TCLF: Leading with Landscape Conference Presentation – Setting: Charles Birnbaum



Compelling and visionary designers and others examine Toronto’s international leadership in landscape architecture-based development. Provocative, headline-making speakers at this May 2015 conference in Toronto highlighted exceptional design and sustainability in world-class waterfront projects, the city’s extensive ravine system and it legacy of parks. To learn more about the conference: http://tclf.org/sites/default/files/microsites/toronto2015/index.html

Setting the stage for this third in our series of Second Wave of Modernism conferences, these opening remarks will encapsulate the trends outlined in our two similarly themed conferences held at the Chicago Architectural Foundation (2008) and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2011). However, this conference differs in that it will drill deep in its discussion of landscape architecture’s role in Toronto’s growth and evolution.

The speakers – from Canada, the Netherlands and the United States – collectively bring a global perspective to this discussion, and will tackle sensitive, intricate and interwoven issues – both opportunities and problems. We’ll begin by looking at the co-mingled and complex human and natural systems – including the world’s largest ravine system – that are the city’s foundation. Then the present and former city planner will look at 21st century Toronto as an emerging global city with historic roots, and lay the foundations for the discussions that follow on how best for the city to evolve.

Two afternoon panels will cap the day: the first, about several current waterfront projects that have helped to establish the city’s reputation as a leader in landscape architecture; then a final panel discussion will frankly look at innovation and failure. An underlying theme throughout the conference, that will also provide the narrative thread for this opening presentation, will be the stewardship of the city’s shared cultural landscape assets – natural, cultural, scenic and ecological — and the responsibilities to be borne for that by the city and city officials, residents, commercial enterprises and non-profits.

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