Urban Planning

Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Inevitable Rise Of High-Density Low-Rise Living

For the doubters out there, Toronto's housing landscape is proof that Darwin's theory of evolution is, in fact, the real deal. As single-detached houses join the list of endangered species here in the 416, we're seeing the emergence of new forms of high-density housing, made to survive this storm of rising prices and dwindling supply, all by virtue of their very design.
Adrian Wyld/CP

Canada Has A Housing Shortage. So Why's It Punishing Homebuyers?

Something happened in Toronto's housing market over the past year that really shouldn't happen in a free market. As home prices shot through the roof, the number of homes being built in the city dropped dramatically. Vancouver seems to be experiencing a similar problem. So what's going on here? Why is the supply of housing not keeping up with demand, even though there is so much money to be made? The answer, according to a growing number of experts, is that local policies and public opposition to development are killing off home construction, causing home prices to skyrocket.
CHRIS KEANE / Reuters

The Rise Of Canada's Uncreative Class

The American elections are increasingly relevant to Canada. The dominant urban discourse is self-centered and dismissive of others whose economic and demographic realities have pushed them out of the unaffordable urban housing markets. The elites have willingly become ignorant of what transpires in remote small towns like Thunder Bay whose survival is linked to the consumers and commuters in large towns.
Image Source via Getty Images

Canada Needs a National Urban Forest Strategy

Considering the environment never receives much discussion around election time, it should come as no surprise that the topic of urban tree cover is buried deep in the forest of political discourse, under a layer of heavy brush. However, I believe a big part of our national identity is tied to the environment, and our leaders should strive to improve the health of our communities and the Canadians who live in them.
Getty

How to Build Better Suburbs

Agrihoods can also be potentially profitable, partly by attracting buyers and appreciating property values. Agritopia is not only self-sustaining, but actually generates revenue by selling produce to upscale restaurants and chefs.
Andrew Perez

Pan Am Gentrified My Neighbourhood - What Happens After the Games?

Gentrification can crowd out, or displace, communities (typically ethnic) and social networks whilst newcomers transform the very character of our vibrant communities. It is a blow to low-income residents who often move out or stay behind only to pay higher rents. Our hidden agenda is not so hidden: Sustainable gentrification triggered by planned urban development -- not a brazen force blindly driven by dollars--that protects the most vulnerable in our communities long after the Pan Am athletes pack their bags.
Matt Cardy via Getty Images

The Hidden Costs of the Neighbourhood You Choose

When you buy a house the first thing your eye goes to is the sticker price. But buying a home comes with a major hidden cost that doesn't show up in the MLS report: Transportation costs could more than eat up the savings of a lower-priced home in the suburbs. The concept is called location efficiency and it's the amount of time, energy and greenhouse gas emissions you spend getting from where you live to the workplace as well as your other frequent trips. And location efficiency may be the secret sauce to saving money and getting that house in the neighborhood you never thought you could afford.
Vast Photography via Getty Images

Toronto's Pan Am Transit Plans Divide the City

The GO Transit network has sufficient capacity in the non-peak direction of travel during peak periods, and in both directions during off-peak periods. The government should offer free GO service in off-peak periods and in the non-peak direction during the peak period. The Pan Am Games should bring the City together in a mass celebration of the human spirit. The current plans require people to stay away or at home, which is against the very spirit of the Games. Let's plan better to have fun at the Games.

Yes, We Can Afford to Plan for Smarter Growth and Better Housing

Several articles have recently argued against smart growth planning on the grounds that it is the cause of our current housing affordability problems. The underlying assumption is that smart growth places artificial limits on land supply and therefore contributes to an increase in the cost of housing. This argument does not take into consideration the full range of factors that are responsible for the current escalation in the price of housing.
chat9780 via Getty Images

Toronto's Traffic Department Couldn't Be More Wrong About Lane Widths

While the City's traffic department sounds confident in its assertions, its recommended guidelines on lane widths are in stark contradiction to what we know from traffic engineering and safety studies. Narrower lane widths by default have higher accident rates. Even more disconcerting is the City's backgrounder on lane width guidelines, which states that traffic "throughput is independent of speed." Nothing could be more wrong about traffic flow than this statement.
Getty

Politicians Should Leave Transit Planning to the Experts

Unlike the past, when professionals led transport planning in Toronto, transport planning today has become the exclusive purview of poorly informed politicians. To have any chance of addressing gridlock, transit planning has to start with professionals who actually understand real needs and alternative solutions before political choices are made.
Chris Bruntlett

In Praise Of The Upright Bike

There are many other policy implications that come with the spread of slower, safer city bikes -- here in B.C., a big one is around mandatory helmet laws. Many such laws were passed at a time when fast, forward-leaning cycling was the norm, and safe bike infrastructure was virtually non-existent. When drifting along at a walking pace, in an upright position, on a dedicated cycle track, the notion of legally requiring head protection certainly changes.

Detroit: A City Revolution Built to Last

I was thrilled to participate in my first ever 'live' event as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum. But after hearing endless stories about the glamour of Davos, I certainly never expected that my involvement with the Shapers would bring me to Detroit.
Jumper via Getty Images

The Hard Truths About Public Transit in Canada

Some transit experts argue that commute times by high-speed rail transit are shorter. It is true for individual trips, but not for the entire communities. Commuters in transit-dependent communities, with ready access to subways, can take faster transit to their destinations, however shorter duration trips are enjoyed only by those whose trip lengths are shorter. With $29 billion in transport infrastructure spending already earmarked for Ontario, Steven Del Duca and Kathleen Wynne, will receive tons of unsolicited advice. They should, however, base their investment decisions on sound analysis rather than conjecture.
CP/GNM

You Don't Hate Your Commute, You Hate Your Job!

You don't hate your commute, it's your job. A Statistics Canada survey revealed that workers who disliked their jobs were much more likely to hate their commutes than those who liked their jobs. Our hatred of the morning commute may be driven by our unsatisfactory jobs. Extensive surveys of workers in Canada have revealed that our love-hate relationship with daily commutes is much more nuanced than what we had believed it to be.