Over eight weeks in late 2013 and early 2014, more than 210 members of the York University community contributed their ideas and insights to the Edge Precincts that surround York University’s academic core, the Lands for Learning.
The staff, faculty and students who joined in this series of conversations at the Lands for Learning studio in York Lanes were consistent in their support for creating a dense, sustainable urban community that will include a variety of new land uses that will enliven the campus as a whole.
The studio was just one part of the first phase of consultations, which will help create the principles and framework for the future development of the Edge Precinct lands, which cover 138 acres and have the potential to support up to 24,500 new residents and 21,000 new jobs over the coming decades. Lands for Learning student ambassadors visited 33 different locations on campus to speak to members of the community about their ideas for the lands.
With the results of the first phase in hand, the student ambassadors are fanning back out across campus this April to report back what members of the York community have said about Lands for Learning. They will also confirm the findings and ask if anything has been missed from the list of priorities collected through the Phase 1 conversations.
In addition to creating a sustainable urban community, participants also said that they want to see a “safe and social neighbourhood” that increases pedestrian activity, provides ‘eyes on the street’ and improves overall safety. The conversations also emphasized that new neigbourhoods have to be well-connected and support public transit and cycling.
It was generally acknowledged that a beautiful and active public realm, including parks and open spaces, will play a major role in defining the new neighbourhoods. Participants said that these spaces must be aesthetically appealing and comfortable, with pedestrian amenities. Students emphasized that outdoor social spaces are as valuable as entertainment spaces, shops and services.
A final important priority identified by the community is that these new shops and amenities introduced into the Edge Precincts should support the community and York University. The shops and amenities will span uses from libraries and community centres to stores, restaurants and daycares.
Watch out for the Lands for Learning ambassadors who will be taking their mobile information booth across campus for the rest of April. The full report on the results of the Phase 1 consultations is available at the Lands for Learning website.