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  #81  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2019, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
This reporter seems to think growth within city limits is the more telling number...reporters typically don't get this stuff.
A rapid increase or decrease in city population tells a lot about the health of a city. The rapid intensification occurring in the city of Toronto is fascinating to me as a trained urban planner. What is the impacts to public transit transit? Is the more compact growth having a positive impact on the city's finances compared to the cost of servicing low density sprawl? Is the rapid growth changing existing neighborhoods or is gentrification causing displacement?

While metro populations are important, I'm rarely impressed with how some forum members use this metric: almost like it's pissing match every year when the numbers are released. I don't necessarily care that one metro is sprawling more than another. What's much more interesting to me is how neighborhoods and cities are changing. The metro area populations is a small component of that story, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

The author of the article presented both city proper and metro populations, so what are you even talking about anyway?
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  #82  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2019, 6:22 PM
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Originally Posted by C. View Post
A rapid increase or decrease in city population tells a lot about the health of a city. The rapid intensification occurring in the city of Toronto is fascinating to me as a trained urban planner. What is the impacts to public transit transit? Is the more compact growth having a positive impact on the city's finances compared to the cost of servicing low density sprawl? Is the rapid growth changing existing neighborhoods or is gentrification causing displacement?
Toronto’s transit system is strained at capacity in key corridors, particularly line 1, which is the only subway line to effectively serve the 500,000 jobs located downtown. There is another east-west subway line on the northern edge of downtown which is away from where most of the job growth is occurring. The rapidly expanding commuter rail system has taken up a lot of the slack, although this is only used by suburbanites to commute into the core. Elsewhere things just get more congested. There are a number of expensive transit and highway projects underway, but most of them are not going to where the jobs are and therefore won’t make much of a difference.

Municipal finances have not really suffered; the City cannot run an operating deficit, and property taxes have risen but are a) not completely out of line with inflation, and, b) are low by North American - even Canadian- standards. As a ratepayer, and user of city services, I don’t have much to complain about. I hear staff at some departments are stretched, though.

Gentrification is surprisingly benign. This might have to do with the fact that Toronto might build a sufficient supply of housing stock that caters to would-be gentrified, namely small condos for professional singles and couples. However the rental stock is very precarious- much more so than a comparable American city, since Canadians have failed to build purpose-built rental for at least a generation. A lot of units are owned by private landlords (I.e. condos, or units in a converted house) that could flip at any time. Rental increases are limited to 1.8% a year, but there are many stories of landlords jacking up rents for multiples of that.

This is just my view. Other Torontonians might have different perspectives.
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  #83  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2019, 7:33 PM
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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toron...ment-1.5162903

Quote:
Province's plan to allow taller towers in midtown, downtown Toronto draws blowback

Councillor calls series of proposed changes 'giveaway to the development industry'
CBC News · Posted: Jun 05, 2019 11:04 AM ET | Last Updated: 2 hours ago

Another political battle is brewing over the province's plan to change key aspects of Toronto's official development plans, including allowing taller buildings to be erected around transit hubs.

The revisions will specifically impact the midtown and downtown areas. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark says the looming amendments are necessary to increase the city's housing supply and boost affordability...
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  #84  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2019, 10:48 PM
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So basically Doug Ford is now mayor of Toronto and the Conservative MPPs are the city council. I think it's funny. Democracy in action.
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  #85  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post

Gentrification is surprisingly benign. This might have to do with the fact that Toronto might build a sufficient supply of housing stock that caters to would-be gentrified, namely small condos for professional singles and couples. However the rental stock is very precarious- much more so than a comparable American city, since Canadians have failed to build purpose-built rental for at least a generation. A lot of units are owned by private landlords (I.e. condos, or units in a converted house) that could flip at any time. Rental increases are limited to 1.8% a year, but there are many stories of landlords jacking up rents for multiples of that.

This is just my view. Other Torontonians might have different perspectives.
Just looking at the stats for the 2016 census vs 2011 NHS, it does seem like there is relatively little of the stereotypical gentrification taking place in the core. In fact, the bottom decile of the income distribution has been growing across the board. The top decile has also been growing across the board. The upper middle class has been growing too. The lower-middle class is the group that's growing the least.

(it's not too surprising every group is growing since the inner city grew by about 10% in that time)

But most neighbourhoods are middle class or better, so maybe that's another reason why there's not much talk about gentrification. It's only once you get to the more fringe areas that incomes are lower (and declining) like York-South Weston and Scarborough Southwest.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 12:15 AM
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This is probably not a popular opinion here, but why do Western cities have such a strong fetish for "green space?" Most of the new parks and "green space" seems to be just patches of grass. We don't build em like we used to, thats for sure.

And to the article, was a seasoned urban planner planning "green space" that basically connects to a new transit station? If so, fire him.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C. View Post
A rapid increase or decrease in city population tells a lot about the health of a city. The rapid intensification occurring in the city of Toronto is fascinating to me as a trained urban planner. What is the impacts to public transit transit? Is the more compact growth having a positive impact on the city's finances compared to the cost of servicing low density sprawl? Is the rapid growth changing existing neighborhoods or is gentrification causing displacement?

While metro populations are important, I'm rarely impressed with how some forum members use this metric: almost like it's pissing match every year when the numbers are released. I don't necessarily care that one metro is sprawling more than another. What's much more interesting to me is how neighborhoods and cities are changing. The metro area populations is a small component of that story, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

The author of the article presented both city proper and metro populations, so what are you even talking about anyway?
The point is they talked about the city-of population growth as if it was the regional population growth.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 1:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
So basically Doug Ford is now mayor of Toronto and the Conservative MPPs are the city council. I think it's funny. Democracy in action.
the funny thing is if Ford didn't lose the mayoral race he wouldn't be the premier of Ontario now and if the current mayor of Toronto, who is a former leader of the OPC, had won his election for premier, he probably would be the premier of Ontario right now and not mayor of Toronto.

it went like this
John Tory becomes the leader of the OPC but loses the Ontario election and doesn't become premier, he decides to run for mayor of Toronto against Doug Ford and wins.
Doug Ford loses the mayor race against John Tory and runs and becomes the leader of the OPC and becomes premier.
Doug Ford governs Ontario but spends a huge amount of time and effort involved with the City of Toronto, having more power over Toronto than a mayor ever could
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  #89  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 3:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
This is probably not a popular opinion here, but why do Western cities have such a strong fetish for "green space?" Most of the new parks and "green space" seems to be just patches of grass. We don't build em like we used to, thats for sure.

And to the article, was a seasoned urban planner planning "green space" that basically connects to a new transit station? If so, fire him.
Where does it say anything about green space next to a transit station?

Anyways, I think public spaces next to stations aren't a bad idea, especially very busy stations, but they should be relatively small.

Park planning also needs to have a clear vision of what kind of park they're designing.

Is it a secluded area of wilderness to get away from people and the city (ex parts of Stanley Park)?

A place to get away from the noise and congestion but away from people (ex a lot of Central Park)?

A quiet little space to eat lunch and do some people watching?

A playground?

A bustling urban plaza?

A park designed for specific activities (pool, basketball, soccer)?

(and of course parks can serve multiple purposes and even benefit from targeting multiple kinds of uses)
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  #90  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 4:05 AM
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Wow. There are many examples in North America where a city council will set zoning limits below what they should be to appease vocal NIMBYs and neighborhood associations, but this is probably not the case here. This is even a bolder move than New York state did for the Brooklyn Yards arena.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 9:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
This is probably not a popular opinion here, but why do Western cities have such a strong fetish for "green space?" Most of the new parks and "green space" seems to be just patches of grass. We don't build em like we used to, thats for sure.

And to the article, was a seasoned urban planner planning "green space" that basically connects to a new transit station? If so, fire him.

"Green space" is a term that allows for weird lawns and meaningless spaces. We should speak of parks, gardens, and squares, and build accordingly.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by C. View Post
Wow. There are many examples in North America where a city council will set zoning limits below what they should be to appease vocal NIMBYs and neighborhood associations, but this is probably not the case here. This is even a bolder move than New York state did for the Brooklyn Yards arena.
City councilors in Toronto are very against height and don't follow the province's rules on allowing more density, some try to have a bunch of non-descript buildings classified as historic to prevent redevelopment. So this is a great move by the Ford government to stick it to the NIMBYs. I hope he expands this to cover more of the city
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  #93  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 5:33 PM
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City councilors in Toronto are very against height and don't follow the province's rules on allowing more density, some try to have a bunch of non-descript buildings classified as historic to prevent redevelopment. So this is a great move by the Ford government to stick it to the NIMBYs. I hope he expands this to cover more of the city

That's not really true at all, if you are familiar with the plans, consultation sessions, what was submitted to the Province and what was returned. Yonge-Eg is already well above the residential density target and the Province is killing provisions for employment, for instance. All of those single family homes are still preserved and they just want to throw more tall towers (without consideration for design, that was cut) into an increasingly overburdened area.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 6:36 PM
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Even as a 905er, I don't see why single out the City of Toronto in terms of not allowing density. Is Toronto really the worst in the GTA in terms of density and high-rise construction? Maybe singling out Brampton would have made more sense. But if City of Brampton is not allowed to have any say in city planning, then why have a City of Brampton to begin with? The affordability issue is mostly local, maybe regional at most, not a provincial issue, and I don't think it has much to do with lack of high-rise construction, nor is it only about residential affordability.

And from a pure affordability standpoint, taking away municipalities' revenues from construction and also expecting them and their taxpayers pay for services for even more new people also doesn't make sense. But this isn't really about affordability, is it? Just like everything else the Conservatives do, it's really just taking control away from the people and putting it into the hands of the corporations,.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 6:55 PM
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That's not really true at all, if you are familiar with the plans, consultation sessions, what was submitted to the Province and what was returned. Yonge-Eg is already well above the residential density target and the Province is killing provisions for employment, for instance. All of those single family homes are still preserved and they just want to throw more tall towers (without consideration for design, that was cut) into an increasingly overburdened area.
A lot of the stuff in the Yonge Eglinton Secondary plan sounded great on paper and looked at in isolation, the problem was that when they were all combined they resulted in almost 0 residential density permissions. The plan would essentially have strangled development as once you get all the required setbacks, tower separation distances, integration of heritage, mid block connections, minimum landscape provisions (45% of the site!), and all that, you are looking at an acre of land that has a few thousand square feet to put a building on.

Combo that with the last minute council amendments that cut most of the height limits essentially in half (well below what has been getting approved), and you get a Yonge-Eglinton that would have been an extremely difficult place to develop. Right on top of the largest public transit investment in the province in a generation.... It just didn't make sense.

The downtown plan had a lot less issues. The no net new shadow on parks, minimum 25% mixed use requirements, and no new residential in the financial core was overly restrictive and should have been tossed, but most of it was solid policy. It's a good thing those are gone if you ask me, but it's a shame the parks and community facility sections got gutted as well.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 6:56 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
That's not really true at all, if you are familiar with the plans, consultation sessions, what was submitted to the Province and what was returned. Yonge-Eg is already well above the residential density target and the Province is killing provisions for employment, for instance. All of those single family homes are still preserved and they just want to throw more tall towers (without consideration for design, that was cut) into an increasingly overburdened area.
Toronto is a low-density city on a global scale and there is no place in the city, ie Yonge and Eglinton, that cannot handle more density.
If Toronto had the density of Brooklyn, it could hold the entire population of the GTA within the city limits.
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  #97  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 7:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Innsertnamehere View Post
A lot of the stuff in the Yonge Eglinton Secondary plan sounded great on paper and looked at in isolation, the problem was that when they were all combined they resulted in almost 0 residential density permissions. The plan would essentially have strangled development as once you get all the required setbacks, tower separation distances, integration of heritage, mid block connections, minimum landscape provisions (45% of the site!), and all that, you are looking at an acre of land that has a few thousand square feet to put a building on.

The prescriptive nature of setbacks in the submitted plan were overbearing but that is something that could have been worked out iteratively with the province instead of the top-down approach that was taken. I actually like the allowance for minor intensification of the few "neighbourhood" areas within the plan area, although these are so few as to be more or less meaningless. The big issues are constraining the city's ability to oppose development on the basis that appropriate infrastructure is not in place (this is a MAJOR issue in the area), and further to that the ability to collect funds through development to fund both this infrastructure and other community amenities.

Realistically though, shoving a few more tall buildings in an already congested area isn't going to do anything for the affordability or livability of the city. It's a gimme to developers and that's pretty much it.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 7:45 PM
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And there are lots of other subway stations to build around that aren't on Yonge Street, especially the newest stations.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 9:49 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
The prescriptive nature of setbacks in the submitted plan were overbearing but that is something that could have been worked out iteratively with the province instead of the top-down approach that was taken. I actually like the allowance for minor intensification of the few "neighbourhood" areas within the plan area, although these are so few as to be more or less meaningless. The big issues are constraining the city's ability to oppose development on the basis that appropriate infrastructure is not in place (this is a MAJOR issue in the area), and further to that the ability to collect funds through development to fund both this infrastructure and other community amenities.

Realistically though, shoving a few more tall buildings in an already congested area isn't going to do anything for the affordability or livability of the city. It's a gimme to developers and that's pretty much it.
Why is it always a "giveaway" or a "gimme" to developers to...develop? You guys act like they have like some special genie which allows them to correctly guess lotto numbers or something. Developers take risk, this is why a lot of these projects never get off the ground(like literally, Spire in Chicago comes to mind).

Theres nothing wrong with developers building. And the statement that a few more tall buildings will do nothing for affordability is EXACTLY what a NIMBY would say. What you fail to see, is if everyone in the city had the same mindset as you, there would be much worse consequences then you're seeing now.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 10:23 PM
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Toronto is a low-density city on a global scale and there is no place in the city, ie Yonge and Eglinton, that cannot handle more density.
If Toronto had the density of Brooklyn, it could hold the entire population of the GTA within the city limits.
When I was a kid in Toronto, and it was the 90s and the densification trend hadn't really kicked in yet, I still recall my teacher saying (after returning from NYC on a trip) how she was glad Toronto is so different from many cities in having lots of green space (I think she was referring to the Toronto ravine system) where vegetated natural areas like parks and woodlands so close to the inner city seemed natural, unlike many urban parks (like say Central Park).

I'm not convinced that Toronto's unique in that regard or anything, but it goes to show Torontonians, while some are cheering on density, still kind of like their green space.

Then again, it's clearly not the ravines or parks that are going to be built over (Toronto learned from Hurricane Hazel in the 50s to avoid building around easily flooded areas).
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