Durham Learning and Business Park (dLab)

Whitby & Oshawa, Ontario

Durham College | Trent University | River Oaks Group  | Halloway Holdings

2011 to present


The firm prepared the Innovation Durham Urban Design Study, which presents a sustainable urban design framework for the lands surrounding and adjacent to the proposed Oshawa West GO Station, Durham College, and Trent University Oshawa. The landowners and principal tenants of the surrounding lands, including both the College and University, initiated the Study and retained SvN to create a cohesive vision of the principal land-uses, urban form, landscape design, and building typologies. The resulting framework forms the basis for development of a “research and innovation park” with a mix of uses that will provide additional capabilities to the academic and research programs of both Institutions.

The study includes measures to achieve the highest standards of sustainable development through landscape design, land-use and built-form guidelines, extensive passive recreation and alternative transport infrastructure, and a district-wide stormwater management strategy. Additional sustainable design provisions include sustainable site design and building orientation strategies; and reduced habitat segregation through the maintenance of integrated green space between development parcels.

The study anticipates long-term effects associated with the development of the GO Station and its recognition within the Official Plan as a mobility hub. Municipal and Regional interest in Transit Oriented Development is satisfied by provisions within the lot subdivision and a phased development strategy that provide for aggregation, or subdivision, to accommodate mixed-use or multi-unit residential development in the long term.

This approach to “flexible planning with significant consideration of short- and long-term needs” is typical of our approach to area planning, campus planning, and commercial park development planning and has been well received by both the client group and municipal economic development officials involved in the planning process.

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We undertake site analysis studies, from site scale up to secondary plan scales.  We work with developers and public agencies such as Build Toronto and Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation to complete due diligence and Highest and Best Use Studies for their lands. 
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 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.