Planning for Tall Buildings in Toronto: Livability and the Public Realm

Session: Opening Plenary - Searching for Excellence: Are Our Towers Good Enough?

James ParakhProject image

James Parakh
Urban Design Manager, City of Toronto Planning Department

The characteristics of excellence are evolving. There is a growing focus in the work being done at the City of Toronto and the services needed to create complete communities with a lens on livability. Recent new developments in downtown Toronto must comply with the Toronto Green Standard which improves sustainability. Many new developments incorporate new parks, privately-owned publicly accessible spaces (POPS) and open spaces, day cares, schools, community centers, and retail. The city strives to embrace heritage wherever possible and include a strong public art program associated with new development.

More broadly, successful cities incorporate a vision and plan that is constantly evolving, capitalizing on transit investment by all three levels (Local, Provincial, Federal) of government and answering questions such as, what are the key qualities of a successful public realm and streetscapes in the context of a rapidly densifying urban area? Livability and quality of life are key themes of discussion, with a focus on Toronto as an example, a city that has continually ranked high on The Economist’s lists of world’s most livable cities.