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An exciting new proposal for Toronto

I love change.

In fact, a big part of what I do for a living is imagining what things could be in the future. However, the bias that humans have toward the status quo has been well documented by people like Seth Godin, as well as many others. It is easier to defend that which already exists. Here’s how Seth puts it:

All one has to do is take the thing we have now as a given (ignoring its real costs) and then challenge the defects and question the benefits of the new thing, while also maximizing the potential risk.

So as I was reading this recent blogTO article about the work of Stephen Velasco, I wasn’t surprised to see some of the responses. Stephen has built an outstanding 3D model of all the towers that are currently planned or under construction in Toronto. Here’s what that looks like:

For some of you, this is exciting. And for others, this may look like too much density. In both cases, we might think we are being fair and reasonable in our assessment, but the reality is that it’s actually quite difficult to be a neutral judge. We are all guilty of poor logic and too much emotion.

But here’s a good mental exercise, put forward by Seth, to test your logic: flip the story and then see if you still feel the same way.

In this particular case, imagine that all of the above proposed buildings are already built. This is the city that we all live, work, and play in. This is the status quo. Now consider an exciting new proposal being put forward to demolish many/most of these buildings, create more surface parking lots in the core, industrialize our waterfront, and reduce our overall population density.

Photo from the 1940s:

Photo from the 1960s:

Is this a better proposal?


  1. Zack

    What an obscene strawman argument. No one is suggesting we keep surface parking lots and an industrialized waterfront. among those who question runaway development, people are fighting for affordable housing, green space etc. The developers of all of these condominium and other large buildings are not doing it because they have the best interest of the Toronto community in their hearts. They’re doing it for money. It is the job of citizens and the politicians they elect to take an active role when designing the future of our city, let’s not leave it to developers because as we can clearly see they suck at it. By the way I am pro density and I think we definitely need to build a lot of these buildings we just need to take advantage of this opportunity to build smart.


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