The Quest to Make Vertical Living Family-Friendly
By Mimi Kirk via City Lab
From the 1950s through the ’70s, Toronto built up. High-rises appeared downtown as well as in suburban areas, and a good number of them featured spacious layouts and amenities such as playgrounds to attract and accommodate families.
Of course, larger spaces in central areas mean higher prices, and Toronto, like many cities, is already dealing with a crisis of affordable housing. A recent report from Ryerson University’s Center for Urban Research and Land Development argued that Ontario’s government has caused the crisis by failing to provide the correct balance of housing types, encouraging the construction of too many condos and not enough single-family homes. Through its guidelines, the City Planning Division aims to increase the supply of such family housing—albeit in high-rises. As the authors note, their recommendations consider “how needs traditionally met in low-rise housing could be translated into vertical living.”
The authors suggest that this strategy occur in tandem with other housing policy initiatives aiming to make dwellings more affordable, such as inclusionary zoning and the use of Section 37, in which a property owner can offer a “community benefit” in exchange for constructing something that doesn’t comply with zoning regulations; the benefit can take the form of affordable units. For instance, a property owner may be allowed to build a residential tower higher than zoning permits, as long as they set aside a number of units for low-income residents.
“Our objective is to build an inclusive city and future-proof our housing stock,” says Oppedisano.
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