PARTISANS Envisions a Next Generation Community in Innisfil
Toronto-based firm PARTISANS has unveiled its next-generation vision for the rural community of Innisfil, located 60 kilometres north of Toronto. Entitled The Orbit, the plan for the rual community was created with support from Cortel Group.
The vision recognizes Innisfil for its distinct context and character. Instead of sprawling with low-rise strip malls and single-family housing, the Orbit advocates for constructing terraced, mixed-use mid- and high-rise buildings to protect the town’s agricultural land.
PARTISANS’ plan was sparked by the addition of a Metrolinx rail station, which is set to open in 2022. Innisfil envisages the rapid growth of the town, which is close to Pearson International Airport and equidistant from the City of Toronto and cottaging region of the Muskokas. The new plan depicts the densification of the town with the train station at its centre and concentric rings of new services, trails and neighbourhoods “orbiting” around it. As the plan expands outwards, the circular rings flatten into squares, melding with the existing grid of the region. The plan is inspired by the English Garden City movement, Israeli Moshav communities, and Burning Man.
“The Orbit is a clean slate to reimagine how a community of tomorrow is built today. Mobility, innovative streets and infrastructure, streetscapes, a digital and connected community with a vibrant and robust modern economy based on critical thinking, new tech agriculture, artificial intelligence, combined with a vibrant ‘start up’ energy and culture all shape the Orbit towards the future of placemaking and city-building,” writes PARTISANS.
The Orbit will feature a fast, secure fibre-optic network woven throughout the community’s sidewalks, streets, and buildings, while being governed by the appropriate privacy protection policies.
“The Orbit is our vision for a complete, cutting-edge community where our small town and rural lifestyles are enhanced by the benefits and attributes of urban living,” writes PARTISANS.
As a response to the current housing crisis around the Toronto region, the Orbit will boast a variety of homes for individuals from all walks of life. Shared equity programs will be available to provide ownership opportunities for those in need.
At the heart of it, PARTISANS imagines a cohesive center for Innisfil that will gravitate and grow around the new regional transit link and a cultural center slated to be built over the next four years.
Innisfil has a history of innovation as the first municipality to implement a ride-sharing transit system. The Orbit will accelerate and evolve this system by adopting a crowd-sourced model, powered by autonomous electric vehicles.
The community is set to grow over generations to a population target of 150,000 people. “We know and understand that our population will continue to expand, and the Orbit allows Innisfil to grow in a way that preserves our natural landscapes and habitat by concentrating all of our future expansion into one place. Our natural agricultural lands, forests, trails, habitats, historical buildings will be untouched—just as our community has always wanted,” writes PARTISANS.