Connecting Home to Work

THE ISSUE

The Greater Toronto Area is expected to increase by 3 million people in the over the next 30 years[1]. This is clearly a major opportunity, but also a major challenge. It will add more than 100 million sq. ft. of office space, which represents over 650,000 more commuters on our roads and transit every day. Given that the Region’s growth has led to some of the worst congestion in the continent, past practices should not be repeated. Remaining competitive as a place to live, work and invest requires aligning this new development with appropriate access. This will only happen if we create a more coordinated approach to infrastructure and real estate investment that effectively connects where people work to where they live.

ABOUT SRRA

In order to address this, Strategic Regional Research Associates (SRRA) was created to convert data into practical solutions that inspire smart investment.

SRRA assembles and analyzes relevant data to understand how to make public infrastructure investments align with private development drivers in the Region. This work investigates which investments will yield the most value relative to the existing and planned infrastructure. The evidence we generate will create the foundation for making coordinated public and private sector investment decisions. We have defined this collaborative planning process as “Shared Value Creation”.

The SRRA process has been underway since 2008. We created a strategy for Mississauga Office Development that has led directly to new planning policies and a highly valuable transit alignment now planned for Hurontario St. Following that work in 2011, the “New Geography of Office Location” demonstrated that the location of major office employment had shifted in a very short time frame from downtown Toronto to non-transit locations and this was directly reducing the competitiveness of the Region. In 2013, SRRA produced the “Region in Transition” study which showed the benefit of collaboration between land use policy, transit planning and economic development. These benefits linked the shared value of both public and private sector investment in building a better environment in which to live, work and play.

We have established a “Syndicated Research” model in which many stakeholders provide sustaining funding and direction to the research. This enables intensive research that is beyond the budget of any individual organization, while providing balanced input and guidance to ensure non-partisan, evidence based findings. Each partner can use the outcomes as they see fit, knowing that it has a broad private and public sector support.

Our first project under this model is to identify the most likely nodes for this new office space development: “Identifying GTHA’s Future Office Locations.”