daniel_kryz

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I read the whole post. None of a 13, 15 or 21 storey building would “ruin the neighbourhood forever” lmao. I have no patience or respect for the notion that we must forever kowtow to rich people and their houses, entrenching their wealth and “protecting” them from the horrors of shadow, 1% reduced sky view, more people on the sidewalk, etc. I just don’t care and I think it’s inequitable the way the OP builds a policy fortress around Neighbourhoods. If you live a stone’s throw from Yonge St and multiple subway stations, parks and schools, retail and offices, in a $2, $3, $4, $5+-million house, you should have some responsibility and tolerance for growth along with the privilege of living there. A well-designed tall building does not “ruin” a neighbourhood and I will not stand for this drivel!!
First of all, calm down. If you want to ask me a question, ask it respectfully.
I agree that we have too many limitations in the Official Plan and the guidelines that disincentivize mid-rise development, and that we have too many Neighbourhoods (single-family homes) in Toronto. On the other hand, this doesn't mean that tall buildings are appropriate everywhere. It would be wrong to plop them right next to 2 to 3 storey homes without any transitions. The Scrivener Square site is appropriate because the adjacent sites are mid-rise, and then the adjacent sites to those adjacent sites are low-rise. I don't think it's good policy to allow tall buildings right next to tiny ones, and I believe some buffers should exist. Other than that, this street has historically been a mid-rise "main street". Preserving it would preserve the entire function and purpose of this stretch of Yonge Street. We wouldn't solve the housing crisis by allowing tall skyscrapers to built anywhere. We can solve it by allowing reasonable density in our Neighbourhoods. I have never understood how anyone could advocate for uncontrolled development with infinite heights without consideration for its impacts on the city... including visual, social, and transportation impacts. "Growth" does not mean that anything is appropriate so long as it brings more housing units. In fact, if we allow just anything to get built next to Neighbourhoods, then the NIMBYs will only get louder and more influential. We should be talking about increasing density to a reasonable level across the region, and do so with attention to context & detail.
 

DavidCapizzano

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First of all, calm down. If you want to ask me a question, ask it respectfully.
I agree that we have too many limitations in the Official Plan and the guidelines that disincentivize mid-rise development, and that we have too many Neighbourhoods (single-family homes) in Toronto. On the other hand, this doesn't mean that tall buildings are appropriate everywhere. It would be wrong to plop them right next to 2 to 3 storey homes without any transitions. The Scrivener Square site is appropriate because the adjacent sites are mid-rise, and then the adjacent sites to those adjacent sites are low-rise. I don't think it's good policy to allow tall buildings right next to tiny ones, and I believe some buffers should exist. Other than that, this street has historically been a mid-rise "main street". Preserving it would preserve the entire function and purpose of this stretch of Yonge Street. We wouldn't solve the housing crisis by allowing tall skyscrapers to built anywhere. We can solve it by allowing reasonable density in our Neighbourhoods. I have never understood how anyone could advocate for uncontrolled development with infinite heights without consideration for its impacts on the city... including visual, social, and transportation impacts. "Growth" does not mean that anything is appropriate so long as it brings more housing units. In fact, if we allow just anything to get built next to Neighbourhoods, then the NIMBYs will only get louder and more influential. We should be talking about increasing density to a reasonable level across the region, and do so with attention to context & detail.

sorry but have you even looked at the plans? Is this not a transition down to the houses? It literally includes three townhomes facing the side street as a transition

1625690322994.png
 

daniel_kryz

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sorry but have you even looked at the plans? Is this not a transition down to the houses? It literally includes three townhomes facing the side street as a transition

View attachment 333547
You misunderstood. I support this project, but I don't support tall buildings on this site... as proposed by @ookpik
The transition here is good, and the respect for context in the architectural expression makes this a home run!
 

UtakataNoAnnex

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You misunderstood. I support this project, but I don't support tall buildings on this site... as proposed by @ookpik
The transition here is good, and the respect for context in the architectural expression makes this a home run!
It's not that tall at all. The James under construction across the road from this will be taller.
 

ookpik

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On the other hand, this doesn't mean that tall buildings are appropriate everywhere. It would be wrong to plop them right next to 2 to 3 storey homes without any transitions.
Can you give any specific reasons why it would be "wrong" to put a tall building next to a 2 to 3 storey house, other than that it would piss off rich people?
I don't think it's good policy to allow tall buildings right next to tiny ones, and I believe some buffers should exist.
Again, why exactly?
Other than that, this street has historically been a mid-rise "main street".
Not the case at all. Historically this was a forest. Then a road was cut through and it was large estate lots and some 1 to 3 storey buildings for a long time. Yonge & Scrivener/Shaftesbury then became home to a major train station in the 1910s and grew in importance and centrality. Then the station closed in the 1930s and the area was less important until the subway opened in the 1950s and it picked up again. Then some mid-rise office and residential buildings came in the last 50 years. The only constant about this area, post wilderness, is that it has constantly changed as the population has grown. As it will continue to do.
We wouldn't solve the housing crisis by allowing tall skyscrapers to built anywhere.
Actually... this would definitely solve the housing crisis. Imagine 10 house owners in a great location near transit could get together and pool their land for minimal cost and allow a tall housing building to be built. This would pull the rug out from under the land values of those who currently own developable lands in the Centres and Mixed Use Areas, and drive down the cost of housing immediately. Abundance of supply also generally drives down cost.
We can solve it by allowing reasonable density in our Neighbourhoods.
This is, for sure, part of the solution.
I have never understood how anyone could advocate for uncontrolled development with infinite heights without consideration for its impacts on the city... including visual, social, and transportation impacts.
Who advocated for "uncontrolled development with infinite heights"? Me? Don't think so.
On the topic of "transportation impacts" -- well, here's the thing. People are moving to Toronto. That isn't going to stop. Should we not allow and even encourage housing next to subway stations? Like the very site we are discussing in this thread? Otherwise those people are going to buy cars and make it harder for everyone to move around town. So density near transit makes a lot of sense. This argument works against you.
What is a "visual" or "social" "impact" of a tall building? Sounds to me like NIMBY code words for "people not like us" and "more people". Serious question, what is a "visual" or "social" "impact" of a tall building? What does this mean?
In fact, if we allow just anything to get built next to Neighbourhoods, then the NIMBYs will only get louder and more influential.
Don't care. They are already too loud and have too much influence. Being scared of them getting louder and more annoying is not a principle around which to build policy. I just don't care what NIMBYs think.

Edited to add detail to the history summary.
 
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daniel_kryz

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Sorry for the late reply. I've had a very busy summer, and haven't been on UrbanToronto for a while.
Can you give any specific reasons why it would be "wrong" to put a tall building next to a 2 to 3 storey house, other than that it would piss off rich people?
Because it's simply bad urban design. Putting tall buildings directly next to 2 to 3 storey homes would feel like standing next to a giant. That's why it's reasonable to increase density gradually (ex. 4 storey next to the small homes, then 6, then 12, etc). Also, almost every Canadian is a homeowner and lives in a home. It's wrong to generalize homeowners as "rich people".
Again, why exactly?
(see above)
Many more reasons - too many to explain.
Not the case at all. Historically this was a forest. Then a road was cut through and it was large estate lots and some 1 to 3 storey buildings for a long time. Yonge & Scrivener/Shaftesbury then became home to a major train station in the 1910s and grew in importance and centrality. Then the station closed in the 1930s and the area was less important until the subway opened in the 1950s and it picked up again. Then some mid-rise office and residential buildings came in the last 50 years. The only constant about this area, post wilderness, is that it has constantly changed as the population has grown. As it will continue to do.
Yes, every place in the world was once covered in nature. So what? That alone does not prove your point. This stretch of Yonge is successful at being a vibrant retail main street, and has had much history in making this a unique community. The fact that it used to be a forest does not prove your point of there "being no constant".
Actually... this would definitely solve the housing crisis. Imagine 10 house owners in a great location near transit could get together and pool their land for minimal cost and allow a tall housing building to be built. This would pull the rug out from under the land values of those who currently own developable lands in the Centres and Mixed Use Areas, and drive down the cost of housing immediately. Abundance of supply also generally drives down cost.
Allowing tall buildings to be built anywhere would solve the unaffordability of condos/apartments, but would not do anything for people that need more space or just generally don't want to live in a tall building. Also, Line 1 (Yonge section) is already very overcrowded and that is why adding huge amounts of density along the entire street would be reckless. In my opinion, it is better to shift density around other transit lines (and sections of Line 1) that have room for ridership growth. Even with the Ontario Line, the Yonge subway will still be near capacity. While I agree that supply matters, planning policy should not be solely based on statistics & economics. There is much more to consider when building a city, such as livability, transportation, how people experience it, adequate habitats for people, and much much more. Every time that planners made decisions & policies simply based on statistics, it created many unintended consequences. Planning is about shaping the city, and doing so by considering as many perspectives as possible for what the people want their city to be.
This is, for sure, part of the solution.
Of course! Allowing sensitive & contextual development in Neighbourhoods is a much better solution than pushing for max heights in every development that is located in Centres, Downtown, or along the Avenues... sadly many continue to push for max heights as if it's the only solution. My preferred approach is, in my opinion, a thoughtful evolution of the city that fixes our problems without wrecking what makes people love this city in the first place. We've seen how destructive the wrecking ball approach of the 20th century was to our cities. Many small communities were demolished in favour of huge towers, and we now know that it didn't only destroy identity... it also destroyed the tiny details that made the city work in the first place.
Who advocated for "uncontrolled development with infinite heights"? Me? Don't think so.
On the topic of "transportation impacts" -- well, here's the thing. People are moving to Toronto. That isn't going to stop. Should we not allow and even encourage housing next to subway stations? Like the very site we are discussing in this thread? Otherwise those people are going to buy cars and make it harder for everyone to move around town. So density near transit makes a lot of sense. This argument works against you.
What is a "visual" or "social" "impact" of a tall building? Sounds to me like NIMBY code words for "people not like us" and "more people". Serious question, what is a "visual" or "social" "impact" of a tall building? What does this mean?
1. Sorry, you are advocating for very significant heights around subway stations. Except... don't forget, we still have our Avenues that are well-served by transit - some even with streetcars. We can transform them by speeding up transit via space allocation & good service planning (plus speeds), and most importantly make developing sites along Avenues easier by giving developers automatic planning permission. This would mean that developers wouldn't need to go through long Official Plan Amendment or Zoning By-law Amendment processes (often adds years to the approval process), and would only require them to submit a Site Plan Application (which only reviews design + technical details). This would give developers certainty of how much profit they could make from these sites (trust me, they care much less about being forced to add bike parking or decorative pavers), thereby shifting more development outside of the overgrown parts of our city, while providing a housing typology that is more attractive for consumers along with a pretty good foundation for infrastructure & amenities. Of course, we could also change our Mid-Rise Building Performance Standards which make for excessive restrictions (on stepbacks, floor width, etc) fueled by NIMBYism, but that's a whole other topic.
2. I agree that generally subway station areas should not have low-rise density, save for a few exceptions. I take a balanced approach to this issue. I don't think we should stack as much density as possible on each site, and I have explained above.
3. Believe it or not, our built environment impacts us as people. That is what I mean by social impacts. Think about the tower-in-the-park typology (housing projects). One big reason for their failure is due to how austere the buildings & public realm were designed. They are often disconnected from the city either by location or due to excessive setbacks from streets, do not create the right conditions for activation of public spaces... rendering them desolate and just about right for criminals, and the design aesthetic is one that most people (except for a few crazy architects) could not possibly care about. The quality of our built environment directly influences whether or not we actually care about these places (great explanation here).
4. Believe it or not, aesthetics matter. Of course, I could talk about how tall buildings (when poorly designed in shape) create huge shadows, deteriorate the vibrancy of the public realm, and can really look like monoliths or ugly eyesores when poorly located or massed. I would like to mention the fact that many people still do care about aesthetics, and most developments in Toronto are a) poorly executed in the quality of materials b) have lazy and/or repeated designs c) have no regard for context, do not preserve the context's identity, and do not create identity and d) are regarded as ugly or "nothing special" or "I've seen the same building in literally every city in the world" by most people. The fact that people think of beauty as "purely subjective" is very sad, and has contributed to our society's apathy for architecture (in the sense that we don't demand it anymore).
Don't care. They are already too loud and have too much influence. Being scared of them getting louder and more annoying is not a principle around which to build policy. I just don't care what NIMBYs think.
That's not how the world works. We don't live in a dictatorship and, at the end of the day, all planning policies are approved by City Councillors who want to get re-elected. If we are to solve Toronto's problems, we have to think of how to convince people that our ideas are great... and most importantly, we have to learn from people on how to make our ideas better. Many NIMBYs aren't opposed to new housing, they're just opposed to how housing is getting built. And very often, it all comes down to the tiny details. Many people are very happy to accept developments that make their communities better, and surprisingly... those that are attractive. People hate their quaint neighbourhood turning into an uncoordinated overbuild of glass boxes. They're just not sophisticated enough to see how, with some tweeks, development can be a nice thing. That's why we need to hear their concerns... because we can learn from them while still solving our city's challenges.
 
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DavidCapizzano

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Also, almost every Canadian is a homeowner and lives in a home. It's wrong to generalize homeowners as "rich people".

Hard disagree - especially when it comes to this site. The cheapest homes nearby are all like 1.5 million at the least... Homeowners, especially in Toronto have seen their property values rise so much in the last decade, many of whom have cashed out and received the biggest paycheques of their lives. You can't just own a multi-million dollar asset like a toronto home and say you're not rich. A home is an asset and it literally translates to one's wealth.
 

xy3

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Hard disagree - especially when it comes to this site. The cheapest homes nearby are all like 1.5 million at the least... Homeowners, especially in Toronto have seen their property values rise so much in the last decade, many of whom have cashed out and received the biggest paycheques of their lives. You can't just own a multi-million dollar asset like a toronto home and say you're not rich. A home is an asset and it literally translates to one's wealth.
Great point.

I'd be lying if I said I don't envy homeowners in prime locations.
If you cashed out and put $1,500,000 put into a conservative mutual funds, ETFs, and/or dividend paying stocks you'd, on average, be able to expect to generate a 5 % annual return on the low end. That would equate to around $75,000 a year in investment income before tax.

That's a comfortable downtown bachelor condo rental lifestyle for a single minimalist without a family. And you wouldnt even need to go to work!
 
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interchange42

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Yup, the "almost every Canadian is a homeowner and lives in a home" line is bunkum, especially in this city where 47% of households are renting. @daniel_kryz, careful about presenting opinions as facts, which you do a bit above. Just stating something doesn't make it a fact, and if it's not explained (opinion or fact), it remains unhelpful.

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salsa

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So I guess no one plans to put the homeowner comment aside for a moment and actually address the main arguments in that post?
 

Undead

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Yup, the "almost every Canadian is a homeowner and lives in a home" line is bunkum, especially in this city where 47% of households are renting. @daniel_kryz, careful about presenting opinions as facts, which you do a bit above. Just stating something doesn't make it a fact, and if it's not explained (opinion or fact), it remains unhelpful.

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The figure for Canada overall is 60-70%, no? So not that bunk.
 

interchange42

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The figure for Canada overall is 60-70%, no? So not that bunk.
"Almost every Canadian" is still wrong if 3 or 4 in 10 households are renters, and usually only two per household, (sometimes only one person is the owner), while dependents aren't counted either way, and the younger you are, the less likely you are to be able to stake your claim in the ownership class now. The point is that it's becoming harder and harder to be a homeowner, 47% don't own in Toronto and that number will just go up, and when people throw around "Almost every Canadian" it marginalizes the needs of anyone not in that group, in this case a group that extends to many millions of people. Renters should not be marginalized.

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