The city of Toronto’s Resilience Office marked the culmination today of a two-year process with the launch of the city’s first Resilience Strategy. As part of the 100 Resilient Cities network, Toronto joins more than 50 international cities that have developed strategies to address the array of chronic stresses and acute shocks experienced in today’s changing climate.
As the city’s Strategy Advisor, the Toronto studio of Perkins and Will was a key partner in the strategy development process and supported a range of activities, including preliminary assessments of climate risks, engagement initiatives, research on community-led space activation, and overall policy development. To create the strategy, the city’s Resilience Office engaged dozens of partners and over 8,000 Torontonians in face-to-face conversations at Toronto City Hall, in libraries, in parks, and in people’s homes, as well as phone and over social media.
“Resilience offers a lens to examine the connection between seemingly disconnected issues,” said Paul Kulig, principal at Perkins and Will, and a lead strategy advisor. “While other cities are experiencing the changing risks of hurricanes or sea level rise, in many ways, Toronto’s greatest challenges are at the intersection of climate risks and inequity–challenges exacerbated by the immense growth pressures facing our city.”
The Toronto Resilience Strategy provides a hopeful vision for Toronto’s near- and long-term future, and establishes a set of actions that promote a collective response on issues ranging from the health of Toronto’s 1,200+ apartment towers, food systems security, flooding, and ways to build trust in local government. Today’s launch marks the beginning of a long-term implementation effort, recognizing that resilience is a process that will require the city and its partners to continuously adapt to new challenges.
Perkins and Will remains committed to supporting the ongoing process through research and practice. The firm continues to advance RELi, one of the world’s first comprehensive resilient design rating systems, developed by Perkins and Will in 2012 and adopted by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2018.
In addition to integrating resilience into every local project—from community architecture to neighbourhood studies—the Toronto studio is collaborating on the development of resilience strategies for the cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Louisville, Kentucky.