The Globe and Mail interviewed Shonda Wang, Lead of Urban Design at SvN, about Dundas Connects, the plan which will shape the future look and feel of Dundas, focusing on transit, land-use, and public space. The article, Mississauga aims to urbanize a poster child of suburbia, discusses Dundas Street’s changing outlook.
“It seems like an unlikely place for an experiment in urban design. This stretch of road is about as suburban as it gets. Strip malls, gas stations, parking lots and fast-food joints flank the broad avenue. Subdivisions spread out on either side. The car is king, the pedestrian a mere afterthought. Mississauga hopes to change all that. The edge city just west of Toronto is planning a major overhaul of Dundas that would make it more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists, more efficient for transit riders and generally more urban in scale and feel.
The planners recognize the value of the thriving businesses that line the street. ‘We want to protect that, not wipe it out,’ says Shonda Wang of SvN Architects and Planners, the firm that helped put the plan together. In any case, she says, “this is not going to happen in one go.” It’s a phased development that will roll out over 25 years and more. But Dundas will evolve and that’s a good thing. Just as it went from rural highway to suburban thoroughfare, it will enter a new life as one of the busy main streets of a growing suburban city. Mississauga’s population is expected to reach one million by mid-century. To cope with all those people, it will need to change the way it grows. Whether we can reinvent the suburbs for the 21st century is one of the most important questions facing modern cities. Transforming streets like Dundas is a part of the answer.” – Marcus Gee