In Toronto, Urban Amenities Lag Behind Condo Boom

Since it began in 1999, Toronto's condo boom has added 120,000 units to the city and, in the process, transformed its urban landscape. City leaders are just now beginning to address how to accommodate these new residents.

"In the last decade, the condo boom in Toronto has stacked the skyline with towers. Now, the approximately 250,000 to 275,000 people who live in them say that, in the race to build, city planners and councillors failed to adequately consider how to create neighbourhoods," reports Dave McGinn. "But the city is finally starting to listen."

“'I don’t think we anticipated, say, five years ago, or even before that, that this boom was going to continue,' says Peter Moore, project manager for the City of Toronto. Last month, the city launched the first of its kind series of public consultations to improve conditions for condo dwellers. The initiative is an acknowledgment that Toronto’s condo culture is here to stay." From poor condo construction to inadequate green space, participants' concerns extended from inside their units to the larger neighborhood.

“We need to be thinking much more extensively about … condos not as buildings but as part of a neighbourhood,” says Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s chief planner. “We’re seeing a significant transition in the landscape and the form of the city at this moment that really is the impetus for us beginning to think in new ways about how neighbourhoods are defined in the city.”

Full Story: How can Toronto blend condos and community?



During the NEON “community

During the NEON “community consultation process”, in Yonge/Eglinton neighbourhood, the community offered a number of solutions for improvement to the public realm in the immediate area and the pedestrian intersection in particular. They were ignored. Now a portion of the public realm has been signed over to a private developer. Yes, the North York (Toronto) Community Planning Department suggested and approved of control of a part of our public realm be given to a private developer!

All the local residents are asking for is that a thin strip of the public realm, still owned by the City of Toronto, be made available for the common good. A one metre strip is necessary to install a pedestrian island and improve public safety. But, they’re being told by the Toronto Community Planning Department that it would now need the permission of the owner of the land on the other side of the property line to agree.

I reflect on Jennifer Keesmaat’s Roundtable discussion of late and shake my head!

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