Toronto Lower Don Lands Redevelopment | ?m | ?s | Waterfront Toronto

Next Week's TTC meeting has a report updating transit expansion:

Report here: https://ttc-cdn.azureedge.net/-/med...adc2369&hash=56CCD2A8AEA8D4DF87FF083739A3DA9F

Of note from that report is this: (column on right is estimated in-service date)

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@AlexBozikovic has chimed in on the proposed Villiers area in a new Globe and Mail column, here:


Essentially he's advocating for much higher densities.
I'm inclined to disagree; I think this is a decently dense proposal as it is and Toronto doesn't need yet another wall of skyscrapers.

I do think he brings up a valid critique of road width. Toronto continues to build streets in new areas, and not the major arterials,
but the local streets, with ROWs in excess of 13M across. I'd be happy to see that cut down quite a bit. I should add, were some ROWs cut to size, one could bump up density decently
without having to significantly increase height.

But read away and draw your own conclusions!

Article is not paywalled at time of posting.
 
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@AlexBozikovic has chimed in on the proposed Villiers area in a new Globe and Mail column, here:


Essentially he's advocating for much higher densities.
I'm inclined to disagree; I think this is a decently dense proposal as it is and Toronto doesn't need yet another wall of skyscrapers.

I do think he brings up a valid critique of road width. Toronto continues to build streets new in new areas, and not the major arterials,
but the local streets with ROWs in excess of 13M across. I'd be happy to see that cut down quite a bit. I should add, were some ROWs cut to size, one could bump up density decently
without having to significantly increase height.

But read away and draw your own conclusions!

Article is not paywalled at time of posting.

I am going to have to agree with Alex on this. We are spending quite a bit of money rehabilitating this space to make it open to development, and the context of the city at this time is a housing crisis.

This area is a blank slate, with no NIMBYs, will be close to the East Harbour employment center, and if anyone in the province gets smart, a rapid transit station at Cherry (OL or GO)

It doesn’t need to be a neighborhood of 40 story buildings, but it can be certainly more accommodating of more housing than is currently planned. And while I think he’s wrong about the WDL being a bad place (it’s only half built), he is right that the street could be narrower and the buildings taller, recognizing that WDL was planned in 2005 and didn’t allow for more growth when the urban context changed.

It’s also an opportunity to be really innovative with density, perhaps even a chance to ignore many of the high rise doctrines that create ugly architecture in Toronto today.
 
I am going to have to agree with Alex on this. We are spending quite a bit of money rehabilitating this space to make it open to development, and the context of the city at this time is a housing crisis.

This area is a blank slate, with no NIMBYs, will be close to the East Harbour employment center, and if anyone in the province gets smart, a rapid transit station at Cherry (OL or GO)

It doesn’t need to be a neighborhood of 40 story buildings, but it can be certainly more accommodating of more housing than is currently planned. And while I think he’s wrong about the WDL being a bad place (it’s only half built), he is right that the street could be narrower and the buildings taller, recognizing that WDL was planned in 2005 and didn’t allow for more growth when the urban context changed.

It’s also an opportunity to be really innovative with density, perhaps even a chance to ignore many of the high rise doctrines that create ugly architecture in Toronto today.

I also agree with this perspective -- there's lots of room between the current plan (below) and exclusively very tall towers, and that's absolutely worth exploring here. I found WT's quote in the piece effectively equating lower density with better urbanism prima facie to be particularly frustrating and unhelpful.

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Additionally, as Alex alluded to in his piece, I think the current plan leaves a lot to be desired in terms of urban design and public realm, two areas in which the City famously does not excel (and in which WT has a mixed record). The plan is for the same urban design formula that the City foists on virtually every non-suburban area: traditional grid, way too many vehicular roads, not nearly enough intrigue in either public realm or built form frameworks. Outside the destination parks (which surround, but do not infiltrate the actual built form context at any place), which of these places will be at all special? Where are the weird and memorable nooks and crannies? Where is the intrigue that will prevent this from looking like Anywheresville, North America?

The very first of the Built Form Principles in the Precinct Plan reads "Create a varied and dynamic built form that contributes to the city and Port Lands skyline and creates visual interest" -- what is the argument that should convince us that this principle is going to be delivered on based on this plan? The last one that WT and the City collaborated on -- East Bayfront -- is a roundly forgettable public realm (absent the design of Sugar Beach, for which Cormier deserves the credit), and does not inspire confidence that they'll get it right this time.
 
@ADRM’s points are excellent. Looking at this highres render (and imagining the grey reality), would you want to hang out on this wide sidewalk, next to a wide street? Why?

As for density, it’s not clear to me why more density would make this place worse, in any sense. Nor did anyone I spoke to have a good answer to that question.

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Taller buildings might cast a shadow on parts of the park every December 21.

The principle parkland here is on the north and west, so shadowing is relatively limited as primarily, sunlight originates from the south and west here.

Though the exception would be space next to Keating.
 
@ADRM’s points are excellent. Looking at this highres render (and imagining the grey reality), would you want to hang out on this wide sidewalk, next to a wide street? Why?

As for density, it’s not clear to me why more density would make this place worse, in any sense. Nor did anyone I spoke to have a good answer to that question.

Can we try this another way. Name me all the super high-density areas in Toronto that have a wonderful human-scaled streetscape/public realm.

Would that be City Place? St. Jamestown? Crescent Town? The corner of Yonge + Eg?
Might I suggest, that for the most part, such spaces end up undesirable. They are places people by
and large end up not wanting to live; and when they do; they tend to have sterile street life.

Is it impossible to do better w/hirise? No.

However, it is challenging, and successes are rare.
 
@ADRM’s points are excellent. Looking at this highres render (and imagining the grey reality), would you want to hang out on this wide sidewalk, next to a wide street? Why?

As for density, it’s not clear to me why more density would make this place worse, in any sense. Nor did anyone I spoke to have a good answer to that question.

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There are many many downsides to the super high density you are advocating for.

Dog poop everywhere, noise, overflowing garbage and recycling bins. Allow me to use a bit of hyperbole, and Google "living in ICE condominiums", this type of density does not breed desirable living conditions.

We need more gentle density in the yellow belt, which you advocate for. That is where the focus should be. Insisitng on super high density in Villiers and the West Don Lands (which is already a dense neighbourhood) distracts from that idea and leaves those places worse off for the people who eventually call these neighbourhoods home.
 

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