Chief Planner Roundtable
The Chief Planner Roundtable is a public forum for Torontonians to discuss key city-building challenges, and to identify innovative “drivers for change.” The Roundtables are founded on a platform of collaborative engagement, where industry professionals, community leaders, and City staff discuss ideas about pressing issues in an open creative environment.
A variety of options for roundtable participation are available including attendance in person, watching the live-stream, and contributing to the conversation via twitter, comment cards, or email. The flexible and informal forum enables the City Planning Division to form new partnerships with community and city-building advocates, other city Divisions, the private sector, academics and beyond.
The Chief Planner Roundtable reinforces City Council’s Strategic Plan Principle of community participation, and the Official Plan Policy of promoting community awareness of planning issues.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life and the critical role it plays within varied ecosystems, including our growing urban environments.
In the past, concern for biodiversity has primarily been focused on “pristine” or non-urban areas, but this is changing as we are at a critical juncture in our planet’s history. For the first time, more people live in urban regions than in rural, and the pressure these regions place on natural systems is vastly increasing. Cities take up approximately 3% of the earth’s surface, yet hold more than 50% of the earth’s human population and consume almost 75% of its natural resources. Our own urban-region recently surpassed 6 million people and in this rapidly urbanizing world, questions are being asked as to how we can design our urban regions to be more sustainable and resilient for all species that inhabit them.
We must integrate biodiversity initiatives into the planning and management of our urban areas. When biodiversity considerations are integrated into all aspects of city-building (for example land use planning, urban design, transportation, parks, etc) we will begin to design truly sustainable cities.
By ensuring a network of functioning green spaces, we increase our cities’ resilience to unpredictable weather events, improve air quality, mental and physical health of residents, and much more by harnessing the ecosystem services that a healthy urban ecosystem can provide. The BiodiverseTO panel brought together a variety of perspectives on the topic to talk about shared issues and to discuss potential long-term solutions.
- Dave Ireland, Managing Director, Biodiversity, Royal Ontario Museum
- Scott MacIvor, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
- Karen McDonald, Manager, Restoration & Infrastructure Division, Toronto and Region Conservation
- Megan Meaney, Director, ICLEI Canada
- Faisal Moola, Director General, David Suzuki Foundation
- Amy Mui, Lecturer, Teaching Stream, University of Toronto
- Richard Ubbens, Director, City of Toronto, Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division
This most recent roundtable took place May 12, 2017. The event was livestreamed, and the video of the event is available for you to watch.