From 'Traffic' Planning to 'Transportation' Planning: Toronto's Pivot to the Future

Ken Greenberg, the former director of architecture and urban design for the city of Toronto, sits down to discuss how Toronto needs to transform to ensure a less auto-reliant future that serves a changing demographic of younger urban dwellers.
February 20, 2016, 7am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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George Socka

Toronto is at a crossroads according to the city's former director or architecture and urban design, Ken Greenberg. While the city continues to pour money into highway projects like the Gardner Expressway (saving a few commuters 2-3 minutes per day), newer residents in the city who have given up their cars (or never drove in the first place) aren't being adequately served. Luke Simcoe of Metro writes that Greenberg sees the city reacting too slowly to changes in consumer demand.

Greenberg, who helped revitalize Regent Park and is heading up the new Under Gardiner project, says the private sector has been quicker to adapt to the return of urbanism than city officials.

“Developers who are being driven by the market are providing fewer parking spaces in new buildings, for example,” he said. “We used to talk about two spaces for every unit and now we’re down in some places to one for every four units.”

Greenberg urged municipal leaders to follow suit, lest they cede their authority to developers or “disruptive” companies like Uber, Airbnb or Google.

Greenberg advises Toronto leaders to be less risk-adverse and take chances with new pilot programs with potential for positive change. "What a city really is is a giant R&D lab, full of trial and error. We need to embrace that..."

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Published on Thursday, February 18, 2016 in Metro
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