Fringe Benefits: Cosmopolitan Dynamics of a Multicultural City opens July 9

Can the suburbs be our saviours? With so many ethnic and cultural groups found across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), this exhibition will surprise anyone interested in what is happening to the future design of our suburbs, and the ambitions of our cosmopolitan city. Designers, planners and the general public will be amazed to learn about how a range of ethnic and cultural groups throughout the GTA’s suburban rings of development are actually improving the quality of our built environment through formal and informal design interventions. These influences relate to sports and recreation, business, religion and social patterns that are most visible in the public realm, creating a richer cultural capital that has the possibility of evolving the GTA into a leading global city.

Curated by architect, editor and urban designer Ian Chodikoff, the exhibition runs from July 9 to September 23, 2008 at Toronto’s Design Exchange, and is intent on presenting ideas and questions that will influence the future identity of our suburbs a geography constantlyevolving into something much more dynamic than big-box retail outlets and housing subdivisions.

Fringe Benefits will discuss the relationships between social networks, social capital, social exclusion, economic disparity and entrepreneurial activities found amongst the various built environments across the GTA. Recent projects by the leading architects across the GTA will demonstrate how our cosmopolitan communities are already influencing contemporary architecture in a formal and ambitious way.

Businesses, community and religions groups, and individual have already begun to influence the ways in which our various communities shop, eat and play together. Examples of residential buildings of various heights and densities, commercial buildings, parks, cultural landscapes and temporary urbanism will be presented to initiate debate about the new realities of our constantly mutating suburban context.