ShonTron

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To some extent I believe many Torontonians still believe Toronto outside the CBD and Yonge corridor should still remain the quaint Collingwood sort of small town feel, and anything taller than say 8 stories are "destroying" the tranquility and character of those low-rise neighbourhoods in the middle of Canada's largest city. This is why a 24s apartment at College/Spadian or a 25s cond at King/Church could be considered too tall (among other reasons, but most related to being too tall - the ubiquitous "shadowing" issue, or noise/congestion problem).

Protecting heritage is paramount in city building, but often it is just a disguise. I fail to see approval of a highrise will threaten heritage by setting "precedent" - aren't heritage buildings protected? The precendent only serves the good purpose for the city to be able to replace more 2 story slabs in downtown with something more dense and meaningful. A brand new 2 story pharmacy at this location only shows how backward and provincial-minded we are - because apparently a ten story is considered too dense for this location?

The Rexall isn't a new building, just a recently opened store in an older building that was previously a a computer store and orginally a bank.

Some people I guess would want to build tall for the sake of building tall, perhaps saving designated or listed heritage buildings.
 
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ksun

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If it destroys anything, it was the idea that College could be a unique midrise avenue west of University. If the corners of Spadina and College are redeveloped, the city should push for some sophisticated architecture given the grandeur of the Old Knox College vista.

agree but unfortunately College west of University has almost zero "midrise" buildings (by midrise I mean anywhere between 6 to 12s - a 4 story should hardly pass as a midrise).
Midrises make sense only when it is consistent, without ubiquitous low rise exceptions in between and around, otherwise, you never have the desired density. I doubt midrise avenue will work in downtown Toronto, especially when you walk into any side street from College st, it is nothing but two story homes like this http://goo.gl/maps/PoRlT If these streets are all converted into our ideal midrises, then what you described are indeed 100x better than building those 25s towers.
 
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ksun

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The Rexall isn't a new building, just a recently opened store in an older building that was previously a a computer store and orginally a bank.

Some people I guess would want to build tall for the sake of building tall, perhaps saving designated or listed heritage buildings.

I want to build tall not for the sake of building tall. Being taller means more office, residential and retail space downtown, means more amenities and walkability. I like builders to be taller because I love denser cities like Paris where 2+ million people live on an area of Old Toronto. When a city is denser, it consumes less energy per person, it makes transit more viable and it makes streets a lot livelier and life a lot more interesting.

Downtown land is precious. To have so many two story buildings (without heriage value) simply doesn't make sense.
 

arvelomcquaig

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I want to build tall not for the sake of building tall. Being taller means more office, residential and retail space downtown, means more amenities and walkability. I like builders to be taller because I love denser cities like Paris where 2+ million people live on an area of Old Toronto. When a city is denser, it consumes less energy per person, it makes transit more viable and it makes streets a lot livelier and life a lot more interesting.

Downtown land is precious. To have so many two story buildings (without heriage value) simply doesn't make sense.

Precisely! Well said. I like buildings to be taller because it’s better for the world, since it’s more efficient and sustainable, especially at such transit accessible areas like this one. Plus, I think it makes for neighbourhoods that are culturally richer, more interesting, less alienating, and with more interesting architecture.
 

ShonTron

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Precisely! Well said. I like buildings to be taller because it’s better for the world, since it’s more efficient and sustainable, especially at such transit accessible areas like this one. Plus, I think it makes for neighbourhoods that are culturally richer, more interesting, less alienating, and with more interesting architecture.

Again, that sounds like buildings should be tall for the sake of having tall buildings. Except for the Financial District, most of Toronto's best and most interesting buildings to me are its lowrises and midrises. You don't need height to achieve great density. Ksun cites Paris. Which has only a handful of highrises in the city proper.
 

ksun

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Again, that sounds like buildings should be tall for the sake of having tall buildings. Except for the Financial District, most of Toronto's best and most interesting buildings to me are its lowrises and midrises. You don't need height to achieve great density. Ksun cites Paris. Which has only a handful of highrises in the city proper.

yes, Paris doesn't have many highrises but it has very few low rises (under 4 or 5 stories) and there are few gaps - and that's why it can achieve a very high density.
It is not the same for Toronto. I mean even downtown has so many lowrise homes east of Jarvis and west of University, not to mention outside downtown. When I say so many, it literally means many large pockets filled with nothing but 1-3 story houses, which drags down density considerably. Imagine this, only by replacing each 1-3 story houses with a real 6-8 story house like they have in Paris, we triple our density without adding a single skyscraper.

And yes, there are interesting low rise neighbourhoods such as the Annex and Cabbage town, but how many are fortunately wealthy enough to live there? Even a dilapidated house in CHinatown is probably at least 800k nowadays. If the builders are taller, cost will come down and more people will be able to live in them.

I actually don't know any midrise neighbourhoods, maybe for the except of St Lawrence Market area. I mean a relatively large area, not just one stretch of a street.

I agree that we don't need heigh to achieve great density, on the condition that low rise houses under 4s are not practically everywhere.
 

arvelomcquaig

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I’ll never understand the argument that “you don’t need height to achieve density”. I could just as well say “you don’t need lack of height to achieve density”, so what’s wrong with height? And yes, midrise cities can be dense, but highrise equivalents are denser. If Paris’ buildings were taller than they are, they’d be denser. Furthermore, Paris’ (or other dense European cities’) midrise density isn’t feasible here because our roads are way wider, our buildings are further apart, and downtown space is already built up with short, 2-storey buildings. Parisian density would require redevelopment of enormous areas to design narrow streets surrounded by blocks crammed with midrise structures. That can’t happen in most areas of Toronto.

And my eternal question for proponents of midrise/opponents of highrise: What’s wrong with Manhattan? Do you hate Manhattan?
 

ksun

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midrise density isn’t feasible here because our roads are way wider

Midrises (I mean 6-12s) are ideal for many narrower streets such as Yonge between Dundas and Bloor, Queen between Parliament and Bathurst, Huron St, Beverly St, Baldwin st, George St, Homewood/Penbroke st, among many others, but all those are dominated by buildings under 4 stories. Bathurst is pretty wide, and look at how many midrises are on it. Despite all the braggadocio of being a vertical city, I am afraid 60% of downtown Toronto is still lowrise in nature.

Unless most those lowrise houses are replaced with 8s real midrises (not possible), the only way to increase downtown density is to build highrises. Downtown from Bathurst to Parliament is about 10 sq km, and I doubt 100k people live in it.
 

arvelomcquaig

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Exactly. Because Toronto is dominated by lowrises, the only way to achieve desirable density is to build highrises when possible.

Not only are the buildings along streets like Spadina and College too often lowrise, but for each of these major downtown streets there are huge swaths of tiny, almost suburban areas downtown consisting purely of residential lowrise, like Harbord Village, whatever neighbourhood is south of College, east of Spadina, and west of McCaul, etc. So, assuming that these huge areas of historic lowrises aren't going to be razed and converted to dense midrise development, we need highrises wherever they can fit.
 

argus

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What’s wrong with Manhattan? Do you hate Manhattan?

Toronto isn't Manhattan, so we don't have to emulate what we're not. Manhattan isn't wall-to-wall high-rises, either. And as noted by others, density can be increased by means other than towers.
 

argus

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Midrises? Where are they? Well, to start, I live in one. There are seven others in the vicinity of where I live. All are under 16 floors in height.

You just have to look.
 

ProjectEnd

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Again, that sounds like buildings should be tall for the sake of having tall buildings. Except for the Financial District, most of Toronto's best and most interesting buildings to me are its lowrises and midrises. You don't need height to achieve great density. Ksun cites Paris. Which has only a handful of highrises in the city proper.

And is one of the most unaffordable cities in Europe. Whether you agree with the principle of Arvelo's point or not, his math is solid: with mid-rises you get a certain amount of density, with taller buildings you get more.
 

ksun

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Midrises? Where are they? Well, to start, I live in one. There are seven others in the vicinity of where I live. All are under 16 floors in height.

You just have to look.

I am fine with 16 st buildings. I live in a 14s one right in the core. However, they are not midrises.
I am all for this kind of buildings downtow and nobody is asking for 50st towers all around the city, however, what I can't fathom is the fear of a 24s tower at College/Spadina while at the same time believing a 2/3 story nonedescript slab sitting there is perfect fine or is somehow better. I know most people will eventually move to the low rise suburbs once they have 1 or 2 kids, but allow downtown to densify and grow taller for those who will always live downtown previsely out of dislike toward lowrise houses.
 

ksun

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And is one of the most unaffordable cities in Europe. Whether you agree with the principle of Arvelo's point or not, his math is solid: with mid-rises you get a certain amount of density, with taller buildings you get more.


right, forgot that.
Most urbanists believe Paris' draconian height restriction directly makes the city to be completely unaffordable. That applies to San Fran as well, where 80% of the city is zoned for a max height of 4 stories, when housing demand is strong and price is sky high. Such policies are just stupid.

I don't know which is more important, so-called "neighbourhood character" or affordabilty of housing for the actual people who want to live in the city?
 

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