Taking cues from the great universities of the world and building on a 2008 Campus Master Plan, Ryerson University has embarked on a long-term plan to upgrade the institution's public spaces. To be carried over the next several years, the project will be undertaken in multiple phases to guarantee timely implementation. Yesterday, Ryerson officially unveiled the new Ryerson University Campus Public Realm Plan, which will adhere to the university's existing Master Plan Principles and Academic Plan.

Ryerson University, public realm plan, TorontoRyerson campus map, image courtesy of Ryerson University

The public realm plan drew from public feedback generated last year in response to an online survey and open house of January 2015. A comprehensive plan for the institution's public realm was developed over the course of the subsequent 13 months, covering Ryerson's main campus area, as well as outlying major buildings like the Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Ted Rogers School of Management.

The plan highlights the importance of placemaking, planting, lighting, public art, and greenery, with public feedback putting first priority on Gould Street. Now, new concept designs are revealing an upgraded public realm that puts priority on pedestrian accessibility and safety, while improving the university's campus experience beyond the classrooms.

Public realm design concept, image courtesy of Ryerson UniversityPublic realm design concept, image courtesy of Ryerson University

Among the many improvements being promised, new paving will be a major aesthetic element in the plan. Utilizing durable, high-quality paving materials, the existing pedestrian conditions surrounding the Image Arts Centre, Devonian Pond and the Student Learning Centre will be replicated and extended to the rest of the campus. Repaving efforts will be coordinated with the local BIA to ensure cohesion.

A number of other pedestrian improvements are also proposed, including a new 'Dismount Zone' in the area of Gould Plaza and Devonian Park, where bike traffic would be prohibited on weekdays from 8 AM to 6 PM. Instead, cyclists would dismount and walk their bikes through the area, keeping pedestrian traffic as the number one priority.

View north on Victoria Street, image courtesy of Ryerson UniversityView north on Victoria Street, image courtesy of Ryerson University

Proposed lighting improvements include the addition of "signature" pedestrian scale lighting on Gould, Victoria, Bond, and Church Street, as well as the introduction of decorative lighting in laneways. Other major lighting features being proposed include the architectural lighting of Kerr Hall, and the addition of specialized lighting for main building entrances and terminating vistas. All proposed lighting upgrades would be energy efficient, with the capability of being upgraded to LED lighting in the future.

Public art will play a more prominent role in Ryerson's upgraded public realm, with a handful of major installations tabled for multiple locations around the campus. Adding to these major installations, a greater number of minor art installations would populate the area's open spaces and secondary public routes.

You can learn more about the new public realm plan by visiting this link. We will be sure to follow along as the new plan is executed over the course of the next few years. In the meanwhile, you can let us know what you think by leaving a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.