May 8-9, 2024

Join the BSI's summit and help develop forward-thinking solutions around smart sustainability based on societal and planetary challenges.

BSI Smart Sustainability Charrette

The Brookfield Sustainability Institute will host students, faculty, and industry experts from across the globe in an intensive 4-day design workshop.
Feb 23, 2023
Feb 27, 2023
3 Lower Jarvis St. Toronto


From February 23rd to February 27th, students from KEA Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, Politecnico di Milano, Università Commerciale L. Bocconi, University of Toronto, and George Brown College collaborated to address significant climate challenges across various subjects and geographical areas.

These challenges encompassed city planning, architecture and interior design, urban agriculture, and heritage conservation and revitalization. The workshop served as a collaborative platform for students to address these pressing issues, pooling their diverse expertise and knowledge to propose innovative solutions. The teams were assigned different real-life challenges in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), focusing on areas such as Smart Cities, Sustainable Buildings, and Circular Economy to explore potential solutions aligned with the principles of smart sustainability

What are the Streams?

Ways of Sharing

• The relationship between Working & Learning

• Themes: harmonization of work and learning practices, eco-friendly workspaces, sustainable learning methodologies

• Facilitator: Eric Meerkamper
• Case Study: FireNtegra

In a world facing sustainability challenges, the relationship between work and learning needs a paradigm shift. Traditional models contribute to environmental strain, and there’s a pressing need for sustainable innovations that harmonize work and learning practices.

This Stream will explore sustainable innovations in learning and work.

Determine how cutting-edge practices can provide solutions to the environmental impact of traditional approaches. From eco-friendly workspaces to sustainable learning methodologies,we’ll delve into transformative solutions that shape a greener future.

• The relationship between Health & Wellness

• Themes: holistic approaches to healthcare, mental well-being, community resilience, and inclusive care strategies

• Facilitator: Jane Cooke-Lauder
• Case Study: SourceFarm

Exploring novel ways of caring for individuals and communities.

In our fast-paced world, health challenges abound, impacting both individuals and communities. The traditional approaches to healthcare often fall short in addressing the holistic well-being of individuals, leaving communities vulnerable to various health-related issues.

This Stream will explore innovative solutions in the realm of Health & Wellness.

We’ll lead discussions on holistic approaches to healthcare, mental well-being, community resilience, and inclusive care strategies. We’ll delve into the latest advancements, compassionate strategies, and collaborative initiatives that contribute to healthier societies.

Ways of Caring

Ways of Living

• The relationship between Housing & Community

• Themes: redefine urban living, infrastructure development,and housing design

• Facilitator: Kristina Verner
• Case Study: Eglinton West

Our current living practices and infrastructure often contribute to environmental degradation and urban challenges.

Traditional approaches to housing and infrastructure can be unsustainable, posing threats to both the well-being of individuals and the health of the planet.

This Stream will explore cutting-edge solutions and sustainable practices that redefine urban living, infrastructure development, and housing design. We’ll envision and create a blueprint for tomorrow’s living spaces where comfort and environmental harmony coexist.

Key Insights

  • Smart sustainability is an approach that combines traditional knowledge of natural systems with the utilization of digital information technology to tackle environmental, social, and economic challenges.
  • This approach can be used to develop affordable and intelligent solutions that effectively reduce carbon footprint, minimize environmental impact and enhance the overall quality of life.
  • Implementing smart sustainability practices leads to the creation of better-performing buildings, occupants’ behavioural changes and renewed ecosystems to fight the global climate crisis.


As a result of this workshop, the nine participating teams developed the following sustainable solutions:

Short Food Supply Chain Project
Team 1 focused on the GBC culinary school and its community, developing a design solution for urban gardening that integrates modular nutrient production systems via aquaponics, smart tracking, and a digital experience. Their goal was to increase community value, foster food growth together, and build a supportive community.

Climate Positive Housing Development
Team 2 envisioned a sustainable housing unit for Guelph, a Toronto satellite city, with a focus on three user groups: students, families, and the elderly. Their goal was to create a sustainable neighborhood that provides affordable housing, contributes to a peaceful environment, and encourages active participation and fulfillment of residents' needs and desires.

Wooler Area Community Organization Project
Team 3 focused on restoring the Wooler School House to serve as the main community center for the public, tourists, locals, and seniors in the Wooler community. Bridging the past and future, their project aimed to create a sustainable and accessible space that preserves heritage, fosters community engagement, and supports rural development.

Linear City Project
Team 4 created 'Novarise', a sustainable and self-sufficient city located in Toronto as part of waterfront rehabilitation efforts. Novarise prioritizes next-generation environmental and social infrastructure to futureproof the city, optimizing form and function to serve multiple uses while enhancing human well-being and mitigating climate risks.

Deep River Interpretative Centre
Team 5 developed 'The Algonquin Legacy Lodge', aiming to reconcile history, promote sustainable practices, and strengthen Indigenous communities. This project seeked to restore the cabin, foster healing, and create space for cultural and environmental resilience while honoring the heritage of the Algonquins, settlers, and the potential of future technologies.

Sustainable Tourism Barbados
Team 6 developed Plenium, a project focused on providing comprehensive and compassionate reproductive healthcare services in Barbados. By offering medical services related to reproductive health, Plenium supports local businesses, culture, community, and the environment while contributing to the expansion of sustainable and resilient tourism options in the region.

The Gathering Place
A Housing Collaborative for Immigrants and Refugees: Team 7 developed a strategy for 'The Gathering Place' to create more affordable housing units in Scarborough and house options for homeless people while reducing the number of immigrants and refugees using shelters and people involved in children's services by 2026

The Chefs’ House Remodeling
Team 8 proposed an integrated remodeling of the Chefs’ House, Toronto's only student-led fine dining restaurant. Their design aimes to create an immersive dining experience that connects guests to nature through the five senses, providing a richer, more humanized dining experience while incorporating sustainable design principles and enhancing engagement.

Don't hesitate to join us on this insightful journey towards a brighter future.

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