Are Planners to Blame for Toronto's Mediocre Architecture?

The Toronto Star architecture critic Christopher Hume introduces a provocative premise - the city's "planning-by-default" approach is responsible for a skyline of sameness.

Whereas developers usually get the blame for the mediocre design of the buildings they pay for, Hume points his finger directly at Toronto's "nervous" planners, who take a "checklist approach to approval." 

"Despite concerns about the sustainability of the glass-walled condo and the monotony they have brought to the Toronto skyline, these are not issues that concern city planners. That’s someone else’s department."

"For planners, the main thing is to ensure that everything fits in — in other words, that nothing stands out," he argues. "As long as a building isn’t too tall, too dense, or too good, the department is happy to give its approval."

"As the endless glass towers make clear, the result is a city of sameness and desirable only because it offends the least number of people, is most easily defended and keeps planners from having to justify their actions."

Full Story: How Toronto planners ensure mediocrity


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!