Landscape Infrastructure Works as Catalyst in Urban Design: A Case Study Exploration of The Corktown Common Park in West Don Lands, Toronto

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Zhang, Zenan

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University of Guelph


The process of designing new urban infrastructure in an established urban context is described as “embedded process” in “plug-in” urban design. Due to the potential of urban infrastructure design to directly influence the quality of urban environments, embedded processes in “plug-in” urban design has become an issue worthy of consideration by landscape architects. Using an in-depth literature review of urban design theories--from both cultural and ecological perspectives-- and interviews as research methods, this thesis analyzed the effectiveness of landscape infrastructure in acting as a catalyst in “plug-in urban design.” A set of design principles was deduced from the study and tested on the award winning Athletes Village for the 2015 Pan-American games at West Don lands, Toronto. The results of this thesis provide guidance for future improvement in landscape infrastructure and “plug-in urban design” projects.



landscape infrastructure, “plug-in urban design”, urban catalyst, comprehensive design principle