway to be inclusive of non-motorized movements and natural processes such as sustainable stormwater management. We imagine that the green junction produced by the crossing of CPR Railroad with Junction Creek will not only channel vitalizing human and natural resources to Downtown, but that it will serve as an armature for the continued growth of the City beyond 2050, akin to reknown Landscape Architect and Engineer, Frederick Law Olmstead's long-term vision for Boston in the Emerald Necklace project.
JUNCTION CREEK PARK
VITALIZING DOWNTOWN SUDBURY VIA RESTOREDSOCIAL, CULTURAL, AND ECOLOGICAL INTERCHANGES
Our proposal envisions the emergence of a new Sudbury Junction defined by a daylighted or uncovered Junction Creek. We believe that a junction by definition is not merely a meeting point or intersection which serves one type of movement and hinders others, but that a junction should be a place of multimodal flows and exchanges, mediating all types of movements across the broad spectrum which connects city processes with natural processes. Thus, the daylighting or uncovering of the Junction Creek as the blue-green heart of Downtown Sudbury is a project in integrated social, cultural, and ecological reclamation. Socially, it will convey volumes of non motorized movements through the Junction Creek Rainbow Route directly into the civic heart of Downtown Sudbury, from where they will be able to enter the local streets of Downtown unimpeded by barriers, connecting region with core. Culturally, the reclaimed Junction Creek will conjure images of both the indigenous and cultural landscapes of Northern Ontario through its iconic landforms and vegetation, restoring a strong sense of place identity, and provisioning recreational opportunities. Ecologically, the daylighting will recover eco-system processes which in combination with a sculpted landform of three sequential ponds will contain runoff from large storms, safeguarding against flooding, and provisioning habitat for a diversity of native floral and fauna communities.
5 scanned / 5 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel