Six Canadian projects have made a global list of the 100 most innovative and inspiring urban infrastructure developments.
Projects – ranging from a renewable energy system that feeds off yard waste to a billion-dollar airport redesign – in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Courtice, Ont., and Richmond, B.C., join a collection of international cities recognized by the Infrastructure 100: World Cities Edition report, released on Tuesday by the KPMG infrastructure advisory practice.
The list chronicles creative, large-scale projects from around the world, some that seem pulled right from the pages of science fiction, and many of which have price tags in the billions.
The projects represent dramatic investments in the way people are transported, housed and even educated, and how cities are dealing with energy, waste and urban regeneration.
The Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University for Women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is included. The school covers eight-million square metres and was built in just four years to accommodate 40,000 students. Also recognized are The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, a $90-billion (all figures U.S.) project, and the Tianjin Eco-city in northern China.
Brad Watson, head of KPMG’s global infrastructure advisory practice in Canada, said the list is designed to inspire cities to get creative with their infrastructure challenges.
“In the global and Canadian context, significant portions of our populations will be living in dense urban centres, and that requires a change in the way we do things,” he said. “And underneath all that is the infrastructure.”
SAIT Polytechnic’s Trades and Technology Complex
The addition to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is set for completion this year and will add 740,000 square feet of training space to a school that focuses on energy, construction and manufacturing. Judges were impressed by the emphasis on vocational training.
Calgary International Airport Development
A winner in the category of “global connectivity,” the $1.95-billion expansion will more than double the size of the airport, and is part of a federal government strategy to improve the province’s infrastructure to accommodate anticipated economic growth. The project includes the country’s longest runway, at 14,000 feet, a central de-icing facility and an international concourse that incorporates sustainable design principles.
University of British Columbia’s Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility
A biomass-fuelled heat and power research project at UBC was one of the standouts in the “urban energy” category. Instead of steel or concrete, the building will be constructed using cross-laminate timber, a renewable material made from bonded layers of wood. A collaboration between the university, Vancouver-based Nexterra Systems, and General Electric, the system will generate clean electricity from waste wood to power 1,500 homes and reduce the university’s natural gas consumption by up to 12 per cent.
Harvest’s Energy Garden
The country’s first high-efficiency system for producing renewable energy from food and yard waste. The $4-million project will divert up to 27,000 tonnes of food and yard waste per year from provincial landfill sites and power up to 700 homes in the Lower Mainland area, while also producing high-quality compost.
Durham York Energy Centre
Recognized as a leader in waste management, the new centre will be able to process up to 140,000 tons of residential waste per year, while recovering both materials and energy. The Durham and York regions already have aggressive composting and recycling programs, and this centre is designed to take care of any waste that’s left over.
Ten years into a 25-year plan, a lot of Toronto residents forget that this is one of North America’s largest urban regeneration projects, focusing on 800 hectares of underused land. The plan includes 40,000 new residences (20 per cent of which are designated as affordable housing), 40,000 new jobs, new transit infrastructure and 300 hectares of parks and public spaces.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the location of the Durham York Energy Centre. This online version has been corrected.