The process of improving poor, declining urban neighbourhoods is essential for the health and well-being of individuals as well as the prosperity of cities and nations. Despite the clear practical and ideological reasons for doing this, throughout history, governments and planners have struggled to find workable solutions. Today, it is becoming increasingly clear that in order to achieve equitable, substantive and sustainable improvements in poor urban neighbourhoods, the solutions must be layered and account for the interrelatedness of social, economic, and physical realms. Given the complexity of this process, this research suggests that bottom-up, adaptive and catalytic approaches to urban renewal can help planners to achieve substantive and sustainable change. Further, as contemporary urban theory suggests, the notions of landscape and place are uniquely well-suited mediums for supporting and producing change in a complex world. The Mayor's Tower Renewal Project in the City of Toronto, is an urban renewal initiative that demonstrates both the importance and complexity of urban renewal. As such, it provides an opportunity to understand how bottom-up, adaptive, and catalytic approaches which engage the urban landscape can result in significant improvements to the conditions of a declining urban area. Based on this analysis this research paper offers a new lens for thinking about and reacting to the process of urban revitalization in a way that produces equitable, long-lasting and meaningful change.