Community Planning: Back to the Future
Like many suburban communities that were built during the 1950’s and ‘60’s, Agincourt was intended to be self-sufficient with places to work, live, learn and play close at hand, from industry to a broad mix of housing types, and all the necessary community facilities like schools, churches, parks and so on. Community malls located in Toronto’s suburbs and in large cities across the U.S. and Canada were the original neighbourhood hubs, meeting spaces, public realms, before today’s urban planning terminology was even invented. And they worked very well in that role.
Happily, the redevelopment of these iconic malls is maintaining and actually improving on this vital aspect. The transformation of Agincourt Mall is a case in point. The plan creates welcoming public spaces including a central park, a cultural hub across from the library, a main street promenade that ends in a spacious public square, and parkettes throughout the site. The addition of everyday shopping that will draw nearby residents to the site, as well as attractive restaurants and cafes that will invite shoppers to linger, supports a renewed sense of community.
Imagine joining in for yoga lessons in Central Park. Or volunteering for a seasonal festival held at the square. Attending drama class at the library. Meeting neighbours for coffee after they finish their grocery shopping. The tree-lined promenade and public square will bring people together. New pedestrian-friendly streets and new paths will encourage strolling. The plan also includes easy pedestrian access to the community and connects to the existing greenspace next door.
Once again, the Agincourt Mall neighbourhood will boast a public market square to make the community proud, surrounded by elegant new residential to ensure its prosperity into the future.