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Rethinking the tower

The Ryerson City Building Institute recently published a new report called, Rethinking the Tower: Innovations for Housing Attainability in Toronto.

It looks at four possible approaches to improving housing attainability/affordability in the city:

Micro Living: Well-designed micro units can offer a cost-effective alternative to conventional apartments, particularly in central locations where higher land costs can be a barrier to affordability.

Shared Space: Co-living, where residents share amenities and services, can improve affordability and create a sense of community, particularly in walkable, transit-connected neighbourhoods where housing costs are high.

Home Unbundling: Features, finishes and amenities unbundled from the unit price of condominiums can allow greater choice and reduced costs for homebuyers.

Equity Options: With more households renting, and the transition from renting to owning growing ever more challenging, new shared-equity models can help families invest in their home, even if they rent.

In addition, the report also provides a number of project case studies from around the world. If you’d like to download a copy, you can do that here.


  1. Lisa McGill

    Do not agree with the unbundling concept for reducing costs. Developers presently have the best cost
    incentives for inputs and generally speaking use pretty cheap fit and finish. A purchaser would be hard pressed to do it in a more cost effctive way. There is also minimum completion requirements for interim occupancy. Unbundling works great for higher end properties when you sell designer ready then you can customize the finishes but this is costly.


  2. Stephanie M

    I agree with Lisa. Further customizing finishes etc doesn’t seem like it would reduce costs as there Would no longer be an economy of scale. As for micro units, this seems as if it would just drive the trend even more in the direction it’s going: smaller and more expensive.
    As for housing affordability in general, am always surprised that no one talks about the elephant in the room: building affordable housing. In singapore, close to 90% of citizens live in HDB flats. Affordable housing contracted by the government.. There are restrictions- only for citizens, cannot be rented out, purchase price is somewhat controlled… but it works quite well. Luxury condos, houses, gated communities, are a parallel universe of Singaporean real estate for the millionaire’s playground, with foreign investors and wealthy singaporeans driving the prices. Many singaporeans live in HDB flats and invest in developer built units on the side., buying and trading units like stocks.
    Our affordability crisis is driven by other factors than just availability of units. Giving citizens and PR a Roof over their heads at an affordable price seems as if it would help our economy.


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