Allen District Plan & Urban Design Guidelines


Build Toronto

2011 to ongoing


Located at the northern terminus of the Yonge-University subway line, the Allen District has been identified as a key brownfield redevelopment site. Build Toronto, the City’s real estate development arm, together with Parc Downsview Park, commissioned SvN to develop a District Plan for a new sustainable, transit-oriented development that will house over 5,000 people. The plan aims to involve private-sector partners to develop individual blocks in an incremental fashion. Working with Build Toronto, our team developed a street and block pattern that could accommodate market-ready parcels within a fine-grained urban framework. The plan encouraged a series of courtyard residential buildings together with a mixed-used shopping street leading to a new pedestrian plaza at the head of the existing Downsview subway station.

A detailed series of Urban Design Guidelines for both the Apartment and Mixed-Use districts elaborated the built form, massing, access and circulation parameters for the entire district. Active transportation and shared streets were promoted within a network of open spaces, storm-water management ponds and multi-use trails. A set of Sustainable Design Guidelines, outlined how the project would be developed to LEED Gold standards.

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We develop community sustainability plans, environmental management plans and climate change adaptation plans for public, private and non-profit sectors.We have focused extensively on the displacement and resettlement of communities affected by natural disasters, wars, conflicts and poverty.
We apply our thorough understanding of the provincial and municipal regulatory context to develop studies and public policy instruments for local, provincial and federal governments and First Nations. These include: zoning by-laws, official plans, municipal development plans, local official plans, secondary plans, neighbourhood plans, and urban design guidelines.
We prepare detailed Design Guidelines for municipalities in order to advance the policies, goals and objectives of Official Plans and Official Community Plans, specifically those related to the design of streets, parks, open spaces and buildings. We apply our combined technical and design expertise to the creation of effective and comprehensive guidelines.
We engage stakeholders in every planning process we lead. In complex cases, we facilitate a round-table dialogue process with key stakeholders to create a common understanding of issues, concerns and opportunities. We apply our technical expertise and to these consensus-based decision-making processes, identifying clear and actionable planning priorities. This innovative approach has been recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, which awarded our work in Thompson, Manitoba with the Award for Planning Excellence, in 2014.