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On medium density development

Over the past decade, Toronto has seen a proliferation of condos across the city. And while I do think this intensification is a great thing, we’ve been much better at building towers than anything else. We’ve neglected medium density development and it has bifurcated our housing market: you’re either in the market for a condo or for a house.

And since we’re not really building anymore of the latter, Toronto has become accustomed to bidding wars and multiple offers. Every young couple I know is in the market for an “hip fixer-upper in the city.” Problem is, that’ll cost you $700,000 or more and you may still need to gut it.

At this point, it’s not realistic to expect that we’ll be building anymore single family homes in the city—at least not at any sort of significant scale. We’re tapped out. But what we can reasonably expect is more medium density development. I’m talking about midrise developments along our avenues, laneway houses in people’s backyards and other creative infill solutions that sit somewhere between a house and a highrise.

If we’re concerned about creating equitable housing opportunities, then we’re going to need relieve some of the pressures on low rise housing. We’re going to need more diversity in our product offerings.

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