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

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

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 $209
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00