Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is ‘Visionary (re)Generation’?
A. Visionary (re)Generation is the process of planning, designing, and reimagining the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus both now and into the future. This process began with the Open International Design Competition for the campus and the Southwood lands, which ran from December 2012 to October 2013. It is now continuing as the University works with the winning team, in collaboration with University and community stakeholders, to develop a new plan for the Fort Garry campus and Southwood. The main components of this process are:
1) The Visionary (re)Generation Master Plan (University Campus)
2) The Southwood Lands Local Area Plan (former golf course lands)
The Visionary (re)Generation Master Plan will establish a vision and framework for the evolution of the entire Fort Garry campus over the next 25 years. The Local Area Plan will demonstrate the development intent for the former golf course, providing direction and guiding land development, infrastructure investment, and the built environment.
Q. When will new development occur?
A. The completion of the University’s Space Master Plan has resulted in a detailed understanding of utilization, condition, requirements, and status of current space on campus across all faculties, departments, and units. This comprehensive inventory will help determine what types of new buildings and spaces will be needed in the future. Once a need for new building has been identified, proposed building projects at the Fort Garry Campus will be evaluated to ensure its location, orientation and design align with the Visionary (re)Generation Master Plan. Following the approval of the Visionary (re)Generation Master Plan by the University Board of Governors on April 12, 2016, any new campus development must align with the vision and intent of that document.
Due to the nature of proposed development in Southwood, the University cannot directly undertake development activity as it would be in violation of its charitable status. Development in Southwood will be implemented by an arm’s length entity. The University is currently in the process of establishing a development agency that will implement development in Southwood on the University’s behalf. Revenue generated from Southwood development will be directed back to the University. Once the Southwood Local Area Plan is drafted, the development agency will take the Plan through the City of Winnipeg approvals process. Following Plan approval the subdivision and re-zoning process will begin; where lots will be created that can be leased by developers who will build a variety of projects that align with the Southwood Lands Local Area Plan.
Q. How can people be involved in the process and give their input?
A. An integral component to the Visionary (re)Generation process has been the continuous engagement of University and community stakeholders. Engagement will continue as the approved Visionary (re)Generation Master Plan is unveiled and the Southwood Local Area Plan is developed. In addition to upcoming engagement events, the Visionary (re)Generation website and Twitter account will serve as platforms where people can provide feedback and stay up-to-date. People interested in participating or wanting to learn more are encouraged to contact us to receive information via email or to request a Community Conversations event.
Q. How can I stay informed about what is happening throughout this process?
A. It is our goal throughout all phases of Visionary (re)Generation for people to remain informed on what is happening. The Visionary (re)Generation website is a useful tool, serving as a platform to provide feedback, receive announcements of events, updates on the process, and background on Visionary (re)Generation, including links to competition submissions, materials, and information. In addition to the website, a Twitter account (@visionaryregen) will provide updates on the process and upcoming events as they happen.
Q. How does Rapid Transit play a role in the development of the Fort Garry campus?
A. Providing Rapid Transit service to the Fort Garry campus will allow for the development of a dense, mixed-use transit and pedestrian hub that offers convenient access to the campus and reduces personal vehicular traffic in Southwood, allowing the development of medium- and high-density housing. Access to our campus shouldn’t require a car and we shouldn’t have to plan our development around parking.
Q. Where exactly will the Rapid Transit station be located?
A. One of the mandates of the Open International Design Competition was to propose the location(s) for one or more Rapid Transit hubs, and to integrate rapid transit within the vision for long-term campus plan. Though locations of these hubs have been proposed within the winning submission, the City of Winnipeg is the authority that will determine station locations as part of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor Phase 2 routing planning. Winnipeg Transit, in collaboration with the U of M, has identified Investors Group Field and the current Dafoe Rd. stops as University Rapid Transit stations. In addition to these stations there will be numerous stops which provide better access to transit service throughout campus.
Q. Buses already travel to the Fort Garry campus along University Crescent, King’s Drive and Chancellor Matheson. Why do we need a Rapid Transit corridor too?
A. Through a proper planning process the Fort Garry campus can be transformed into a world-class showpiece of collaborative, sustainable, mixed-use development focused on pedestrian movement, rather than automobile use. It would improve connection and access to and from other areas of the city, enhancing the attraction to living and working on campus. Rapid Transit will be the spine in a vibrant network of pedestrian walkways, interconnected facilities and greenspaces that will stretch from Pembina Highway to the Red River―growth that will attract visitors and residents alike. Rapid Transit provides the opportunity for fast, reliable, convenient service for students, staff, future residents and visitors. Although Bus Rapid Transit will provide higher quality bus service to campus it will not compromise the walkable, human scaled concepts communicated in the Visionary (re)Generation Plan. Once buses enter the future Southwood community and core campus, they will be traveling at slower speeds and in mixed traffic.
Q. What was the Open International Design Competition?
A. The Visionary (re)Generation Open International Design Competition was the visioning phase to select a winning consultant team to develop a master plan for the Fort Garry campus, including the development of the former Southwood Golf Course. The competition was an open call to design professionals from across the globe to submit their proposals to re-imagine the Fort Garry campus. 45 teams representing 17 different countries were selected to submit proposals, with 6 teams moving on to the secondary phase where more detailed proposals were submitted. After many evaluation sessions conducted by technical experts and panel members from an international jury, one submission was selected as the winner. The winning team composed of Janet Rosenberg & Studio Inc. and Cibinel Architects Ltd., with Landmark Planning & Design Inc., and ARUP Canada Inc. has been working with the University of Manitoba and members of the community on developing plans for the campus and Southwood. More information on the 5 finalist teams can be seen in the gallery section here.
Q. Who won the competition?
A. The competition was won by a team composed of Janet Rosenberg & Studio Inc. (Toronto) and Cibinel Architects Ltd. (Winnipeg), with Landmark Planning & Design Inc. (Winnipeg), and ARUP Canada Inc. (Toronto). More information on the winning submission can be seen in the gallery section here.
Q. What was the winning submission like?
A. The winning submission presented the strongest vision for Southwood and the Fort Garry Campus as a whole, following the concept of “landscape first.” This design concept recognized and emphasized Southwood as a special place that doesn’t exist anywhere else, and built upon this unique local context.
The concept suggests a pattern of both landscape and urban elements, which establishes strong connections to the river – a form of landscape-urbanism that neither follows the structure of typical downtown developments nor of mono-functional suburban neighborhoods. The concept instead promotes ‘a place of living in the prairie’. While the winning design presented a very strong concept, it is not a finished product, and there is still work to be done to further clarify and develop this concept into a campus plan.
Q. Will the walking/jogging/ski trails in Southwood remain?
A. The winning proposal envisioned a great deal of greenspace to remain within the Southwood Lands, with a network of parks and open spaces interconnected through recreational trails that weave throughout the new community.
While the planning process is underway and before development begins, the Southwood Lands will remain open to the public for light recreational uses that includes, walking, jogging, skiing, etc.
Q. What does the University of Manitoba plan to do with Southwood?
A. Taking ownership of Southwood offers a chance for the University of Manitoba to transform the entire Fort Garry campus and how people think about it. It is a rare opportunity to do something unique and transformative; to be aggressively sustainable in our thinking as we integrate the future development of the existing campus space with Southwood’s 120 acres, to allow for the future needs of the university while developing a vibrant interface with the community, in the form of a new, sustainable, multi-use neighbourhood. We see the potential for our campus community as a whole to become a 24/7 live/work/learn/play environment. We will move away from being a commuter campus towards a vibrant campus community destination. Development will be determined through the integrated planning phase of Visionary (re)Generation.
Q. What are the benefits of developing Southwood?
A. It gives us a chance to think about several important things: the future academic needs of the university, the way we connect to the city proper, and the opportunity we can offer potential students, residents, neighbours and visitors to be part of a new, vital and attractive community that blends our existing campus infrastructure with new and innovative development. The area will be designed to be attractive to students and staff, to residents from across Winnipeg and to tourists, thus helping with the city’s economic and social development. A well-designed community will have all amenities within a few steps, offering a comfortable and desirable lifestyle. This community will not be defined by an automobile-dependent plan; rather, the master planning process has begun with a focus on public space and ‘landscape first.’ In this approach, pedestrian access is a priority and single-vehicle roadways are secondary. It is more important to integrate human movement and living space within a vibrant, mixed-use, sustainable community.
Q. Could the University of Manitoba simply retain Southwood as greenspace and focus development on other areas around the Fort Garry Campus?
A. Southwood provides an opportunity to create a thriving neighbourhood that will both enhance the campus experience and support the University’s core mandate for excellence in teaching and research. This area is an opportunity to create a model sustainable community with a mix of greenspace, public space and higher-density buildings. Rather than turn our backs on the city and its people, development of the Southwood precinct will be an organic extension of the Fort Garry Campus and, through good stewardship and planning, create a pedestrian-focused community that will be an inviting and desirable destination. Maintaining Southwood solely as greenspace would enforce the physical barrier between the University of Manitoba and the rest of the city, perhaps even reinforcing any perception of the University of Manitoba as an area of the city cut off or otherwise set apart from the surrounding community.
Q. How many people do you eventually see living in Southwood?
A. If medium or high-density living spaces are developed, 4000 to 5000 residents may eventually reside in Southwood over a 30 year development period.
Q. What about the residential components? What kind of housing are we talking about?
A. To make the Southwood a true pedestrian-friendly community, housing would be a combination of medium and high-density buildings, such as apartments or townhomes, and possibly condominiums. Proposed housing will include a diversity of types that are inclusive and will encourage a range of cultures and lifestyles. High and medium density housing that integrates a mix of uses and amenities (offices, cafes, restaurants, etc.) will contribute to the vibrancy of the community while allowing for more land to be dedicated to greenspace.
Q. What about the greenspace itself?
A. It is the desire of the University of Manitoba to maintain a large portion of the Southwood Lands to remain as greenspace. Typically, new urban developments include approximately ten per cent greenspace; however this does not foster the type of pedestrian oriented, vibrant community that is envisioned for the Fort Garry campus. The creation of an extensive greenspace network will connect students, residents, visitors, and staff to the surrounding parks and natural areas while moving through a unique sustainable neighbourhood.
Q. Will there be access to the Red River?
A. During the engagement process the river was identified as a tremendous asset that must be incorporated into our plans. The creation of a new master plan presents a significant opportunity for additional river access on the Fort Garry campus. Any effort to improve access to the rivers will be sensitive of the unique ecological context of the river bottom forest and will not result in the destruction or loss of this ecological asset.
Q. What will be developed along Pembina Highway in the Southwood precinct?
A. Just as the University could open itself up more to the river, it could do the same with Pembina Highway. It is a major arterial route connecting the south end of Winnipeg to its centre, yet the current campus is removed from Pembina. There could be a new entrance to the University created along Pembina Highway that would allow Rapid Transit vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and automobiles into the new Southwood community.
Q. That could be years from now. What will be going on in the Southwood precinct before development begins?
A. Currently Southwood is available for light recreational use such as walking, jogging, cycling, skiing, or bird watching. The University has constructed an interim access road off of Sifton Road to service maintenance requirements related to the interim use of Southwood as a passive recreation area. This road will be used only by our Physical Plant workers and our contracted maintenance supplier which is temporary in nature, and is not part of the future Southwood development plan. Maintenance of Southwood will respect the university’s sustainability model of best practices, using an Integrated Pest Management Program driven by education and research during this interim period.