Business Retention and Expansion

Business Retention and Expansion

Group assignment discussing Economic Development for Urban Planners. Concept: To write a chapter in an instructional book (the tally of the class compiled in to a completed assignment)


Christopher Evan Jones

Natalie Lindsay

Personal Contribution

  • Section 5.3 A Case Study
  • Section 5.4 Developing Economic Communities
  • Section 5.5 Identifying Trends
  • Section 5.6 Predicting Trends and Pressures
  • Section 5.7 Conclusion


5.1 Introduction


Business retention and expansion (BR&E) Priority should be to work with businesses already in the area to ensure their needs are satisfied and help them expand; creating a supportive culture for businesses that will be attractive to other businesses.  Potential investors may interview local business owners during their site selection research process, and any demonstration of a community’s pro-business attitude existing programs such as local business support programs, are a strong incentive.

  • Statistics show that “around 60%-80% of all new jobs come from existing businesses in an area”, (Phillips, P. D., 1996).
  • Businesses are making relocation decisions every day.
  • One objective of having a BR&E program is to better understand the decision factors that influence intra-regional business relocations and to better understand the economic impact of the relocation on its current location’s community.
  • Recognizing areas of high turnover as indicative of issues that must be addressed through a strategic and comprehensive BR&E program.  Lengthy property vacancies hurt an area’s economic development and affect an outsider’s perception of an area.
  • High business retention projects the area in a positive light and motivates other businesses to also establish a base in the area.
  • A good strategy for expansion is both cost-effective and efficient.
  • Business expansion can mean anything from expanding the infrastructure to an increase in capitol, to the number of employees.
  • The benefits of a BR&E program include the evasion of potential lost jobs and the overall economic impact an area experiences when a major corporation or even a smaller established, local business shuts down or leaves.  Retained businesses have higher expansion potential and the employees from these businesses are already trained, providing an appealing human resource pool.
  • Every community should have a BR&E program because everyone benefits.  The factors that make a community attractive to outside investors – reasonable operating costs, available infrastructure and sites for expansion, a supportive and cooperative local government, and high quality living conditions – are the very same factors that ensure the continued operation, contentment and growth of existing businesses.  When local businesses thrive, so do their communities.  Supporting businesses development opportunities gives businesses contentment to remain where they are and they actively participate in a sustainable cycle of job creation and tax revenue.
  •  BR&E programs are in no way “mutually exclusive or antagonistic to business attraction programs”(Phillips, P. D., 1996).
  • When established companies move out of an area, or when corporate downsizing∕ restructuring occurs, the action has the potential to devastate a community.  When large numbers of people with similar job skills suddenly re-enter the job market within a smaller community, the competition makes it extremely difficult to get a new job.  Also, older workers that are close to retirement age have an even harder time finding new employment, because the cost for retraining may be too high and they are not viewed as a good investment by the company.  On the other hand, in dealing with corporate restructuring, retention and expansion have an upside as well. Generally, as a multi-location company closes some facilities, it moves the operations from the closed facility to remaining facilities, which in turn benefit from increased numbers of employees and investment.


Existing businesses are major contributors to a community’s economic development and tax revenues.  Collectively, they employ the highest numbers especially when they go through expansions and their role as ambassadors to the community provide valuable incentive to potential new business investors.

According to Phillips, the overall mission of a good BR&E program must be to support local businesses to become more competitive thus allowing for expansion.  To achieve this mission, a BR&E program must meet a variety of goals such as:

  • demonstrating commitment to existing industry
  • increasing productivity of the local work force
  • assisting local firms to find technical assistance
  • creating an early-warning system so as to be aware of facility reductions or closures
  • providing networking opportunities so that firms can work together to solve common problems
  • providing a unified voice for business in dealing with legislative issues
  • improving the local quality of life
  • working to correct general business climate liabilities and capitalize on assets
  • attracting local investment into the area
  • working with individual firms to address their specific problems


To accomplish these goals, a retention program would need a well thought out and comprehensive development strategy, along with passion and persistence to succeed.

5.2 BR&E Technical Models


The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce BR&E program provides a model of the 4 keys to successful retention and expansion:

  1. Prioritize a business retention and expansion program within the company.
  2. Provide an unwavering commitment of funding and human resources to allow for up-to-date interactions and research that yield valuable information on a company’s position.
  3. Carefully plan and target efforts to allow for optimization of resources and higher success rates.
  4. Integrate retention efforts into all organizational activities so all relevant invested parties are informed and involved.

There are four key components of a good retention program:

  1. Compile Employer Information – Develop a detailed database of basic company information and statistics, such as number of employees, products, the company’s address, business contact person, phone number, e-mail address, who the company’s top executives are, etc.  This general knowledge portrays interest in the company and allows the CEO Interviews to be more focused on industry insights.
  2. Conduct CEO Interviews – Effective surveys should be purposive, strategic telephone or personal interviews that consist of open-ended questions regarding current market research, business climate options, business climate ratings, labour availability, corporate expansion or relocation plans, predictive information and customer satisfaction.  Changes in attitudes of customers are predictive of problem identification (if negative) and service improvements (if positive).
  3. Compile and Analyze the Data – Analysis of all the interviews and surveys, and preforming a risk-assessment through strategic questioning would enlighten the researchers to potential priority issues that need to be assessed.  The cumulative responses from the surveys help researchers identify competitive advantages, trends, opportunities and constraints.
  4. Compose a Strategic Marketing Plan – Give consideration to action indicators from survey assessments.  Decide how the survey results affects marketing strategy, consider any implications, risk factor, if more extensive research is necessary, attitudes, responses, opportunities for business attraction.  Focus responses to solving existing businesses’ immediate problems.  Pre-emptive actions work best in this scenario because action is taken before the situation is dire.


To show their support and foster working relationships and trust with the local businesses, community economic development offices could also consider offering the following services to existing manufacturing companies:

  • Compilation and publication of a directory of major corporations and employers.  It would serve as a human capital tool and a networking tool for the area that could also be utilized by other departments.
  • Formation of a liaison committee with the economic development department, community business managers, the mayor, city manager, or other city management officials whose purpose is to hold meetings (monthly or quarterly) to discuss any concerns or suggestions they have.  The goal being to foster and maintain working relationships that ensure companies remain.
  • Maintain a database of area statistics, including demographics, a current list of available expansion properties, utility information, and laws pertaining to zoning, environment and taxes.


5.2.1    BR&E Models


  1. The Ombudsman Approach – A proactive problem solving approach involving written communication between business leaders, the local government, relevant stakeholders and committees.  Review survey assessments and take action to solve issues. For example, if the issue is declining market, build a support team to research options, new or compatible markets for the company.  Operating within a specified time period, inform clientele of actions, and make periodic progress reports to company.
  2. The Cooperative Extension Model (An External Approach) – The Cooperative Extension Model is an early model for community based manufacturing outreach.  The program utilizes survey format to assess the needs of local manufacturing businesses and develops a task force of community leaders to make recommendations for any identified issues.
  3. NIST’s Manufacturing Outreach Model (An Internal Approach) – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created the model to help mid-sized manufacturing companies (less than 500 people employed) to upgrade their business practices allowing for improved business performance.  Some issues it addresses are poor quality, high inventory, long lead times, and shrinking margins.  NIST Centers work individually with manufacturers to make improvements to a specific aspect of their business operation.
  4. The Competitive Advantage Model – This model addresses both internal and external factors at the same time to effectively combine the best aspects of the other two manufacturing outreach models, the Cooperative Extension Model and the NIST’s Manufacturing Outreach Model, to give manufacturers a more competitive stance.  All manufacturing businesses must continually improve themselves to stay current and profitable.  This model suggests the company’s management team maximize their point of quality, price, and/or method of delivery.  Those companies employing the Competitive Advantage Model “can be super-innovative in their use of new process technologies, marketing, or service techniques to capture niches where others would find it difficult to compete” (Hines, B., & Clark, S., 1997).  External improvements pertain to taxes, labour force availability, fees and training, and are tied to conditions outside the influence of the company’s management such as the economic and political realms.  Public- Private Partnerships would be promoted for higher levels of community involvement with the company to maximize both internal and external improvements.Some retention programs consider soliciting other local businesses that stand to benefit from retaining these manufacturing companies, to raise funds to support them.
  5. MO-GRO: Missouri’s Growth and Retention Opportunities Program – Missouri’s Growth and Retention Opportunities Program utilizes best practices from other models to empower communities to establish effective BR&E programs.  The basic goals of the program are:
    • Identifying at-risk companies and providing necessary assistance to retain them.
    • Identifying growth- potential companies and providing assistance with their expansion efforts.
    • On-going involvement and support of community leaders for existing businesses, and educating them on economic development issues.
    • Create more opportunities for local governments to more efficiently direct financial assistance to existing businesses.

Various approaches to BR&E programs have different strengths and weaknesses. The reactive or responsive approach taken by most communities are usually more intensive, take on a ‘crisis management’ role, and provide immediate applicable technical assistance to the specific company.  Whereas, it is not anticipatory and may attempt to address problem after it is already too late. The anticipatory programs, usually found in university extension programs and communication companies extensively address all businesses within targeted community’s range, but due to the broad focus, may not always respond with the kind of intensive technical assistance as the former programs.


The primary reason for lack of success of a BR&E program is improper time management, “…activities with a critical time frame often push aside the vital but non-critical activities of business retention and expansion” (Phillips, P. D., 1996).


5.3     A Case Study


Case Study

Case Study

On February 3rd, 2012 the ElectroMotive Diesel manufacturing plant in London, Ontario shuttered their factory floor after 62-years of operation. This comes after a long strike by employees after first having their workforce cut down and them being asked by its new multinational parent company Caterpillar to halve the salaries of their remaining employees. The argument made was these measures were required to remain cost-competitive to other markets, regardless of their posting of a $5 billion dollar profit last fiscal year. The end result was the direct loss of over 700 people in the community and unforeseen losses from auxiliary jobs from the lost income and a $1 billion dollar hit to the regions GDP, or approximately 5% (Grant, 2012).

While London, Ontario has an active Economic Development department that helps with applications to government grants and export assistance, current models used in BR&E failed to keep this and other companies from moving out of other Ontario regions. London has a high number of educated people with sought-after skills; there was little incentive within the city to encourage Caterpillar from moving. Moreover this was not a loss to an overseas emerging economy, but a move of just 800-km over the border where union legislation is more lax with wages and employment was depressed after a hard economic recession (Grant, 2012).

There was no quick fix to this situation. Monetary incentives are not allowed under Canadian law and corporate tax rates are already lower in Canada than the United States. $5 million dollars of tax credits were dispatched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008. What could have been done would have been more long-term determination and actively seeking the advice of the parent company to discover their needs and potential reasons for leaving. As well, identifying the industry as a major contributor to the economy and leveraging their suppliers and customers with incentives for relocation closer to the city may have made it a more impossible situation for the company to consider leaving. Working with other levels of governments to promote the business on trade missions may have made them feel more inclusive to the Canadian market and entice loyalty.

Co-operation with the company would have also stopped the consumer backlash that occurred after the move. Mark’s Work Warehouse, the largest supplier of trade uniforms and the clothing arm of Canadian Tire, pulled all Caterpillar goods, including their high-selling construction boots, from their shelves after the announcement to close the plant until workers were fairly dealt with (Canadian Press, 2012). As we emerge from the recent economic downturn and return to levels seen before 2008, resource prices are distend to rise back up to record levels and the dollar will advance above and beyond parity. This will place pressure on industries such as manufacturing and exports, which still constitute the third largest job numbers in Canada. Creating an environment that will retain industry and allow them to flourish will ensure that the next decade is not a repeat of mistakes seen in the past (Bradford, 2003).

5.4     Developing Economic Communities


As with any structure, the survival of a viable and expansive business culture requires as sound and sure foundation. The communities that surround a business support their staff, production and ability to grow; and the quality of these communities provide reasons to remain, curtailing the lure of other economic areas and encourage growth if they are seen as attractive and stable over the long term.

A region must be open, creative, sound and, more relative today, green in order to retain and attract business. New or expanding industries need the support both of the community and its levels of administration in order to thrive – building new economic connections and leverage the surrounding physical and social capital to excel.

5.4.1 Open Communities

  • Transparent and Co-operative Policy Structure – A change in the recent administration at Toronto City Hall called in to question the expediency of the Waterfront redevelopment, a plan that called for systematic and thorough allocation of services and development over the next two decades. The existing internationally-awarded plan attracted the attention of multinational, Texas-based Hines development group and their proposal became their first foray in to the hot Canadian market. Differing views and closed-door maneuvering of the new administration threatened the project that would have brought over 650,000 sq. ft. of new office and retail space (Hume, 2012)Developing a transparent and transitional policy structure is required to effectively attract and retain business.
  • Multi-Tier Participation and Co-operation – Businesses require support from all levels of governance, specifically if they are geared toward inter-regional or international trade. Working with upper-tier economic development departments or combining policy to eliminate bureaucracy will simply business expansion and cut costs on transactions, freeing revenue for other activities. Smaller communities can benefit from regional or national program, such as capital funds, tax rebates or training programs. Tying local economic policy to other agencies can show strong support for businesses and communities (Bradford, 2003).
  • Web Portal Technology eGovernment refers to services and information about municipal policies available openly online as well as connecting the differing silos of services together. By eliminating the leg-work and time required to approach city services businesses feel better suited to conduct expansion in a specific area. See Chapter 8: Information Technologies as an Enabler to Economic Development

  • Open Data – Open Data facilities works off the concept of the Open Source movement in computer programming, where public information is freely and easily distributed by city departments for non-commercial uses.  This not only projects a vision of a transparent government but encourages research and development with social ingenuity. Currently, most major metropolitan areas in Canada have adopted – in varying degrees – open data technology with measureable success and provincial government beginning to follow suit (Open Knowledge Foundation, 2011)

5.4.2   Creative Communities

  • Post-Secondary Education – University and Colleges not only contribute to a growing creative class, but add research avenues to the community that businesses may leverage or collaborate with. Schools can provide valuable research at limited costs, new technologies or methodologies of manufacturing and stand to replenish the workforce with highly educated young adults – required to combat trends in demographics as baby boomers retire (Florida, 2002).
  • On-Going Training – Shifting economic conditions, new technologies and changing international social dynamics require employees to be up-to-date with new methodologies of conducting business and manufacturing. Providing the facilities and grants to continue to improve human capital will ensure industries that a rolling-stock of employees is readily available and able to work in complex or technical employment.

    Ontario Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs works with small communities and businesses through its RED (Rural Economic Development) program creating skill-based training for the food processing sector for jobs retention (M0AFRA, 2011).

  • International Accreditation Acceptance – Canada has been built by immigration since its inception, but recent arrivals are finding it harder to ply their profession. The immigration system requires, through a point-based system, to have specific levels of education for entry which local schools or businesses do not recognise. Developing training and programs to integrate new arrivals can provide higher levels of available human capital as well as connections to overseas markets (Schellenberg & Boyd, 2008).
  • Research & Development (R&D) Investment


    Business expansion comes from new opportunities and ideas. Providing loans for small business or creating culture centres for the open sharing of ideas can create new innovations or help industries find new business partners. Design exchanges and collaborative environments, seen with the health sciences and technology driven MaRS facility in Toronto not only provide services to the surrounding hospitals, they create new markets and inter-industry trade. Often, these facilities require only a small bit of seed money to begin and incentives through donated land, simplified application and development processes and incremental financing to ensure time for roots to take hold in the business community (Treurnicht, 2011).

  • Subject Matter Experts (SME) Availability – Industries, particularly small- or medium-sized or new technology up-starts do not necessarily have the resources to hire full-time employees for particular tasks, such as patent lawyers, computer developers or marketing executives. Attracting these professional services available within the community encourage smaller companies to remain and expand and attract new clusters as success builds. Larger businesses benefit from these outside consulting services for fresh ideas or third-party confirmation for policies.

5.4.3   Sound Communities

  • Fiscal Stability – Industries perform due diligence on every investment, including its potential hires. Establishing a new business or expanding an existing one follows the same process and it is ideal for a community to easily show its potential value in the present and in the long-term. Having a sound budgetary process and wide margins in tax levies allow more room for creative financing or capital support meet changing business needs.
  • Incentives and Opportunity – Even large businesses sometimes need assistance in capital investments, even at the best of times. Taxes incentives, such as incremental financing, simplified development charges, research and development grants and creative partner-pairing can build loyalty within the community.
  • Established Social Services – While universal access to health care and lower cost prescriptions have been a draw for companies from the United States – other services have to be ready and plentiful within the community and geared to current or potential employees. Understanding the needs of each industry and their workers can direct city services to encourage growth and attract similar businesses.
  • Happy & Healthy Employees – Leveraging the natural capital and providing recreational facilities create a healthy and productive work force, expanding business opportunities and providing incentive to keep businesses local. The City of Caledon uses its natural resources to develop recreational and outdoor programs not only to benefit tourism, but to keep one of its largest employers, Husky Injection Moulding – known for its program of maintaining healthy and fitness-oriented work environment – active in the community.

5.4.4   Green Communities

  • Carbon Footprint – LEED certified buildings, recycling programs, alternative energy sources and zero-impact landscaping are all bonuses used by companies to reflect a green initiative that attracts customers, meets ISO or FSC requirements and allows for trading in eco-funds, building interest, loyalty and capital with its customer base.
  • Environmental Credits – Developing credits for inventive eco-friendly ideas or offering community services matched to time shifts to ensure that a company’s employees are serviced with a public transportation alternative help alleviate or eliminate traffic, often an undue stress placed on workers that affects productivity. Attracting creative talent often needs an employer to show interest in making life easier and better for them and the community.
  • Government Support & FIT Programs – Not only do green technologies reduce the carbon-footprint and make energy consumption costs more predictable, often with government support and Feed-In Tariff programs can create profit for industries with large excess output. Combine the uses of waste and want between industries can create a network chain of disposal that will not only benefit each business but limit the expenditures for city departments that service these business areas. Development charges can also be lowered for green-roof technologies (MoEDI, 2012).

5.5     Identifying Trends

5.5.1    Enterprise Clustering

  • Broad and Deep – The ideal economic climate is one that has a multitude of differing industries with a number of supportive industries to create networks, limit costs and foster competition. The ideal marketplace for business is one that fosters creativity; a dynamic spectrum of services, markets and feed-ins; and hold regional and international connection (EIU, 2012).
  • Horizontal and Vertical – Economic clustering, horizontally with similar industries or vertically with feed-in or out-put sectors of existing companies can lead to expansion of existing business. This can be from competition or collaboration, building economies of scale and decreasing transportation costs and meeting Just-In-Time delivery (JIT). Horizontal expansion also allows for economic redundancy so that if a firm fails for whatever reason, others would be available to ensure that there is no stoppage in the supply chain (Casico, 2009).
  • Diversity – Depending on a single industry, however lucrative, is open to changes in the economic climate or changes in technology or consumer sentiment. Elliot Lake is a prime example how a city, once dedicated to Uranium production collapsed not because of lack of the resource, but changes in international policy, public opinion and commodity speculation. Capitalising on its former success, profits were used to create two alternative industries, one vertically from its original becoming the leader in decommissioning mines and the other leveraging the natural and physical capital left over from the industry – creating a tourist destination (Planscape, 2006).
  • Inventorying Existing Businesses – Understanding the current business climate and its direction aids in finding current deficiencies in the overall economic health of the region. Querying local business leaders and conducting annual surveys help expose trends, track successful policy and quickly indicate when certain policies may have outlived their usefulness – freeing up capital for other development. The Toronto Employment Survey, conducted annually by students, helps the economic development department find areas of new clustering and exposes warning signs that can grow in to unwieldy problems down the road.
  • Projecting Future Opportunities – Understanding the needs of current industries is only the first step in retaining employment. Working with companies in preparing a long-term vision and providing the resources to determine future needs can help executives build investment in capital and ensure that city resources are efficiently and effectively spread.


5.5.2   Competitive Indexes

  • Quality of Life and Human Capital – Professional services companies and international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Economic Forum regularly develop indexes rating cities and countries on their performance and opportunity for business development. In recent years, metrics such as the quality of life and knowledge capacity have been ranking more heavily in the termination of successful regions (WEF, 2011).

    Ensuring that the people of a region are properly serviced and have access to quality healthcare and education creates capacity to attract new industries that are evolving out of the wake of globalisation and the shift of business overseas.

  • Repairing Physical Capital –
    Physical Capital

    Physical Capital

    Much of the utility and transportation infrastructure in Western nations was built just after World War II and has long past their expected life-span. It is estimated that the infrastructure deficit for municipalities alone in Canada is over $100 billion (Mirza & Sipos, 2009) dollars while austerity measures both federally and provincially is making it difficult to partner with these governments for matching money.

    A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit places Toronto at 12th in the world as a Competitive Hotspot (2012). While impressive, this value severely under represents specific parameters, such scoring extremely high on Institutional Effectiveness and Fiscal Maturity. This is because Toronto ranks only 36th when compared to other economic centres in Physical Capital. Toronto currently has one of the worst commute times of all major economic centres and at the root of this issue is the lackluster development of interregional transportation networks and decades of planning that encourages sprawl rather than transit-oriented development.

5.5.3    Think Locally and Act Globally

  • Online Interactive Presence – Reaching out to new business connections in the past required tradeshows and leg work. While this has not fundamentally changed, more often businesses search for new locations individually using the Internet. Having an online presence that is complete, concurrent and comprehensive will leverage new industries that may not have thought of a specific region for redevelopment and advertise the existing businesses to a global market.
  • Trade Missions – Trade missions to the locations where current local businesses conduct businesses can cement current contracts and foster new ones. Understanding their existing customers and inviting business leaders along will strengthen the ties that bind economic communities. The province of British Columbia has established strategic offices in the United States, Europe and China to assist companies to conduct business overseas and create and foster international relations easier (City of Vernon, 2010).
  • International Ambassadors – Once having a connection with another trading partner, keeping that connection alive and healthy requires constant care and consistent attention. Foreign companies require constant feedback on their investment and having a direct source for answer questions and providing new opportunities will ensure that local businesses have the capacity to expand (City of Vernon, 2010).
  • Emerging Markets and Leveraging Immigration – Western nations have been destinations for immigration for over a century, integrating people, language and cultures from around the world in a single location. As these former immigration source countries’ economies emerge, industrialise and modernise, creating valuable business networks between them is vital to maintaining local businesses and preparing them for full globalisation.

    By understanding the local community and encouraging businesses to hire recent immigrants will bring the nuances of cultural differences, break language barriers and provide contacts to conduct business in other parts of the world. These connections will also foster international interest in the local economy and may bring foreign investment.



5.6     Predicting Trends and Pressures

  • Emerging Economies – BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have dramatically changed the industrial manufacturing community in North America and Europe, but these emerging economies are also entering white-collar markets, developing computer software sectors, financial and customer service centres. Industries that once solely supported an entire town now outsource services to these nations who have been active in developing the technology and knowledge to effectively provide these services at the same quality but with more efficiency (Thomson Reuters, 2012).

    More effort in the future will be required to approach international and global enterprises to build bridges between Western and Emerging markets and encouraging innovation-heavy industries that develop new products rather than repeat existing designs (Pink, 2005).

  • Shifting Middle-Class – With the disappearance of manufacturing jobs leaves too the monies these middle-class jobs provided and that supported the small to medium size businesses associated with disposable income. Department stores, Restaurants and independent industries that provide services to local markets cannot survive without a strong and predictable customer-base with adequate level of income, contributing to a downward spiral and the race to the bottom (Hulchanski, 2006).

    Attracting new technology industries and encouraging growth of current industries will be required to build a new class of citizens to support secondary services. The City of Sudbury has lost a number of high paying jobs due to efficiencies in mining operations. Leveraging on being the high-education centre of Northern Ontario and with subsidies from both provincial and federal departments, Sudbury is now a leader in creative technologies and application development, creating a diverse economy that can feed in to the existing mining sector (Donald & Hall, 2009).

  • Environmental Challenge – Regardless of what side of the global warming debate you may exist on, it would be without merit not to agree that environmental and meteorological conditions are changing throughout the world. Dealing with record droughts, increasing severe weather events and inconstant seasons can affect industries that require temperate weather for delivery or construction, tourism industries both summer and winter and manufacturing that requires energy or water input. In the more extreme cases, ports or rivers could dry up or land connects cutting-off or washing away could cost an area and its industries billions in lost revenue and productivity (WMO, 2012).

    Climate change will affect a regions ability to retain business and mediating before mitigating the problems will better show a administrations goal of protecting the private industries assets, encouraging productivity and expansion.

  • Peak Everything – While there has been talk over Peak Oil for over half a century, there is in fact a peak to all resources we use in manufacturing including aluminum, coal, phosphorus and copper (Biello, 2006). More disconcerting is the availability of rare-earth metals, currently only located at-large in countries such as China – and the costs required to extract and distribute these resources effectively. These metals are much of the driving forces behind many new technologies in the green energy and home electronic sectors (Washington Post, 2012).
  • Resilient vs. Sustainable – A paradigm shift has occurred in planning direction is from the status quo of sustainable development – integrating the economic, social and environmental capacities of a city to arrive an equilibrium –to a resilient model that is both sustainable in the short-term but impervious to outside pressures in the long (Casico, 2009). Shifts in economic stability and the effects of ecological and environmental change require planners and business leaders to project 100 years down the road, rather than 5, 10 or 25 years as previously sought milestones.

5.7     Conclusion

Attracting a business to a region is only the first step in creating a dynamic economic community. Cataloguing industry, creating liaisons between the administration and business leaders, listening and understanding the needs of both the business and its employees and partnering with different levels of government, participating in trade missions and providing the incentives for expansion are all activities required to be conducted to ensure that new business thrive and propels expansion.

While there are many BR&E models to choose from, picking the best one for a single community or region can being committed with immediacy or incrementally depending on the resources available and conditions that exist or those desired. The use of new technologies, including web portals and social networking has made selling a community much easier, specifically for smaller towns – but this has also upped the ante in competing for new industries as more markets are made available for real estate research.

Whatever the collection of utilities and activities used, it must be geared toward developing a sustainable and resilient community that creates a productive workforce and a stable business environment that attracts new business while encouraging existing industries to remain and expand their services. While the global world economic is extremely lucrative, it is also fraught with new problems. The interconnectivity of regional markets can start a domino effect when one component falters – destroying the insular effect that once protected local businesses. New multinationals can create hostile environments for small and burgeoning businesses while attracting and keeping these large business can also mean a windfall for community revenue. Changing business methods and models must mean new planning regiments and the municipal Economic Development departments are not immune. Integration between silos and having a proactive staff is required to foster these economic communities and business connections – and move above and beyond the status quo.


5.A      References

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Task force to develop best practices model for business retention, expansion in charlotte region. (2006, Jan 12). PR Newswire, pp. 1-1.

[Vernon] (2010) Business Retention and Expansion Program; Vernon. Economic Development Office. City of Vernon. Retrieved from

Washington Post (2012, Mar. 15) Loosening China’s grip on rare-earth metals. Washington Post Editorial Board.

World Economic Forum (2011) The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012. Geneva.

World Meteological Organisation [WMO] (2012) Natural Hazards. Switzerland.

Homelessness in Canada

Homelessness in Canada

Describe and discuss the challenges and policy implications of defining homelessness

The common stereotype of the homeless is based on those in direct visibility – often unwashed, crazed individuals that roam aimlessly through the streets seeking whatever pittance afforded to them by the passing public. This is a reflection of absolute homelessness – those who live on the street or in emergency shelters – but it is argued that this only represents the “tip of the iceberg” (Echenberg & Jensen, 2008) not to mention begin facetious and misinformed. Two further categories that should be considered or those that are concealed and in relative homelessness – living in places not of their own or are in conditions that are unfit or intermediate (Girard, 2006) – and can be given temporal qualities such as the chronic, cyclical or temporary (Being, et al., 1999). While this may expose more of the issue and help delineate between particular groups in order to define policy approaches, it remains broad and too exclusive definition whereas members can easily move between or out of groups over time depending on a number of factors (Springer, 2011).


The definition of homelessness also hinges on the bias of those whose responsibility it is to develop policy and approach the issue – often influenced by the perception of the public who prefer to pass blame to the homeless rather than adopt social and fiscal responsibility (Layton, 2008, 42-44). This creates a schism between those in the position to provide aid and those who are in need of it – with governments creating a minimalist construct of the issue as to limit negative public response (Chapham, 1990). Neo-conservatives Mulroney, Harris and Lastman took views to appease the public sentiment (Layton, 2008, 39-45) and curtailed social assistance, distancing themselves under the premise that homelessness is a “choice” and it is up to the individual to mete out their own fate (Fallis & Murray, 1990) or by out-right dismissing the argument – insisting it doesn’t exist or that unfettered market forces will ultimately solve the issue by removing the impediment to competitiveness made by public welfare spending (Harvey, 1989, 7-16).

The inability and will to develop a holistic definition of homelessness – coerced by public and political leanings bent toward neo-liberalist ideals – leads to a statistic that is immeasurable and thus impossible to develop an overarching policy (Hulchanski, 2000). Houselessness helps define a broader view of the issues that are staging grounds for more transparent definitions including those who are inadequately housed. These are families or individuals that are without long-term legal tenure to ensure security; removed from required social and natural resources that affect health, safety and community; lack affordable housing – not only at the offset but over time – where less than 50% of their income is required for proper shelter; or bee made available a space which provides adequate privacy, sound living conditions and accessibility for those with special needs. A home should encompass not only the bare minimum standards of outlined by the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights (1948) but be resilient against social, environmental and economic shifts that – with globalization and an ever-changing environment – occur at a more frequent scale (Springer, 2000).


Annually, 22,000 make use of the 3,800 shelter beds available in Toronto, 68,000 remain in line for affordable housing, 150,000 pay more than 50% of their income towards rent (StatsCan, 2006) and 260,000 pay more than 30% – an amount that encompasses approximately 20% of all households (QuickFacts, 2011). The issue of homelessness under the auspices of houselessness attempts to capture a much greater group than the official count of 5,000 under the absolute definition (QuickFacts, 2011) and shows how close many are to being At Risk (Hulchanski, 2000). But even this number leaves out the number of hidden homeless – those who have lost their homes only to be taken in by friends or family, commonly referred to as “couch-surfers” – and should be considered too for inclusion in the At Risk category (Hwang, 2000). It is estimated that mitigating the needs of the homeless through programs and shelters on a interim basis costs taxpayers an estimated ten times that it would cost to house them properly in the long-term facilities (Blueprint, 2007) – not including the effects of stress that physical and mental health will have on our social and health infrastructure budgets (Hwang, 2000) – a amount that, if acted upon pre-emptively, can atone neo-conservative ideals of shrinking government expenditures if the initial capital outlay is made to mitigate the At Risk population.


Public policy is driven by clear and balance declaration and said definition may be based on bias – particularly when discussing an emotionally-charged issue such as homelessness (Cassavant, 1999). Major educational and economic players – including Finance Ministers, Bank Governors and Professors – have recently contributed their concern over continuing global economic turmoil (Whittington, 2011) a city becoming increasing divided by income disparity (Hulchanski, 2007) and activism reflecting the public disdain for inaction (Torobin, 2011). With continued policies that hinder our cities ability to solve the issue – such as the recent decision to sell TCHC units (Vincent, 2011) – we are shown the direct result of not having a clear, cohesive definition to provide concrete quantitative measures needed to define policy that can lead public discourse toward a viable, fiscally and socially responsible solution (Cassavant, 1999).


 “No one chooses to be hungry, dirty, sleepless and afraid” (Hector, homeless youth, 1999). Discuss this statement critically with specific reference to the health, morbidity, social stigma and legal issues facing street youth.

Out of all the sub-groups in the homeless population, adolescents experience the most extreme of conditions – with increased health concerns and higher morbidity and morality rates than all other groups.  It is also the group with the highest rate of increase (Report Card, 2003) and faces greater social and economical resistance while being exposed to more instances of physical and sexual assaults on the street, alcohol and drug abuse and disproportionate amount of conflicts with the law (CMHC, 2001). No one chooses this life to be “hungry, dirty, sleepless and afraid” (Hector, 1999) but often the opportunities they have to avoid or escape are limited and they have either fled worse conditions at home or have never known a home in the first place (Rokach, 2003).


Many homeless youth identify a problematic childhood as a driving force (Kidd, 2003) with physical, mental and sexual abuse being the catalyst to them leaving home (CHMC, 2001). Stability at home or within the child welfare system also plays a major factor where neglect, family continuity or domestic violence (Kidd, 2003) pushes adolescents to the street – while pull factors, such as a desire for independence, resistance to rules or authority and desire for experimentation also play a deciding factor (Miller, et al., 2004). Differing sexual orientation is disproportionately higher in street youth then their counterparts and has been on the rise in recent years – specifically from those who traveled from smaller communities –  (McCreary, 2007) and can be attributed to lack of acceptance by family members or social problems at school (Higgitt, et al. 2003).


Half of street youth start to become involved between the ages of 11-14 years old (McCreary, 2007) with many having left school prior to completing a basic level of education due to alienation, poor achievement (Higgitt, et al. 2003) or have been expelled for reasons spawning from their troubled lives (McCreary, 2007). As a result, they have trouble obtaining employment or suffer from low wages which along with the lack of affordable housing have driven them to the street (CMHC, 2001). Welfare assistance programs in many provinces are not available to those between the ages of 16 and 19 where they are outside the catchments of child welfare policy and below the cut-off for social assistance (Kelly & Caputo, 2007) driving many to seek less mainstream employment and become relegated to more marginal sources of income such as panhandling, “squeegeeing”, selling drug and prostitution (Baron, 2001). This requires adolescents to form bonds with other disenfranchised youth – often described as their street family – and further perpetuates their reliance on street lifestyle (Higgitt, et al. 2003).


Youth are at higher risk of being exposed to violent crime (Kufeldt & Burrows, 1994) which makes them adverse to shelters leading to more time being spent on the street where a condition that Higgitt et al. describe as ‘street sickness’ occurs (2003). Poor hygiene, exposure to the elements and a substandard diet exacerbates existing conditions, specifically those who encounter a laissez-faire attitude to sexual encounters (Dachner & Tarasuk, 2002) – either by choice, lack of means or requested or forced in-trade (AHS, 2003). Drug abuse is common as a part of sexual encounters (McCreary, 2007) or to combat or subdue mental health issues (Kidd, 2003) which can lead to increased violence and injury (Kelly & Caputo, 2007). This high-risk lifestyle coupled with poor living conditions (Dachner & Tarasuk, 2002) and lack of funds for medication (Caputo, 1996) or ability to store or regulate those provided for free (Kelly & Caputo, 2007) leads to a higher morbidity rate than other homeless people for similar and preventable ailments.


Unchecked mental health (Kidd, 2003) driven by the malaise of poor health (Higgitt, et al, 2003) coupled with feelings of inadequacy, loneliness through ostracism and anxiety over the future (Rokach, 2003) can lead to a higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse – compounding the problem – as well as increased violence and suicide rates among street youth. Increased violence not only leads to a higher rate for murder (Roy, et al., 2004) but more theft and drug arrests and convictions among adolescents on the street (McCreary, 2007). This causes a social backlash against street youth and forces governments to enforce laws that limit the remaining “legal” sources of income that are less prone to health or safety issues – such as panhandling or “squeegeeing” (Layton, 2008).


While it is the combination of physical and mental health issues that contribute to the lessened life expectancy of adolescents on the street, many of the factors that drive these conditions are often unavoidable and seen as a better alternative to that which they escaped. Without recourse to elevate from their current position and the “comfort” that is provided by the street community, many are stuck in a vicious cycle of depression and abuse that makes them easy prey for exploitation. Street youth are, by far, the most marginalised of the homeless population – but by no means is it a construct of choice. It is the negative and misinformed perception from society that has directed policy against this group that has limited the means for survival and caused many to live in conditions fraught with repetitive, life-threatening choices.



[AHS] Adolescent Health Survey (2003) McCreary Centre Society, Vancouver.

Baron, S. (2001) Street Youth labour market experience and crime. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 38. 189-215.

[Blueprint] Framework for the Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto (2006) Wellesley Institute, Toronto. Retrieved from

Cassavant, L. (1999, Jan.) Definition of Homelessness (PRB 99-1E). Political and Social Affairs Division of the Parliamentary Research Branch, Government of Canada.

Chapman, D (1990) “Conclusions” Homelessness: Public Policies and Private Troubles. Cassell, New York. 232.

CHMC (2001, July) Environmental Scan of Youth Homelessness. Research Highlights: Socio-economic Series, 86;

Dachner, N. & Tarasuk, V. (2002) Homeless ‘squeegee kids’: Food insecurity and daily survival. Social Science & Medicine, 54. 1039-1049.

Echenberg, H. & Jensen, H. (2008) Defining and Enumerating Homelessness in Canada. Library of Parliament, Ottawa.

Farris, G. & Murray A. eds. (1990) Housing the Homeless and Poor: New Partnerships among the Private, Public and Third Sectors. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 3.

Girard, M. (2006) Determining the Extend of the Problem: The Values and Challenges of Enumeration. Canadian Review of Social Policy (58). 104.

Harvey, D. (1989) From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: The Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism. Geografiska Annaler 71B(1). Wiley-Blackwell, Sockholm. 3-17.

Higgitt, N., Wingert, S. & Ristock, J (2003) Voices from the margins: Experiences of street-involved youth in Winnipeg. University of Winnipeg.

Hulchanski, D. (2000, Dec.) Categorizing Houselessness for Research and Policy Purposes: Absolute, Concealed and At Risk. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

Hulchanski, D. (2007) The Three Cities within Toronto. Cities Centre Press, Toronto.

Hwang, S. (2000) Homelessness and Health. Canadian Medical Journal, 164(2). 229-233.

Kelly, K. & Caputo, T. (2007) Health and Street/Homeless Youth. Journal of Health Psychology, 12(5). 726-736.

Kidd, S. A. (2003) Street Youth: Coping and Interventions. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 20. 235-261.

Layton, J. (2008) Homelessness: How to End the National Crisis. Penguin Books, Toronto.

McCreary Centre Society (2007) Against the Odds: A profile of marginalized and street-involved youth in BC. Vancouver.

Miller, P., Donahue, P. Este, D. & Hofer, M. (2004) Experiences of being Homeless or At Risk of being Homeless among Canadian Youth. Adolescence, 39. 736-755.

QuickFacts (2011, May) Toronto Shelter, Support & Housing Administration. City of Toronto. Retrieved from

[Report Card] Toronto Report Card on Housing and Homelessness (2003) City of Toronto.

Rokach, A. (2003) The Lonely and Homeless: Causes and Consequences. The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Psychosocial Stress, Toronto.

Roy, E., Haley, N. Leclerc, P., Sochanski, B., Boudreau, J. & Boivin, J. (2004) Mortality in a cohort of street youth in Montreal. Journal of the American Medical Association, 292(5). 569-574.

Springer, J. (2011) Defining Homelessness: PLE845 [In-Class Lecture].  RyersonUniversity, Toronto. September 21st, 2011.

Springer, S. (2000) Homelessness: A Proposal for a Global Definition and Classification. Habitat International, 24. 475-484.

Torobin, J. (2011, Oct. 14) Bank of Canada head calls Occupy protests ‘entirely constructive’. The Globe and Mail.

United Nations (1948) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25.1.

Vincent, D. (2011, Oct. 21) Toronto Community Housing approves sale of 706 houses. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from–toronto-community-housing-approves-sale-of-706-houses

Whittington, L. (2011, Oct. 21) European debt crisis has Flaherty worried. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from


Business Improvement Areas Toronto

Business Improvement Areas Toronto

Redefining Toronto’s Mainstreets


Redefining Toronto's Mainstreets

Redefining Toronto’s Mainstreets

Main street commercial retail is experiencing a decline. This decline can be partially attributed to ongoing pressures from other forms of retail. Such pressures are found in e-commerce, which allows the consumer to stay at home to shop. Large format centres such as malls and big box stores also pose a threat. Lower prices and the perceived convenience of ‘one stop’ stores such as Wal-Mart, can often erode the consumer base of traditional main street commercial areas. Despite this, some BIA’s in Toronto have managed to be more successful than the average retail strip within the city.

At the request of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Planning Partners of Toronto (PPT) has been given the opportunity to develop a comprehensive report looking at the strengths of successful BIAs in the city. PPT will yield a template of the best practices, for the purpose of assessing and strengthen less successful BIAs in Toronto.


Kailey Lamont

Christopher Jones

David Bigwood

David Addington

Aidan Ferriss

Esther Imm

Brandon Langille

Brent O’Neill

Mark Tiburcio

Peter Giampa

Negar Javaherian

Andrew Randell

Personal Contribution


Retail Data

Walkability Studies

Metrics Calculation

Presentation Design & Delivery

Communication Director


Download the Final Report for Redefining Toronto’s Mainstreets

Download the Final Presentation to Ryerson and TABIA




Toronto Harbour Commission Building

Toronto Harbour Commission Building

The Building

Toronto Harbour Commission Building

Toronto Harbour Commission Building

Started in 1917 and completed a year after, this six-storey building was developed on reclaimed waterfront land called Harbour Square at the end of Bay Street south of Lake Street (Goad’s) – Now known as Lakeshore Blvd West – to house the newly formed Toronto Harbour Commission. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the architectural firm Chapman and Oxley and clad in Indiana limestone. Given the date it was constructed – just after the war – it wasn’t prudent to construct ornate or monumental civic structures, but the predominance that this building had on the waterfront did request some special treatment; with window mouldings and mantles accompanied by a central sculpture helped dignify the simplified frontage and three-quarter decretive columns added depth and shadow (Gagnierm, 1919, 37).

Inside, the building hosted some marble and wood treatment; but most floors, aside from the Commissioner’s room lined with walnut panels, focused on simple dressings around the ceilings and crown moulding. Only the basement, first, sixth and part of the second floors were designated for the Toronto Harbour Commission with the rest to be leased out to like-mined industrial and commercial concerns – specifically those with an interest having office space close to the harbour and ports. Services included a switchboard reception, elevators and lavatories with a bulkhead to conceal plumbing – and given that this was mentioned, perhaps a luxury at the time (Gagnier, 1919, 35).

The Architect

Alfred Hirschfelder Chapman is regarded as a well-known architect of the early 20th Century and his buildings have become local cultural icons with many remaining standing to this day. Born in Toronto in 1878 he attended Harbord Collegiate before graduating from The National Fine Arts School in Paris, France (École Nationale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts) in 1902 – where he studied his traditional style. After a brief stint in New York, he returned home to design several Carnegie libraries, including the Toronto Reference Library on College, now the University of Toronto Bookstore (Achieve of Ontario, 1976).

After the war, he combined forces with engineer J. Morrow Oxley and developed some the more predominate pieces of institutional and commercial architecture in the city, including many of the buildings on the Canadian National Exhibition ground and its grand entry, the Prince’s Gates. He slowly evolved his style to match the Art Deco movement as seen with the old Toronto Star Building – since demolished to make way for the TD Centre – and the Toronto Hydroelectric Building on College which remains today (Achieve of Ontario, 1976).

Toronto Central Library

Toronto Central Library

His final project was to be the 16-storey contemporary classical-designed Bank of Montreal building at Bay and King but was halted in 1940 during the war and Chapman, after suffering a stroke in 1943 only just saw its completion in 1948 a year before his death (Montreal Gazette, 1946). With his wife Doris, he raised six children, one of which, Howard D. Chapman, followed in his father’s footsteps and became known for his modern architecture style for a number of Toronto landmarks, such as the Riverdale Hospital – now demolished and under replacement by Bridgepoint Health (City of Toronto, 2011).

The Style

The Beaux-Arts style of architecture is often described as ornate but imposing, mixing a number of other styles and building members onto on façade, including classical, renaissance and baroque details and over-sizing elements over doors and windows (Kyles, 2002). Often criticised for its garishness and opulence, it was the style of choice for governmental buildings, city institutions and financial headquarters in North American from 1880-1920’s. The style is developed by the accumulation of talents over centuries both teaching and studying at the Fine Arts School in Paris, where Chapman trained (Cunliffe & Loussier, 2006, 178-179).

A number of examples, aside from those worked on by this architect, can be found in and around Toronto – from as early as the 1880’s with the Bank of Montreal branch at Front and Yonge to the most familiar of which is Union Station, on Front just north of the Commission building. The latest example of notice would be the Canada Life building, one of the only implementation of the master grand avenues plan developed by the city after the war to beautify the downtown and provide better traffic flow with the advent and growing popularity of the car only to be halted by the on-set of the depression (Osbaldeston, 2011, 45; Hayes, 2008, 138-139).

At openning

At openning

The Tenant

The Toronto Harbour Commission was established by Act of the Parliament of Canada in 1911 to manage the port facilities of Toronto – then a major international shipping facility – and to encourage the reclaiming of shallow and swampy land that has limited the capacity for growth in the city. At the time, no single authority had control over harbour traffic and infrastructure development along the waterfront thus a single agency was sought to allow for the local management of industries and private concerns surrounding the area (Transport Canada, 2006)

After construction of the building, the THC embarked on an ambitious plan to perform dredging of the inner harbour to accommodate for larger ships that were expected after the creation of the Welland canal, piling for the infill of land with garbage to provide piers at the end of city streets and by marking out promenades and recreational reserves with shoreline breakwaters to limit erosion. The plans also called for a link over the east and west channels to connect the Toronto Islands and its inhabitants to the mainland and provide for new beaches at both ends of the waterfront located at Sunnyside and Ashbridge’s Bay (Gagnier, 1919, 37-39).

At this time over 300 acres of newfound land was created with over half leased to factories, warehouses and shipwrights. The full completion of this plan would see the present shoreline extend another 300 feet in to the lake from its current position with wharfs protruding another 500 to 700 feet further (Gagnier, 1919, 39). Changes to the waterfront, including the Island Airport and new marine terminals to handle increased load from the St. Lawrence Seaway increased the importance of Toronto as an international port. But, the Depression and the shift from shipping by boat to rail and transport trucks along with industrial and manufacturing concerns moving to cheaper lands outside the city, eventually led the dissolution of the Toronto Harbour Commission; transferring some of its land to the city and the remainder ending in Federal hands under the Toronto Port Authority, which still uses this building as its headquarters since the 1990’s (Transport Canada, 2006).

The Area

Pressures to expand the waterfront started with the adoption of railways as the primary mode of resource and product transportation. Rail, at first, required little, but linear land that could easily be formed along waterfronts and thus close to downtown factories and populations, sharing resource storage needs with the waterways but as war efforts and industrial expansion continued, competing railway companies and the businesses that rely on them for the movement of goods required more land in and around the waterfront (Hayes, 2008, 120-121). After two consecutives fires in the downtown core, cleanup efforts along with waste from reconstruction and expansion required a place to be disposed of – along with the growing waste produced by an expanding city (Fair, 2011). The waterfront and its marshy shallow waters provided a dual solution, quick access to dumping and reclaimed land to develop more rail and port lands upon.

The area

The area

The industrialisation of southern Ontario and capacity issues dealing with war efforts placing pressure of valuable land close to the core of the city, the expansion program in to the lake offered a simple, inexpensive way to expand a city continuous steps outward from the original shoreline expanded usable land by 500-700 metres. The areas south of the core were primarily rail yards while merchant buildings, warehouses, factories lined the shoreline. As industry and families moved further out of the city and after World War II and the automobile took over as the primary mode (Osbaldeston, 2011, 50-58) for transportation the usefulness of these lands centralised around the rail and water faded as employment lands opened on the outskirts of the city and suburbia exploded (Hayes, 2008, 154-157). As a result, many of the buildings were left vacant and more cost-effective to tear them down and turn the land into parking lots for the booming financial district (Wickson, 2002).

The push of people out of the city by the car and pull of cheap housing created an age where roadways were becoming infrastructure giants. The Gardiner Expressway promised to ease congestion by elevating traffic pouring in from the outer-suburbs directly into the city, bypassing crossroads and flying over the old industry lands (Hayes, 2008, 170). This created what Kevin Lynch regards as a hard edge – a barrier that visually and intuitively blocks the flow within and understanding of a city. While development continued north of the expressway, the reclaimed land on the waterfront saw only a small amount of development limited to properties on the water’s edge. Reconnecting the city to the waterfront – a difficult task undertaken in many eastern North American cities with mixed results – has had a number of false starts in Toronto over the past forty years (WTC, 1968, 126). Plans that show mixed-use office and residential towers lining the area around the Toronto Harbour Commission exist both when the CN Tower was planned and when the Metro Convention Centre was built in the seventies and eighties respectively (Osbaldeston, 2011, 234-235).

The Building Today

The building was listed as a Toronto heritage landmark in 1973 during the push to retain some of Toronto’s history while many buildings were lost to large-scale redevelopment of the downtown core. After modernization of the office space in the 1980s the building was designated under Section IV of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1987 as well as covered under the Union Station Conservation District by council in 2006. These successive designations limit changes allowed to the structure and require that consideration must be taken to land-uses on surrounding lands and abide by the limitations afforded by the Act (Toronto Preservation Board). The history and location of the building attracts many to question its origin and is regularly apart of the DoorsOpen event that takes place annually in Toronto to showcase the ornate commissioners office and nautical history. The basement of the building which once stored the documents and archive rooms for the Commission now contains a high-end steak restaurant.

The Future

With a more stable economy backed by sound banking practices and coupled with a vivid downtown with an active day and night-time street life that attracts the upwardly mobile individual has made condominium development within and surrounding the core a burgeoning industry (Waterfront Toronto, 2010). Reclaimed railway and industrial lands connected by both public and private transit provide ample land for redevelopment and efforts to contain sprawl within the GTA with provincial protection acts for the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Green Belt have made dense residential development more attractive to developers and young professionals over the past decade (Place to Grow, 12-13, 30).

Future Plans

Future Plans

With this, pressure on companies to relocate offices from the outer suburbs to find and appease new sources of young and creative employees plus incentives on commercial development and networking connections with other industries have brought forth a massive office construction boom that sees approximately 8 million square feet of office space being added south of the historic core of the city – lands that were once parking lots for sporting and entertainment events held by the close by Air Canada and Rogers Centres (UrbanToronto).

While previous expansion of the core centred in CityPlace west of the CN Tower and the area just south of Union Station; the area surrounding the Toronto Harbour Commission Building remain the last few prime locations plans are before council to integrate the underground PATH network within a few years. As such, the past few months have saw exceptional interest by major corporations, including RBC and development companies, such as Tridel and Menkes to become new centres of retail, residencial and office construction. The announcements of new development in this area occur so rapidly that since the draft of this assignment was completed just over a month ago, plans for three new 70-75 storey condominiums and another office tower have been made public and are slated to enter feasibility and design studies while construction of a new 30-storey office tower has went from the planning stage directly into construction without the need for sales. The area directly around the Toronto Harbour Commission that was once slated for low-density warehousing and port facilities 80 years ago that never came to fruition due to yawing economic climates and wars will soon see a canyon of 50-70 storey buildings gracing its streets within the next decade – that is to say if a global recession doesn’t rear its ugly head again in the coming months (UrbanToronto).

Download the Toronto Harbour Commission Building report




Achieves of Ontario, Alfred H. Chapman Fonds (C 18) (Toronto: Queen’s Press, 1976)

City of Toronto. A Work in Progress: Commercial Architects, Howard D. Chapman (Toronto: City of Toronto Achieves , 2011)

Cunliffe, S & Loussier, J. [ed.] Architectural Styles: Spotter Guide (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. 2006)

Fair, R. HST527 In-Class Lecture (Toronto, RyersonUniversity, 2011)

Gagnier, H. Publishers, Ltd. Construction: A Journal for the Architectural, Engineering and Contracting Interests of Canada, 12. (Toronto: Gagnier, H. Publishers Ltd, 1919). pp34-40

Goad’s Fire Insurance Plans (Retrieved from the City of Toronto)

Hayes, Derek. Historical Atlas of Toronto (Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2008)

Kyles, S. Ontario Architecture (Hamilton: 2002)

Mongo (sic). 60 Harbour Street (Toronto: UrbanToronto, 2011)

Montreal Gazette, The. Bank of Montreal Set to Resume Construction of Toronto Building (Montreal, Feb.22, 1946) Retrieved from,3657352

Osbaldeston, M. Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2008)

Osbaldeston, M. Unbuild Toronto 2: More of the City That Might Have Been (Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2011)

Places to Grow (2005) Growth Plan for the Greater Toronto Horseshoe (Toronto, Queen’s Press, 2005) 14-30.

Toronto Preservation Board [TPB]. Heritage Listings. (Toronto, City of Toronto, 2011)

Transport Canada. Review of the Toronto Port Authority Report (Ottawa: Government of Canada, October, 2006) Retrieved from

UrbanToronto [eds.] 120, 90 & 60 Harbour. (Toronto: Urban Toronto, 2011)

Wickson, Ted. Reflections of Toronto Harbour (Toronto: TorontoPort Authority, 2002)

Waterfront Toronto. Waterfront Toronto General Update (Toronto: Waterfront Toronto, 2010) [Slide Presentation]

Water Technical Committee [WTC]. Waterfront Plan for the Metropolitan Toronto Planning Area (Toronto: Metro Toronto, 1968)

Alexandra Park

Alexandra Park

Alexandra Park Secondary Plan - Sample

Alexandra Park Secondary Plan – Sample

Group project revolving around the redevelopment of Alexandra Park — a community housing project in Toronto owned and operated by the TCHC. Alexandra Park was developed in the era of large block-busting planning where roads were removed or realigned in order to create public space or walkable communities. Unfortunately, these design decisions isolated communities by removing flow between neighbourhoods and often created unsafe or unkempt spaces that deteriorated over time. Regent Park in the east-end of Toronto is currently undergoing a similar redevelopment with many success stories — but some irritation on how the process unfolded. The concept of the project was to continue with the success but address the failings from the first project.

Toronto community housing stock is currently under a massive infrastructure backlog. Most of the housing well beyond its build lifespan and little avenues for financing or years of neglect creating a crisis among it residents and neighbours.  Regent Park was the catalyst required to involve private sector developers with partnerships within the community and NGOs to leverage the condominium boom the City has experienced over the past decade to create an opportunity to address these issues.

Since this project was completed, the City of Toronto has embarked on a comprehensive rebuilding of the area, reconnecting the successful neighbourhoods surrounding the site and the appetite of citizens to live within walking or transit distance to a revitalized office and entertainment sectors nearby with providing more social housing that meets or exceeds the requirements of existing residents.


Anthony Di Santo
David Johnson
Paul Tobia
Stefano Guglietti
Austin Pernarella
Loralea Tulloch
Alexander Ruggieri
Cody Hashemi
Christopher Evan Jones

Personal Contributions

Land-Use Planning

Rezoning Requirements

Zero Displacement Staging

Massing Study

Cost Analysis

Maps and Schedules


Download the Alexandra Park Secondary Plan project



Read More

Torontoist article on the Toronto Plan

Toronto Star article on the social aspects of the plan

Link to the official TCHC plan



The Junction Briefing Note : Part Four

Submitted: December 6th 2010


Download the original Junction Briefing Note 



Image One - Context

Image One – Context

Situated in the north-west corner of the old City of Toronto (Image 1), The Junction once was a railway hub for the food packaging industry. Growing linearly along the a major route out of town, Dundas West, this historical working-class neighbourhood suffered from three decades of shifting economics as industry scaled back operations or closed entirely – leaving brownfields in its wake. While Dundas defines an historical attractiveness that has drawn a new class of citizens – rejuvenating the surrounding homes and businesses and increased education, income and mill rates – little benefit from this extended north of the railway lands. Previous attempts to redevelop these lands left the neighbourhood disjointed – reflecting values better suited for suburban living than the heavily transit-connected community that it is.

Bridging the Edge


Image 2 – Rail Divide

The railway lands – a hard edge crossing the neighbourhood (Image 2) – divides this previous work-live community to the north and south. While strong community action revitalized the south; automobile-centric big-box retailers and infill housing devoid of pedestrian legibility and continuity dominate the north. Development of the brownlands – with increased densities from mixed-use, mid-rise development and greater north-south connectivity – will draw more pedestrian traffic and small retail to the district and provide a cohesive transit-oriented nodes and open up existing but underutilized green spaces with the potential of designating others – benefiting both sides of the barrier.


Lynch states that by carrying through character along paths with visible end-points scaled not to isolate or overbear[1], aids in developing a district that is recognizable and comfortable for its users. St. Clair’s vast, open parking lots with little recognisable character increases the perceived walking time and without useful paths, nodes are difficult to cultivate and maintain[2]. Three major nodes within the northern district fail to maintain the critical flow to become a viable, even though they possess favourable elements, such as retail, transit and recreational space[3]. Increasing densities (Image 3) along major roads provides lifeblood to form public squares or open green space. As pedestrian density increases, so can the viability of small commercial retailers and restaurants, feeding off nodes as places to collect or reflect[4]. Alexander argues the placement of street windows and sidewalk cafes elevate effective use of avenues and break the monotony of the street for residents and commuters[5]. Buildings should hug the avenue and interact with the streetscape to provide an adequate thoroughfare, a concept big-box retailers currently violate.


Image 3 – Concept Plan




Whyte defines open space as requirements for human interaction and establishing a vibrant community. With little ability nor comfort to congregate and participate, these sparse and underutilized nodes draw little attention, limiting exposure and safety[6]. Light penetration can be preserved by following the step-backed design defined within the Avenue and Mid-Rises[7] guideline and tree-lined streets provides waypoints for travel, alternating shade and seat places for resting or observing. While currently designated as employment lands (Image 4), mixed-income housing on the empty lot near Runnymede Park in tandem with a north-south link over the railway lands will redefine the node and spawn a symbiotic relationship with residence, retail, recreation and transit.

Image 4 - In-Fill

Image 4 – In-Fill


While not ideal, Trinity Development plans to bring higher density retail north of the area[8] – with mixed big-box and street-fronting retail and stacked rear parking (Image 5) – it shows increased interest in creating potential pedestrian visibility in large tracts of brownfield lands. The bike and pedestrian bridge planned for Fort York[9] with an unique configuration to span two sets of rails, including one slated electrification (Image 6) – demonstrates how connectivity can change a neighbourhood as a developer is now planning to add new condominiums directly adjacent[10]. And even with TransitCity’s uncertain future, increased development and density can justify a new regional transit node via the MoveOntario 2020 plan on the 15-year conceptual Crosstown route[11].

Image 5

Image 5

The Toronto Official Plan, in sections 3.1.1, 3.1.2 and 3.2.1 recommends the following: A neighbourhood that offers a wide variety of housing types; A positive and lively environment at transit-supportive densities; Emphasize pedestrian and cycling connections; Disallow big-box frontage on large avenues; and Enhance parkland and community services as a part of redevelopment – the aim of this imitative[12].

Image 6

Image 6


Jacob states how we observe our urban environment also defines how we interact with it[13]. With low connectivity, underutilized nodes, limits to pedestrian movement and insufficient density, the northern section of The Junction fails to find uniformity and intrigue with its neighbours. The economic transformation over the past decade provides an opportunity to rebuild what was once a vibrant work-live community. By implementing the Avenue and Mid-rises plan, coordinated with the St. Clair Weston draft concept with the new connections and mixed housing, we’re not only reconnecting a lost section of The Junction neighbourhood, we can potentially duplicate its southern half’s success. Increased density and transit usage will justify improvements to the St. Clair LRT and provide a new destination with economic, recreational and employment opportunities for the surrounding neighbourhoods – meeting the goal of the city to maintain a sustainable, viable and inviting community while maintaining our budget’s bottom line.

[1] Lynch, K. (1960). The Image of a City. The MIT Press. Cambridge. 50-51.

[2] Lynch, K. (1960). The Image of a City. The MIT Press. Cambridge. 138.

[3] Lynch, K. (1960). The Image of a City. The MIT Press. Cambridge. 84.

[4] Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford University Press. Patterns 88, 123, 160.

[5] Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford University Press. Patterns 88, 100, 164.

[6] Whyte, W. H. (1980). The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Project for Public Spaces. New York. 108.

[7] Brooke Mcllroy Planning & Urban Design/Pace Architects, et al. (2010, May) Avenues and Mid-Rise Building Study.

[8] Bryne, G. (2008) 30 Weston Road – Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan. City of Toronto.

[9] Stantec, MonigomerySisam (2009) Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge: Class Environmental Assessment Study. City of Toronto. Retrieved from

[10] Markowiak, J. (2010) 30 Ordnance Street – Rezoning Application. City of Toronto.

[11] Metrolinx (2008, November) The Big Move: Transforming Transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Greater Toronto Transportation Authority. 106.

[12] Wright, G. (2002, 2009) Toronto Official Plan. Toronto. 3.1-3.34.

[13] Jacobs, A. B. (1985) Looking at Cities, HarvardUniversity Press. Cambridge. 11, 81. From Robinson (2010) Learning to See: Systematic Approaches to Neighbourhood Analysis. RyersonUniversity.


Images: (1) Damba, N. (2010) Ryerson University Library; (2, 3: Base Map): City of Toronto (2007) Property Maps; (4: Base Image) Microsoft, NAVTEQ (2010) Retrieved from; (5) Trinity Development Group (2010) Retrieved from; (6) Stantec, MonigomerySisam (2009) Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge: Class Environmental Assessment Study. City of Toronto;

The Junction Scoping Study

Submitted: September 25th, 2010

Sample from Part One Introduction Presentation.

Sample from Part One Introduction Presentation.

A multi-part studio project that stepped through the scoping study of a specific Toronto neighbourhood — in this case, The Junction area in the west-end.


Abby Besharah

Justin Cheng

Peter Giampa

Christopher Evan Jones

Michael Kozlowski

Brandon Langille

Natalie Lindsay

Personal Contributions:


Presentation Design

Lynch Image Mapping


Download Part One: The Junction


Downtown Relief Line – It’s Finally Time

Sample from the report

Sample from the report

Submitted: Monday, March 28th, 2010

Planning assignment to demonstrate page layout and desktop planning as related to an on-going city planning issue.


Transit City’s (TC) plan to connect Toronto’s inner-suburbs to existing high-order corridors aims to right the lack of adequate public transit long-suffered by area residents. But this plan, along with subway extensions northward, neglects to recognise burgeoning condominium development within the downtown core and strained load capacities of the existing and rapidly aging subway lines and stations. Resurrecting the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) will stem capacity and safety fears while garnering new revenue for the city through increased fares and development charges and become a showcase to the world.

Elevated public transit-use driven by environmental concern and the high price of oil have created a bottleneck at Yonge and Bloor. The extension of the Yonge Line into Richmond Hill is expected to increase through-loads even more. The 55-yearold station sits under an area of dense high-rises – existing, under construction or planned – and its redesign is expected to costs a staggering 450 million dollars and will disrupt service for 4-5 years – creating immeasurable economic drawbacks

A second loop from Union station connecting east and west along the Bloor-Danforth Line will aid in shifting traffic destined for downtown away from Bloor Station and act as feeder support for surface routes. With Union station already slated for large renovations and Pape station expected to be reconfigured for future LRT connections, the development of the DRL in tandem with TC would limit overlapping capital expenditures, avoid inflationary construction costs and provide new zones for intensification


Download the Downtown Relief Line – It’s Finally Time report



Thoughts and Shorts II

Monday, March 6th, 2010

Defining Transportation

When land-use pattern create too heavy of a load on the existing or planned road network the system is unable to cope with demand and function at an adequate speed, causing Traffic Congestion. This can be stressed by traffic control systems failing to direct traffic effectively or there are conflicts between actors using the roadway, as seen with transport trucks and daily commuters (Springer, 2010a). Congestion increases the cost of operating a vehicle and requisite fuel consumption; creates economic fallout from unreliable transportation; increases the odds of accidents and ultimately reduces the level of comfort, convenience and safety of everyone which leads to impairments in mental and physical health (Jackson, 2003).


Solutions to congestion are to discouraging personal transportation by imposing Peak-Hour Pricing through toll-roads and electronic monitoring – or by further extending infrastructure. Although expanding the road network initially seems a logical and simple solution, it leads to Triple Convergence – a realignment of commuters’ space, time and modes of transportation. People inherently travel the path of least resistance (Downs, 1992) and by elevating stress on congested highways, those commuters who previous choose alternate routes to avoid congestion to return to the new roadway (spatial convergence); those who shifted the time at which they travel tend to return to a schedule that is more convenient; and those who switch modes from private to public transportation return to their car for the comfort, convenience and control (Springer, 2010a). This, in turn, creates new stress on the road and more congestion.


The design of Transit-Oriented Developments focuses on the root of the problem by the creation of a densely-populated, mixed-use community surrounding a node of public transportation with a intimate pedestrian-focused grid pattern and encouraging the use of safer and cleaner private forms of transportation with bicycles lanes and parking (Renne, 2009). These developments are typically a kilometre in diameter, with stepped-back building mass from a central point containing shops, offices and social services. The approach also pushes back on the notion of personal isolation – a repercussion of a technologically-laden society – that deters people from connecting with their surroundings and neighbours (Springer, 2010a).


By removing the necessity for an automobile in everyday tasks, Location-Efficient Communities are created where previous expenditures reserved for the maintenance and operation of a vehicle – estimated at $8000 a year (CAA, 2007) – can be released and reinvested into the community. Some financial institutions and government agencies in North America are offering mortgages that reflect urban realities – elevating people with lower-incomes into homeownership (Cervero, 2007) or allowing others the option to purchase more adequate housing, increase spending on local services and entertainment or save for future education and personal training. This has a doubling effect on the economic conditions of the surround city as less tax revenue would be needed to construct and maintain roadways, increasing tax revenue from new spending and limits lost productivity from time delays and pollution-related illnesses while increasing overall satisfaction of the public.

Dominance of the Automobile

The automobile has dominated personal transportation since the advent of the Ford Model T in 1908. Through the 1920s, Henry Ford’s assembly line manufacturing allowed for efficient production of affordable vehicles while his business policies provided his employees with the ability to purchase one easily, generating his own local and controllable demand (Wells, 2007).   The automobile remains the most sought after form of transit, private or public, because of the comfort, convenience and control it provides (Springer, 2010a) and is so attractive that Canadian spend on average 20% of their pre-tax income to possess these benefits – an amount second only to shelter and greater than food (Statistics Canada, 2008).


The post-war period of economic and population growth in the 1950s resulted in a large demand for new housing, mostly developed in cheap, low-density tracts of land on the outskirts of cities (Miller, 2006, p.105). The unchecked sprawl of development limited where new employment opportunities and public amenities were able to be established, many locating well outside of the encampment area of conventional private transportation (Bhat, Sen & Eluru, 2009). New financial clout from booming times saw people gravitate away from public transit – seen as inadequate and inconvenient and used only by the poor (Mensah, 1994) – towards the use of vehicles which were more comfortable, offered as a symbol of social class and provided control over the when and where of commuting (Wells, 2007).


With more than seventy percent of Canadian now using the automobile as primary means of transportation (Statistics Canada, 2001) and the sparse design of new suburban neighbourhoods being inefficient for the development of effective mass transit (Smith, 2006) governments focus infrastructure spending on roads and highways and provided subsidies to local communities to maintain them. Seen as an integral part of the Canadian economy, the auto industry enjoys capital subsidies and tax deductions with lax leasing regulations to encourage automobile manufacturing and market demand (Hanson, 1992). Along with businesses offering cars as perks to employment and the lack of immediate and noticeable externalities to car ownership – fiscal or environmental – demand for this mode of transportation continues to sustain.

Housing as a Product

Housing is a product of both private and public processes combining to create a good that is fixed, consumable and a measure of economic status and health (Springer, 2010b & 2010c). Driven by market forces, private industries supply the material and end-product while being overseen by public forces to guide development, location, use and expectations. In addition, public processes ensure that both the product and its end-user can both obtain and benefit from homeownership while providing alternatives for those who cannot (Rose, 1980).


A major mitigating factor to housing that is it is statically linked to its location. This location must offer not only intrinsic benefits such as geographic proximity communities, but tactile natural features, including sought-after views and nearby recreational amenities to provide value (Millward, 2006). Services must also be readily available to appease basic living conditions, such as running water, sewage, educational facilities, employment opportunities, easily adequate transportation, accessible goods and services and allotment for religious structures (Leo & Anderson, 2006). While the location may be static, its community can be dynamic, either growing with density through redevelopment or expansion, or shrinking with loss of industry or natural disaster.  Since most housing is affixed to property, durability of the product must be guaranteed, not only to provide safe, sound and sanitary conditions but for continued appreciation of value. Regular maintenance allows a home to last 50 years on average with revitalization extending it indefinitely (Springer, 2010b). Using regulation to enforce a variable mix of units ensures that all members of society have their specific need for shelter met.


In Canada, housing is the single most expensive individual procurement (Statistics Canada, 2008), often amortized over a lifetime and heavily debt-financed (Harris, 2006). The location and durability of housing ensures that it is a viable asset to borrow against – crucial for consumers who now hold almost one trillion dollars in outstanding mortgage debt (Dunning, 2010). Forecasting demand and controlling supply allows for a market that not only provides the need for a rolling stock of shelter but ensures affordability at a level most middle-class families can readily afford – constituting a large and crucial section of our national economy (Knaap, 2003). Failing to develop and control the product from both public and private perspective leads to a market bubble and eventual collapse – where those in demand can no longer afford to retain their shelter and those in supply can no longer able to afford production – devastating the economy and creating a downward spiral effect on the community and existing equity (Hulchanski, 2006). There is no more pronounced example of this failure than the United States in past three years.

Sprawl – Housing and Transportation

A critical concern influencing housing is that we are publicly avid about what we should and aspire to have but privately demand satisfaction of our personal wants. We seek cheap housing with high return on our investment; we want this housing to be open and spacious while in a compact and lively urban setting; and we want ease of access to amenities and employment without the drawbacks and costs of installing a transportation infrastructure to ease congestion. Left unregulated, private developers are more than ready to meet our demands knowing full well that services and networks are of the public realm, instigating sprawl against our wishes to maintain picturesque rural landscapes (Poulton, 1995). Individual behaviour is always at odds with individual expectation and the optimum for the collective, requiring public oversight and regulation to provide a middle ground.


As redevelopment of former employment areas is complicated and time-consuming process and brown-lands require years to ensure contaminated soil has safely settled or been removed (O’Reilly & Brink, 2006), assembly-line production is the most cost-effective methodology of development, consisting of cookie-cutter houses on vast tracts land (Harris, 2004). In North America, flat and rolling Class A agricultural land that surrounds urban areas are prime for such economies of scale and are attractive to purchasers who see the city as too expensive, crowded or unsafe and to developers who require large, efficient margins on their investment. But, without proper planning of mixed-use zoning, new residents to these developments required an automobile to reach employment areas, attend school and obtain services and sundries (Bhat, Sen & Eluru, 2009). The transportation network between nodes needs to be built quickly to meet growing demand and with little capital finances provided from tax revenue of cheaper housing, paved roads are often seen as a cheap solution to expansion forcing retailers to build big-box stores surrounded with ample parking to attract customers (Jones & Hernadez, 2006).


Land-use planning can be used to break this chaos, by first creating and preparing these edge cities with a location for shops, offices, transportation and services with adequate and sufficient housing for the intended population. By limiting the outer extent of the city through urban growth boundaries – such as the greenbelt retention in Ontario – and ensuring concurrent growth strategies mixed with smart development, we can limit the effects of externalities such as pollution and congestion and encourage transit-oriented developments designed around alternative modes of private transportation. Deliberately influencing the style and mode of growth not only improves the quality of life citizens, but provides a secure and sound community insulated from future fiscal and infrastructure constraints now apparent in older suburban areas (Geller, 2003).


Bhat, C., Sen, S. & Eluru, N. (2009, July). The impact of demographics, built environment attributes, vehicle characteristics, and gasoline prices on household vehicle holdings and use. Transportation Research: Part B 43(1). 1-18.


CAA (2007). Your Driving Costs 2007. Canadian Automobile Association. Retrieved from


Cervero (2007, September) Transit-oriented development’s ridership bonus: a product of self-selection and public policies. Environment & Planning A, 39(9). 2068-2085.


Dunning, W. (2010, January). Revisiting the Canadian Mortgage Market – Risk is Small and Contained. Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. Retrieved from


Downs, A. (1992). Stuck in Traffic. Brookings Institution. WashingtonD.C. 27.


Geller, A. (2003, September). Smart Growth: A Prescription for Livable Cities. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9). 1410-1415.


Hanson, M. (1992, January). Automobile subsidies and land use. Journal of the American Planning Association 58(1). 60-72.


Harris, R. (2004). Creeping Conformity: How Canada Became Suburban, 1900-1960. University of Toronto Press. Toronto.


Harris, R. (2006). Housing: Dreams, Responsibilities and Consequences. In Canadian Cities in Transition: Local Through Global Perspectives. ThirdEd.OxfordUniversity Press. Toronto. 272-286.


Hulchanski, J. D. (2006) What Factors Shape Canadian Housing Policy? The Intergovernmental Role in Canada Housing System. In Canada: The State of the Federation 2004: Municipal-Federal-Provincial Relations in Canada. McGill Queen’s University Press. Kingston. 221-250.


Jackson, J. (2003, September). The Impact of the Built Environment on Health: An Emerging Field. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1382-1384.


Jones, K. & Hernandez, T. (2006). Dynamics of the Canadian Retail Environment. In Canadian Cities in Transition: Local Through Global Perspectives. ThirdEd.OxfordUniversity Press. Toronto. 287-305.



Knaap, G. (2003). Land Supply and Infrastructure Capacity Monitoring for Smart Urban Growth. University of Maryland. College Park, MD.


Leo, C. & Anderson, K. (2006). Being Realistic about Urban Growth. In Canadian Cities in Transition: Local Through Global Perspectives. ThirdEd.OxfordUniversity Press. Toronto. 393-407.


Mensah, J. (1994). Gender, spatial constraints and the employment activities of low-income people in a local labour market. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 3. 113-133.


Miller, E. J. (2006). Transportation and Communications. In Canadian Cities in Transition: Local Through Global Perspectives. ThirdEd.OxfordUniversity Press. Toronto. 102-122.


Millward, H. (2006). Metropolitan Form and the Environment. In Canadian Cities in Transition: Local Through Global Perspectives. ThirdEd.OxfordUniversity Press. Toronto. 363-378.


O’Reilly, M. & Brink, R. (2006) Initial Risk-Based Screening of Potential Brownfield Development Sites. Soil and Sediment Contamination, 15(5).  463-470.


Poulton, M. (1995). Affordable Homes at an Affordable Social Price. In Home Remedies: Rethinking Canadian Housing Policy. C D Howe Institute. Toronto. 50.


Renne, J. (2009). From transit-adjacent to transit-oriented development. Local Environment, 14(1). 1-15.


Rose, A. (1980) Canadian housing policies. Butterworths. Toronto. 2.


Springer, J. (2010a). Transportation Module: The Role of Transportation Traffic Congestion Definitions & Implications [PowerPoint]. Toronto.


Springer, J. (2010b). Housing as a Product [PowerPoint]. Toronto.


Springer, J. (2010c). Housing as a Process [PowerPoint]. Toronto.


Statistics Canada (2001). Census of Canada. Government of Canada. Ottawa.


Statistics Canada (2008). Spending Patterns In Canada, #62-202-XIE. Government of Canada. Ottawa.


Wells, C. (2007, July). The Road to the Model T: Culture, Road Conditions, and Innovation at the Dawn of the American Motor Age. Technology & Culture, 48(3). 497-523.






Thoughts and Shorts

Thursday, November 12th 2009

The history of modern town planning reflects an attempt to provide safe, sound, and sanitary conditions in urban areas, Discuss this statement with specific reference to: the conditions that accompanied dramatic urban growth in the post 1750 period; the major reasons for urban reform; the three primary approaches to urban reform

To clothe and feed a burgeoning population, “a new way was needed to meet the demands that a growing population would make on Britain.” (Trueman, 2000) The Industrial Revolution transformed the methods of production, eliminating the need for fragmented work forces that produce small quantities of food and goods. The Domestic System, where small workshop cottages completed all levels of production was deemed too inefficient of a process and was replaced by mass manufacturing. Farms, needing to increase output, utilized new technologies that obtained a larger harvest with less labour. Seeking a new quality of life, countless numbers of former farmhands and cottage workmen descended on the cities to find employment, crowding around the budding factories established near pre-existing centres of population and shipping corridors and to emerging resource towns that stoke the economic engine. With little time and regard to organize such an influx, the safe, sound and sanitary conditions of the urban setting spun desperately out of control.


Shoddy and hastily built timber homes with little setback from each other became home for numbers of people. With close quarters, no running water or sanitation, disease was rampant. The density and lack of proper ventilation in each neighbourhood was a festering breeding ground for Tuberculosis, and it was “believed that TB killed one-third of all those who died in Britain between 1800 and 1850” (Trueman, 2000). John Snow discovered that sewage poured out the back windows into cesspools or nearby streams, re-entered the local water table, spreading Cholera via contaminated wells and pumps, (Johnson, 2006). Poor design also led to string of fires that consumed cities around the industrialized world. Absence of modern firefighting utilities, such as the hydrant, plus the use of combustible materials and zero tolerance between structures allowed fire to spread quickly, overtaking large sections of the city and devastating many lives and the local economy.


These conditions were exasperated by rampant poverty and poor living and working conditions. Health, widely affected by pollution from smokestacks, manure left behind from horse-drawn carriages and poor nutrition, increased susceptibility to disease. Children worked dangerous positions and at early ages, receiving no formal education and often paid little to nothing. Adults were overworked, unfairly treated and had little democratic recourse to alter these conditions. Ultimately, revolt took hold causing general strikes and unrest across cities, with demands for suffrage and reform.


Most problems were isolated to the working poor, offering little incentive for political change. But when the upper-classes became jeopardized and started to see cities as sick, dangerous, ugly and sin-filled places, public consensus and governmental movements took hold. Regulation, redevelopment and relocation provided tools to resolve each of the underlying issues.


Regulation took the form of zoning and building codes, such as the requirement for firewalls and setbacks; and the form of laws, as in the British Public Health Act of 1848 which paved the way for sewage and water systems via local boards of health. Also included in the act was the organization of all major public issues at the time, including poverty, housing, environment, safety and food (Springer, 2009). Redevelopment, starting with Haussmann in Paris, sought to redesign the outlay of a city, demolished areas of impoverished neighbourhoods and replaced them with grand avenues and public squares to ensure the proper economic growth, flow and security of the city (Schwartz, 2001). The City Beautiful Movement, as set out by Burnham in Chicago and based on Haussmann’s design, extended these ideas to include aesthetic, efficient and economic values to achieve parity with the civil loyalty and moral wellbeing seen in European cities (Rose, 1996). Relocation, alternatively, strived to ensure that future developments wouldn’t fall into the disarray seen of inner-cities. Howard’s utopian vision limited the number of residents, defined densities and set the locations of structures and established environmental balance with neighbourhood gardens and green belts. Often overlooked was the “belt of green” or Grand Avenue to separate incompatible land uses (Hodge, 2008).


These reforms, coupled with the City Efficient Movement where civil-engineers designed transportation networks and water systems – the backbone of effective and efficient cities – laid the foundation for modern urban planning (Hodge, 2008). Local governments were entrusted to control these regulations and planning and health boards oversaw and directed action to existing or emerging problems. The realization that any issue within a city affects all of its residents equally, regardless of position or stature, demanded that solutions must become more rational, equitable and holistic so that the city can be efficient, effective and sustainable.

Describe and discuss the four approaches to decision making in Planning. (Rational Comprehensive, Satisficing, Incrementalism, and Mixed Scanning).

Over the years, scholars, weary of the cumbersome inclusiveness of the Rational-Comprehensive Model to decision making, have attempted to extend or alter the process to better match realities and encompass differing values. Rationality can be a seductive beast and often seen as sole proprietor of truth – but knowledge derived from logic often ignores other human abilities, such as imagination, intuitiveness and emotion (Darke, 1995). Much as rational economists understand that consumers do not actively purchase on the margin, planning theory must also be malleable to fit within known constraints and placate unknown factors.


Banfield’s 1955 Rational Planning Model used ends-reduction and elaboration to qualify a problem and quantify a measure of success or failure to potential solutions, including consequences of retaining the status quo. After collecting and evaluating all potential methodologies, each is placed against this benchmark to determine the best alternative. From this, a course of action and a plan for implementation is created followed by a system to monitor its validity and cohesiveness to correcting the original issue. While definitively this is the ideal approach to problem solving, reality remains that planners do not have infinite resources, time and expertise to circumvent all permutations and combinations nor at times have all of the information required to make a logical conclusion. From a set of goals that include the good, the cheap and the quick, rarely can all three be achieved simultaneously. To not further limit comprehensiveness one must also understand the power, politics and inertia of change (Springer, 2009).


In 1957, Herbert Simon, a Nobel Award-winning economist, added a caveat to the rational model, comparing alternatives with opportunity cost and benefit of each. From the Satisficing Model, the most irrational opportunities are summarily rejected at an early stage, creating a more efficient and cost effective process. By ranking the remaining options by pay-off, a selection of the most satisfactory and viable solution can be made (Springer, 2009). While the end result may not be the optimal solution, in general it would be the best approximation for success. This also assists in the removal of a person’s rationale to select the first plausible option encountered rather than determining a better one. Though productive, critiques of this method often find it cold as it neglects to integrate core-values that often are affected by the decision process (Argyris, 1973).


Lindblom’s Model of Incrementalism saw planning in a more finite view, realizing that ends and means are intertwined and scarce time and resources often limits the ability to be comprehensive. Options are chosen which do not deviate far from the status quo and by means of agreement between interested parties. Evaluations of these options are crude and limited by knowledge and scope, and may miss many consequences (Chilton, 2003). By mudding through, small steps and changes with little impact can facilitate the planning process with little cost and time, dealing with problems as they arise, rather than setting aside time to evaluate and compare. Modern day uses of this method can be found in the Agile programming method where “the conformance to plan is replaced with the ability to change” (Leffingwell, 2007). While this model is efficient, innovative opprotunities can be missed and it is commonly usurped as a stelthy method of pushing forward a plan not positively perceived by limiting the shock of immediate exposure.


Amitai Etzioni, seeing rationalism as being too utopian and unwieldy, and incrementalism stifling ingenuity and lacking opportunities (Etzioni, 1986), set forth the notion of combining the best of both rationales and presented the Mixed Scanning Method in 1967. The concept allows for two levels of decision processes, one at a high fundamental or contextual level and one at the lower incremental level, delineating them by relative size or nested relationship (Etzioni, 1986). This allows for a more efficient allocation of resources for the search, collection, processing and evaluation of information while keeping perspective on the overall goal. This process has been deemed as a more intuitive and holistic approach by scholars in that it allows for a master plan and an understanding of consequences while leaving room for effective and innovative solutions (Etzioni, 1986).


As planning principals evolved, so have the methods of planning. Starting with logic and the search for truth, the inclusion of other patterns of decision-making grounded idealism and allowed planners to abide by the realities and consequences of every option. The shift in process from a pure science to a more realistic approach is essential to ensure that all opportunities are determined and all goals are met while still being effective and efficient.


Describe the three early theories of urban form and structure (Concentric rings, sectors and multiple nuclei). Relate these models, where appropriate, to what you were able to observe on the 506 street car assignment.

Substantive Theory, as seen in the Concentric, Sector and Multiple Nuclei Models, differs from Rational Theory as it attempts to explain the organic growth of a city – The order and relationship of differing land uses, wealth and densities and how this is affected by the interaction between urban actors (Leung, 2003). The comparison can be made clear by stating one is a theory-of-planning while the other is a theory-in-planning (Faludi, 1973).  Each of the three models attempts to explain the structure of a city by utilizing lessons from different schools of thought.


Sociologist Ernest Burgess developed his Concentric Circle Model in 1933 based on the elasticity and inelasticity of demand of property from the centre of the city by differing economic parties. Observing Chicago, he noted that commercial sectors situate themselves in areas of most exposure, the core, whereas factories ring these developments take advantage of both the retail zones and the workers surrounding the city. Residential areas radiated out in increasing wealth, with the working-class within walking distance to the factories and high-class citizens live well outside the urban centre. This can be attributed to the high cost of transportation and the want to avoid the negatives of urban living, particularly at the turn of the century (Rodrigue, 2009).  While correct for most North American cities, where a good part of their development took place prior to 1950, the proliferation of the automobile post-World War II changed how people commute and ultimately allowed the city to break the bonds of the urban core. As well, the model did little to describe European cities whose development predated the Industrial Revolution and social status was garnered by living closer to the urban centre – inverting the residential rings in this model (Rodrigue, 2009).


Economist Homer Hoyt in 1939 manipulated the Circle model by observing that differing areas emanated out from the central core in wedge-shaped pieces, usually following a transportation corridor. His Sector Model still had commercial properties gravitating towards the middle, but allowed for all classes of residential and levels of industrial to border the core. These sectors would also organize themselves based around desirables and nuisances: the high-end housing furthest from the factories; factories situated close to rail and shipping links; and working homes closest to the employment areas. His model, where a city would expand on a series of axes (Rodrigue, 2009) was still limited by historical trends and does provide allowance for commuters travelling by automobile, leapfrogging to cheaper land on the outskirts (Rodwin, 2009).


Geographers Harris and Ullman discovered in 1945 that other than the central business district, cities tend to be designed around a multitude of areas that relate not just by distance to financial and retail sectors, but other attributes such as: accessibility; conflicting and compatible land uses; and suitability of the land (Rodrigue, 2009). The Multiple Nuclei Model helped explain cities with growth around natural barriers and variable transportation modes and allowed for sub-nodes of commercial properties or satellite communities and employment areas. Still referencing ideas from older models, where high-class housing would resist areas of industry or manufacturing and low-class housing often remained close to areas of employment to limit travel costs, it also explained the fractured or unpredictable form of cities. Harris and Ullman suggested that social-economic and cultural values also influence the land use with examples in Western cities where historical and often wealthy neighbourhoods co-exist with undesirable zones because of their sentiment and significance (Pacione, 2009).


Streetcar zones

(Figure 1) Approximation of land-use in and around the Carlton Streetcar Line – Best described by the Multiple Nuclei Model

While Toronto, pre-radial cars, arguably could have been described historically using Concentric Circles, a number of economic and social shifts over the years makes this model impossible to discern today. Remnants still exist in some areas with the waterfront and core as areas of employment; the lower-end houses north of Queen and the higher-end above Gerrard do follow this model; but urban renewal and gentrification have greatly altered value and form across the city. To a lesser extent, the Sector Model could be used – observing the city’s growth after the advent of streetcars and railways connecting the large industrial fields and middle-class housing both in the east and west ends – but the cities largest barrier to growth, Lake Ontario, and annexed towns with separate growth patterns, makes this model difficult to ascertain. The most intuitive method would be the Multiple Nuclei Model with a heavy focus on transportation corridors that would have been a factor in the Sector Model. From this, we have a concrete model forming, with lower-end housing ringing the central core, but also the factory outlays to the east and west. Medium and high-end houses exist on the periphery but also close to the core, as seen in Annex South, Cabbagetown and Riverdale verses HighPark and the UpperBeach(es) (see Figure 1).



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