While I concur that the height-bashing and apartment bashing is over-done, to say the least, we ought not to throw out everything said, just because too much is hyperbolic nonsense.

There are some subtle truths across the piece.

It is true that many apartment/condominiums do find people being less social, and less aware of their neighbours than they might be in an SFH/Townhome type community.

It's important not to exaggerate that (there are plenty of streets where most SFH owners don't know their neighbours either.).

It's equally important not to demonize that; not everyone wants to be involved in a street-sale or community BBQ; and to gossip away the day.

But, as the same time, there is something to be said for having some awareness of your community and ability to partake in it, and influence it, hopefully in a positive way.

I think a lot of that can be addressed by design changes in buildings. The idea, for instance of creating a window from a unit into the hallway (which people can still have blinds/curtains for); but which creates some enhanced awareness of neighbours and also lets natural light into the hallway would be a good thing.

The idea of creating some sort of communal gathering space on each floor (likely around the elevator lobby; and one, ideally, deep enough to have its own picture window out to the community.

Those types of ideas facilitate neighbours being more engaged with one another (should they wish to be).

They work in 3-storey buildings and 30-storey buildings alike.

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I don't imagine that any resident of Time and Space (or other condos) will fail to dine-out or support local coffee shops in roughly the same proportion as local SFH owners; and I thought that line of thinking was just peculiar.

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Also when did the St. Lawrence neighbourhood become the 'Crombie Park' neighbourhood, LOL
Having stayed in many hotels with windows facing the hallway, it was a nightmare for noise.

Communal spaces would be an effective way to generate “community” in this sense. I think enclosed courtyards in the interior of buildings (like in Barcelona and other large cities in Spain) that are shared by all tenants would be effective. Another idea might be shared outdoor terraces on each floor.

Most importantly, I think we need to move toward protecting and creating small-scale commercial spaces in new buildings that can host the kind of businesses that might generate the community the author is looking for. Alex Bozikovic had a great Twitter thread on it a couple days ago. We need to get protection/inclusion of small commercial spaces codified somehow. I invite everyone to join me in emailing their councillor about this :D
 
Most importantly, I think we need to move toward protecting and creating small-scale commercial spaces in new buildings that can host the kind of businesses that might generate the community the author is looking for. Alex Bozikovic had a great Twitter thread on it a couple days ago. We need to get protection/inclusion of small commercial spaces codified somehow. I invite everyone to join me in emailing their councillor about this :D

On retail; there are multiple types of rules, both on space allocation/design/layout and on retail itself that contribute to diverse, local, quality retail.

1) Set a maximum square footage for any retailer (this has to allow for a decent-sized supermarket, but should essentially disallow any more Wal-marts, Super-Centres, or the current version Canadian Tire/Home Depot. Hard cap, 30,000ft2

2) Make sure buildings at-grade, do not do all-glass wraparounds, that they they demise units visibly with brick or other cladding.

3) Limit formula-retail (chains) by capping the number of stores any chain can operate within the City limits ( we can debate a number, but if you said '10' that would essentially encourage competition and local-ness by banning new 'Tim's', new Starbucks, new McDs etc.

4) Require a majority of retail space to be deeper than it is wide, by at least a 2 to 1 margin. Nothing kills vibrancy like window-wrap, but if you give a store nowhere else to put fridges, or back-of-house stuff, then that's where it's going.

5) Require most corner units, where feasible, to be designed with a patio in mind and/or open-able windows to accommodate restaurants and lively streetscapes.

6) Outlaw drive-thrus entirely.

7) Outlaw 'box signs', ensure all new development features a band for high quality, traditional signage above the at-grade retail.

8) Encourage some micro-units (all hyper-small is not good, you want diverse retail; but make sure there are smaller units available in large developments.
 
Last edited:
March 1, 2023:

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