Toronto Confronts Challenges of Extreme Intensification

For Ken Greenberg, it's clear Toronto is "going through a metamorphosis of extraordinary proportions," comparable to the development of New York in the mid-20th century. He examines how the city must prepare for an unprecedented scale of development.

Greenberg takes the recent debates over a proposal for a massive new project by architect Frank Gehry destined for the city's theatre district as just the recent indication that, "[l]ike it or not, Toronto is becoming a different city. It's now clear," says Greenberg, "that we're transitioning to a city with a vastly different level of intensity."

So what will be required to maintain a high quality-of-life in this transformed city? Toronto must confront its "infrastructure deficit" he argues. "We have failed to make the investments in public transit that are urgently needed. Our narrow sidewalks and poorly designed streets are already jammed. We will need to invest in public services to accommodate the major increases in population. Our public spaces are meagre and poorly equipped and maintained."

Clearly, says Greenberg, the city must have a public conversation about the cumulative impacts of the massive projects transforming the city. And why not start with the project designed by hometown hero Frank Gehry, which has already engendered much debate?

"The extreme makeover of the King Street West entertainment strip may be the pretext or catalyst for exactly the kind of public conversation Toronto needs to have about the future of our city and its downtown."

Full Story: Extreme makeover: Toronto’s density challenges

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