Golrokh Keshavarz

Golrokh Keshavarz

Toronto, ON, CA


Towards a New Waterfront - Photography project winning submission

To me, the success of an urban plan and design is not measured by how well it is supposed to work in theory, how “pretty” it is, or how famous the architect/developer is.A successful design is determined by how well the space works for the people using it and how well it fosters healthy communities.

I have chosen to depict CommUnity by photographing and focusing on the revitalization of Toronto’s Waterfront—an area which, for a long time, was a contaminated eyesore. In recent years it has been undergoing a multi-stage process of revitalization which has started to transform the area into functional multi-use spaces for the public. The overall master plan for the area has not been fully realized but I have focused on the parts that are finished and in use by the public.

The eastern part of the project is a wider scope spanning from the edge of the water up to Queen St E. As the area is in the early stages of realization, it is lacking certain amenities, residences, and is surrounded by large construction sites. Needless to say the site has yet to reach its full potential, as the activities happening in the location are relatively sparse compared to the more established west side of the project.

My decision to focus on this stretch of land was due to three factors: 1) it is currently the largest revitalization project in North America; 2) it takes contemporary urban design ideologies into consideration and has won numerous awards for it; and 3) Toronto’s Waterfront community is not only made up of the people who live and work in its vicinity, it is also a destination for people and communities from all over Toronto, the GTA, and the world who gather there for a multitude of reasons and activities, making Toronto’s Waterfront truly a CommUnity. 

The images I have selected depict how the design of the physical space is fostering activity and CommUnity. Only time will tell if the project, in it entirety, is a true success. For now, it seems like most of the spaces are off to a great start.

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Status: Built
Location: Gallery 918
My Role: Photographer and Currator