color block_1.jpg

Addressing Housing Infrastructure


// 2019 OAA Shift Challenge - Winning Entry //

Toronto has a housing problem. The city’s population is increasing, and the housing market can’t keep up. Over the next 25 years, 300,000 new households will call Toronto home.

So, what if a simple modification to the RD zone could ease Toronto’s housing supply problem?

Smart Neighborhood Density

In rapidly densifying cities, access to a variety of affordable housing types is becoming a core infrastructural issue. In Toronto, the supply of new units is limited to already dense nodes and avenues, often in high-rise towers.  In contrast, the “Yellowbelt” is a swath of land that covers much of the city where zoning and planning policy restrict new housing to low density, single-family detached homes. A few simple modifications to existing zoning definitions would allow modest densification in these areas without greatly affecting the exterior character and fabric of the neighborhood.

Multi-tach is a multi-family, detached building containing three to five condominium units that complies to all existing height and setback limits. Introducing this type of development to neighborhoods alongside single occupancy homes efficiently addresses the housing supply problem. These are faster and cheaper to build than typical multi-unit developments, capable reaching the market in one to two years compared to five to seven years required by high-rises. The various sizes and prices of individual units will encourage greater diversity in traditionally desirable neighborhoods while providing home ownership opportunities to demographics currently priced out of the housing market. Implementation of this concept would connect greater population density to existing local businesses and underutilized city services like transit and schools. While high-density development is straining municipal infrastructure, multi-tach offers opportunities for shared sustainable energy and servicing strategies. This minor tweak in zoning and planning definitions creates an equitable and sustainable template to address Toronto’s housing supply issue.