Process

Success comes from collaboration and organization.

We can accomplish amazing things when consultants, clients and stakeholders come together, then we go away and work.  We schedule project work around regular, intensive working visits over the course of several days or longer. Clients are busy too. They have our undivided attention during work periods, and it helps them more effectively accomplish their goals.

We collaborate to innovate.

On every project, we form a core team of talented consultants to identify and respond to the key questions at hand – experts in transport, market/economic, sustainability, and more – we work with the best international and local partners to provide a balanced range of perspectives.

Facilitating a stimulating discussion.

We believe in bringing people together to tackle complex problems. Urban Strategies’ design charrettes are less about presenting, and more about working together with multiple stakeholders – experts and lay people – to analyse, illustrate, design and test solutions. We have developed tools such as on-the-spot 3D modelling to allow groups quickly, iteratively and successfully collaborate.

The critical third dimension.

High quality graphic elements are an important aspect of our projects and are an incomparable way to illustrate the key elements of the concept in its larger urban context. Our model makers are adept at crafting compelling illustrations of developments and master plans. We are able to fulfill all aspects of model making, utilizing architectural physical models for initial sketch model creation, to more detailed and articulated presentation quality models and detailed digital massing diagrams, shadow studies, CAD renderings, animations, and photo-realistic or conceptual renderings.

Show, don’t tell.

We develop appealing and informative presentations, newsletters, posters, open house panels, interactive web sites, and professional illustrations to convey complex technical information and address a purpose, such as explaining decisions, soliciting input or promoting an initiative. Our materials are professionally designed, highly visual, and allow us to reach – and hear from — audiences who may not have been able to attend events.

Reaching an online – and mobile — audience.

We continually use new technology in the consultation process, including social media, video, blogging and other tools. Online channels are no longer nice-to-have luxuries, but rather expected components of any serious public consultation exercise. Successful online consultation programs complement face-to-face processes while leveraging social and digital media tools to educate and encourage new kinds of dialogue. By combining  our extensive public consultation experience with our skills in communication and facilitation, we have developed an approach to online consultation that leverages the power of new media technologies to generate dialogue, solicit feedback, and educate wide audiences about city building.

A culture of continual learning.

We love to learn and to teach, as a way of ensuring we understand the latest theories and research into city-building and best practice world-wide. Many of our Urban Strategists teach at University of Toronto, York University, George Brown College’s Institute Without Boundaries and lecture across the world.  We also benefit from welcoming interns to join us for internships. Continuous collaborations with talented designers, engineers and economists spark new ways of thinking about problem solving.

Sustainable from the inside out.

Responsible and progressive land use planning forms the basis of all of Urban Strategies’ work. Our team has been at the forefront of developing and implementing large site sustainability strategies in a number of master plans. We have planned three LEED-ND sites and have led city-wide Environmental Master Plans. Our internal culture is based on a green model: everything from catering to coffee to paper (100% post-consumer). We use Bullfrog Power, ensuring that our power comes from clean, emissions-free sources. We regularly cycle to work, and participate in City-run bike programs to encourage a healthier commute. All employees have access to bike and car-sharing and transit for business travel.