Downtown Toronto is growing at an unprecedented rate, with more than 7,500 residents added annually over the past five years. By 2041, Downtown has the potential to reach 475,000 residents and 850,000 jobs. In fact, Toronto topped the crane index for the third year in a row in 2018, with more cranes in the skyline than LA and NYC combined. The rate of growth creates urgency in seeking ways to shape the built environment to handle this intensity of development without losing the distinct qualities that keep the heart of the city strong and liveable. Toronto can serve as an important lesson for architects, developers, and leaders from other fast-growing cities as they aim to encourage the kind of responsible, livable, vertical growth that sustains the city of the future.
The Building for Liveability study analyzes the importance of five principles – comfort, vibrancy, diversity, safety and beauty – through the following elements of liveability:
Access to sunlight in open spaces and streets
Pedestrian level wind
Daylighting for indoor spaces
Interface with public realm
Mixed use & flexible building design
The study process involved three key areas:
• Research on innovative practices and policies occurring in other cities, and how we tap the extensive internal network of experts;
• Heavy parametric modelling around microclimate recommendations to ensure that the impacts were being evaluated at a city-wide scale; and
• Strategic formulation of built form recommendations to integrate within Toronto’s planning framework.
The resulting framework supports Toronto’s Downtown Plan, an ambitious plan for the livable, sustainable, and vibrant future of the heart of North America’s fourth largest city.