Northcrest Developments

Placemaking & Public Art Master Planning for Northcrest’s 1st District

A cultural placemaking & public art strategy for a massive Toronto 56-acre redevelopment project

Placemaking & Public Art Masterplanning

Placemaking & Placekeeping

Strategic & Creative Consulting, Analysis, Research & Feasibility Studies

Placemaking & Public Art Master Planning for Northcrest’s 1st District | MASSIVart - Placemaking & Placekeeping

Northcrest Developments is a Toronto-based developer leading the master plan and redevelopment of the Downsview Airport Lands situated in North York, Toronto.

Over the next 30 years, the 370-acre site will transform into a series of walkable, low-carbon communities, complete with new employment uses, amenities, acres of parks and open space, and a robust mobility network, all anchored by one of Canada’s largest urban parks. More specifically, the first phase of this project encompasses a 56-acre mixed-use district that will be transformed into a thriving employment hub that builds on Downsview’s legacy of aerospace innovation.

MASSIVart was mandated as Northcrest’s cultural placemaking & public art consultant for this first district. As part of our mandate, we delivered two master plans:
① An Art, Culture & Creative Placemaking Master Plan detailing a holistic vision for the placemaking strategy of the future district.
② A Public Art Master Plan: a program & public art strategy which was developed in support of a development application to the City of Toronto.

Our goals with the master plans were:
-To contribute to building an attractive and cohesive cultural and artistic identity for the future neighbourhood;
– To create a comprehensive framework that will guide strategic investments in terms of public art and placemaking;
– To provide a range of strategic recommendations and opportunities to activate the future neighbourhood;
– To showcase how to involve the community in the decision-making process;
– To support the community as an active contributor to the social and cultural fabric of the District.

Our master plans required extensive research with over 70 global benchmarks and 14 community stakeholder interviews. It was a collaborative work where 20 other consultant firms were involved and where iterative adjustments had to be made to align with the vision of the neighbourhood as it evolved.

Community, placekeeping, urban wellness, DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity), sustainability and creativity were the guiding principles behind our vision for the District’s placemaking strategy. We envisioned the placemaking strategy of the District as a creative instrument created for and by the local community, embodying the uniqueness of the land and positioning the District’s identity as one of Toronto’s leading creative hubs. Our framework provided over 60 strategic recommendations and hundreds of creative ideas to transform the neighbourhood into a vibrant creative community.

This mandate was an incredible opportunity to play a central role in shaping the future of Toronto, and making the city a model in terms of inclusive placemaking & placekeeping. As creative placemakers, we believe that the public realm is important in how people connect to each other and to their environment. We are committed to providing a relevant framework through which the placemaking initiatives can thrive and truly be rooted in Downsview’s future and current communities and identity.