Our Approach


Fotenn’s approach to the planning and design of places begins with one simple understanding: how your environment plays a role in shaping your life. Whether working on a large urban development or a small urban park, our planning and design teams consider the complex and symbiotic relationship of the client’s needs and the site’s physical surroundings while also maintaining focus on long-term community effects, implementation, maintenance methods and project management.

Because we know that effective and sustainable design requires careful integration of site features including aesthetics, ecology, circulation, infrastructure and economic viability, Fotenn is focused on so much more than just sites and buildings. All components of a space including, but not limited to, the framework of streets, squares, parks, plazas and gardens, are key contributors to fostering a sense of place.

At Fotenn, our interdisciplinary approach brings together creative and strategic thinkers in order to create places in a wide range of settings – from established downtown cores to brand new communities and to rural locations.

While our projects are all diverse in nature, they share one thing in common: a need for practical, high-quality and attractive results. With our wealth of experience in the field, knowledge of current trends and innovative vision, we have added and continue to add immense value to all the spaces we have created across Canada. As we continue to apply our expertise in site planning, land use, urban design and landscape architecture, we continue to guarantee high-quality, market-based results appropriate to their settings.

Because most of our projects involve stakeholder and community involvement, we work closely with our clients to identify ways to involve and receive feedback from residents, community groups, businesses as well as public sector stakeholders. Well-versed in running digital and social media campaigns, focus groups and community workshops, our team ensures your project receives exposure and feedback before, during and after the process.

At Fotenn, we challenge ourselves head-on and look forward to creating opportunities from imposed limits and constraints. Our end result is always the same: we create places where you want to be.

Our approach involves five key tenets:

Collaborating on the design of buildings and urban spaces is a diverse and multi-faceted activity which requires a broad range of experience as well as expertise. The process of interdisciplinary working, whether within organizations or across consultant teams, is essential to the delivery of a creative, yet balanced, set of proposals.

Fotenn’s planners, urban designers and landscape architects work within one of the largest and most forward-thinking interdisciplinary planning practices in Ontario. The talented individuals we rely upon are in-house and adept at working across a wide range of development sectors as well as in partnership with experts in varying fields as the need arises. This multi-faceted work dynamic ensures Fotenn generates credible and deliverable planning and urban design solutions.

One of the primary focal points of our practice is our understanding of “place”. In order to derive a holistic understanding of what makes a particular area special, we consider key elements such as architecture, landscape, built form, spatial typologies and topography. From there, the principal task becomes defining a clear method to preserve or enhance and then help deliver appropriate new development. A well-articulated plan, policy or design guideline will revitalize an area by ensuring any changes made are a positive experience and will benefit the affected space.

Fotenn prides itself on creating places for people based on the paramount understanding that “place” is not solely about buildings. We view “place” as a complex and intricate system that not only helps shape society but is itself moulded by the community that uses it.

At Fotenn, we never underestimate the gravity of the listening process. In order to be successful in defining a common set of objectives which leads to a genuinely-shared solution, we as urban practitioners know the importance of listening to our clients, co-consultants, community members and stakeholders. At Fotenn, we start projects in listening mode and from there begin the process of assembling tailor-made solutions piece by piece.

In order to take a leading role in the development process, urban designers are charged with input management from a range of contributors. From there, the goal becomes to shape a project that fulfils both the client’s needs and aspirations. To oversee a project from its feasibility stage through to implementation, Fotenn’s urban practitioners possess an in-depth understanding of the planning and development processes as well as the insight and ability to step back and view challenges in the appropriate context while providing balanced advice to the client.

The role of urban designer is fundamental in both the proposal promotion and explanation to varying audiences in a clear and credible yet engaging manner. Whether promoting a particular solution on behalf of a private sector partner or facilitating the inclusion of public opinion in the planning process, an open and honest approach is required from the urban designer. This method of transparency and flexibility encourages comfort and trust among all involved parties while maintaining focus on the proposal at hand rather than the process itself.

At Fotenn, our urban practitioners pride themselves on their ability to present proposals of varying type and scale to diverse audiences. Our resume boasts a local, national and international project list developed through workshops, general public meetings and open consultation.