Synergy and Movement within Suburban Mixed-Use Centers: The Toronto Experience

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Abstract:

The article measures the intensity of interaction between activities within suburban mixed-use centers (also referred to as suburban downtowns or edge cities), and the reliance on walking for intra-center journeys. It examines whether or not these centers are achieving, as intended in planning documents, an inner dynamic that distinguishes them from typical suburban commercial developments. A survey of office workers within the Greater Toronto Area's three most developed suburban mixed-use centers reveals a moderate level of inner synergy (interaction between activities beneficial to all those involved) and of walking for intra-center journeys. The article highlights the advantages of such an inner dynamic for activities located within suburban mixed-use centers. It also points at the surveyed centers' car orientation and the inhospitality of their walking environment to explain why synergy and pedestrian movements are not any higher. This leads to an examination of the advantages that would accrue from a more intense pedestrian-based synergy and of the means of achieving such an outcome.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0735-2166.00064

Affiliations: University of Waterloo

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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