For the past three weeks the Lands for Learning Studio in York Lanes has been welcoming the York University community to talk about the future of the edge precincts of the Keele campus. Studio ambassadors, all current York students, have been engaging students, faculty and staff in conversations about the future of the lands outside of the academic core. These Lands for Learning include the York-owned lands along the south side of Steeles Avenue, the west side of Keele Street and south of The Pond Road.
The insights provided by the York community will help the University create guiding principles and a vision for the physical development of these lands in the years and decades to come.
The Lands for Learning Studio has a large-scale model of campus where visitors are encouraged to experiment with future development (pink) ideas surrounding the academic core (blue) on the Keele campus
Visitors to the studio are encouraged to learn about the potential of the edge precincts, share their ideas for its development and provide their thoughts on what kinds of neighbourhoods would support, complement and enhance the campus. Participants can test out their ideas by configuring a scaled model of the academic core and the Lands for Learning, collaging precedent images to illustrate their visions, and writing notes and ideas on speech bubbles – all facilitated by the knowledgeable and helpful studio ambassadors.
So far, more than 80 participants have shared a wealth of information with the studio ambassadors. Visitors have prioritized the development of vibrant, walkable and dense mixed-use communities that provide space to live, work, learn and play. Beautiful pocket parks, courtyards and streetscapes have been identified as necessary components of a public realm that prioritizes the pedestrian and that will enhance the academic core.
Participants have also shown strong support for cycling infrastructure, including separated bike lanes and covered storage facilities. Many noted that improved connections to the campus and to transit links could help to encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation and foster a strong relationship between the University and its neighbours. Shops, services, office space, housing, restaurants and entertainment venues were all identified as necessary to ensuring animated, safe and engaging neighbourhoods.
The process is not over yet. The Lands for Learning Studio welcomes and encourages University community members to stop by the studio to share their own thoughts, comment on what others have said and learn more about the potential of the edge precincts.
Stop by the Lands for Learning Studio in York Lanes, across from the Bookstore, until the third week in December: on Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm; Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm; and Thursdays from 10am to 3pm.