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

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245