Fear of "Hyperdensity" Grips Toronto's Leaders: Jonathan Nettler Planetizen

Originally posted on Planetizen.com by Jonathan Nettler

Since it was passed in 2006, Toronto's growth has largely gone according to its Official Plan, with new development clustered in key areas of the city. But the city's chief planner and others fear some areas are in danger of becoming "hyperdense".

Passed in 2006, Toronto's Official Plan aimed to "put new buildings on about a quarter of the city’s geographical area, keeping the three-quarters that is left – residential neighbourhoods, quiet, smaller streets – free from runaway growth," writes Marcus Gee. "As anyone can see from the thickets of development around nodes like Union Station or Yonge and Eglinton, it has been remarkably successful – too successful for some."

“We have reached this exciting and terrifying tipping point where we are starting to question whether it could be there is something called too much density,” said Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto's chief planner. “There are some areas of the city where we are seeing too much density – hyperdensity – and there are other areas of the city where we are seeing no growth at all.”

"She worries that transit, parks and other necessities of city living won’t keep up with the growth," notes Gee. "[city councillor Adam Vaughan], who represents a downtown district where new buildings are rising left and right, says he shares the concern. He drops another word for it: vertical sprawl."

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Published on Sunday, December 22, 2013 in The Globe and Mail