The Toronto mid-rise housing typology is known for architectural forms that often end up looking something like this:
The reason for this is the infamous “45-degree angular plane” that gets applied when new developments abut low-rise residential neighborhoods. It is a way to transition down and mitigate some of the impacts associated with this kind of infill development — usually the concerns are overlook, privacy, and shadowing.
These are, of course, legitimate concerns. But here’s the other side: Should we really be reducing the number of homes that we can build on our main streets by carving away area like this? Is overlook and shadowing more important than additional housing? Stepping buildings like this also makes constructing them more expensive and cumbersome. Are higher costs the goal?
It is for reasons like these that some people have been paying attention to the new Danforth Avenue Planning Study that went to Toronto City Council this week. Among other things, the study recommended the relaxation of the 45-degree angular plane standard along a portion of the Danforth.
This is certainly a step in the right direction. But in my humble opinion, it’s not nearly enough for an area that will ultimately sit at the intersection of two subway lines.