Town of Innisfil, ON
The Orbit is a project led by the Town of Innisfil. The Orbit is a forward-thinking ‘rural reimagined’ development centered around a new, privately funded and built proposed GO station within the Town of Innisfil.
During the Urban Innovation Workshop that will take place during the Smart City 2020 Experience (SCE), we propose to virtually bring together experts and participants around one of its ongoing projects. The objective of the exercise is to identify the smart city infrastructure, data architecture and governance, as well as other key elements to ensure a successful smart city implementation as the project moves forward.
Description of Innisfil
Innisfil has historically developed as a rural, agricultural and cottage country community that has become quite suburbanized over the past couple of decades. With the growth pressures of the GTA, the expected population growth of Innisfil, and the proposed GO Station, the town took a step back to reflect on the kind of growth it wanted.
Description of the Orbit
Through these reflections the town considered a future with a more human scale density to build a walkable, mobility centered community, that was about people rather than cars.
From there came the Orbit project, a forward-thinking ‘rural reimagined’ development centered around a new, privately funded and built proposed GO station within the Town. The Orbit is focused on a more ’responsible’ way of development, essentially creating a “20 minute” urban environment accommodating both the needs and pleasures of everyday life. Some of the many benefits include preservation of the rural landscape and agricultural lands beyond the Orbit, sustainability, more efficient infrastructure systems, health and wellness, and embracing technology to create a smarter and intelligent city from the ground up.
Partisans, a Toronto Architectural firm, through a Town RFP process was selected to help develop the vision for The Orbit. The vision includes designing the proposed GO Station and supporting development that is architecturally inspiring and at the center of a people-oriented and human scale community that does not place the automobile first. The design borrowed from the Garden city movement (a method of urban planning in which self-contained communities are surrounded by greenbelts, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry, and agriculture) and global examples to incorporate a concentric design to evolve the tradition the grid of a city and avoid the more recent ‘spaghetti style’ suburban development model.
Beyond transit connections, there are many other connections built into the design including a linear park running parallel the train tracks, links to the water – Lake Simcoe, nature, the municipal Town campus, walking & cycling trails to other parts of the community. Physical connections are only one piece of placemaking for Orbit and these connections need to be augmented with social and technological initiatives.
It’s an ambitious vision, not without its challenges. However, the Town is committed to working with the community, landowners, stakeholders, County and Province to bring the 50 year ‘rural reimagined’ vision to life.
The issue at stake:
The initial phases of the project are now in the construction planning phase. In order to ensure that as the Orbit project takes form it becomes a smart town, what are the key infrastructure, data, and technological considerations?
Elements to be integrated or considered in the development of solutions:
- What is needed to develop a successful data strategy (i.e. data architecture and governance)?
- How can the heart and soul of the town be supported by smart city technology?
- How will the town identify its citizens (digital identity)?
- How will the town interact with its citizens?
- What technology infrastructure is needed for the town to interact with its various intelligent environments (community centers, office spaces, parks, etc.)?
- What are the telecommunication requirements to build a smart city?
- What are the key considerations to build a smart city that will adapt to the town’s needs and where all the services will be interoperable?