Toronto Metropolitan University
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Regional growth planning in practice: an examination of brownfield redevelopment activity in Guelph and St. Catherines

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posted on 2023-09-18, 20:17 authored by Claire Semple

For many cities, brownfield properties are an underutilized land resource. As a part of a comprehensive policy approach, A Place to Grow: A Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, encouraged development on  brownfield sites to fulfill urban intensification goals and

support regional sustainable growth objectives. Distinguishing between policy and practice, this study examines the extent to which brownfield redevelopment activity in two mid-sized cities, Guelph and St. Catharines, follows sustainable growth objectives and the implements the intent of the Growth Plan. Results were drawn from analysis of Records of Site Condition (RSCs) filed

on the Province of Ontario’s Environmental Site Registry, Community Improvement Plans and visual site inspections. Overall, brownfield redevelopment occurred in locations identified by the Growth Plan and achieved infill purposes, although the abundance of greenfield land in Guelph presented significant challenges. While market  mechanisms remained a determining factor in both cities, St. Catharines appeared to better influence sustainable character in redevelopment activities. Recommendations to facilitate brownfield redevelopment and support sustainable growth objectives are provided.

Keywords: brownfields; growth plan, redevelopment, infill, contamination, sustainability, community improvement plan





  • Master of Planning


  • Urban Development

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Christopher De Sousa