Opinion: Less Is More When it Comes to Politics in Planning
Brad Bradford, current Toronto city councilor and former urban planner, pens an opinion piece for Spacing Toronto that calls for a less political planning process.
"We all know planning in Toronto can be improved," writes Bradford. "Having worked in the City Planning department, I also know the path to better planning is through better politics."
Bradford admits a pro-development agenda in making this appeal, while pointing to specific policies in the city that prevent desired planning outcomes.
Outdated systems like Toronto’s site-by-site community benefits for density bonuses (Section 37 benefits) and certain politicians riding NIMBY sentiment into office have left us stuck with out-of-date zoning, and a strong aversion to change.
Zoning isn’t glamorous but bad rules have left Toronto with too few shelter locations, a misallocated housing stock with around 2 million unused bedrooms, and an oversupply of low density buildings surrounding our major transit corridors.
The op-ed includes a detailed list of prescriptions for change, but one big idea looms over the entire discussion: a proposal by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to revive the Ontario Municipal Board with a new name, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. News coverage by Jennifer Pagliaro provides details of that proposal, and reports on the initial political response to the idea.