Reports examine densities of urban neighbourhoods in Toronto and the Great Golden Horseshoe

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 3:03:00 PM

Publication News

map of Greater Golden Horseshoe (Image source:         

George Baird and Robert Levit. 2011.
Urban Density Case Studies in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Density Scenarios: Proposals for Intensification of Selected Urban Growth Centres. Queen's Printer for Ontario.  184 pages and 135 pages respectively.

As background research part of the government of Ontario's Growth Plan initiative, Professors George Baird and Robert Levit (John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design) examined urban neighbourhoods in Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe that accommodate Growth Plan target densities in a manner that enhances rather than harms the community. The case studies provide informative models for how such densities can be accommodated in vibrant, successful neighbourhoods.  The Growth Plan is a 25 year vision under the Government of Ontario's Places to Grow Act, a program that plans for growth and development in a way that supports economic prosperity, protects the environment and helps communities achieve a high quality of life. 

These studies were prepared with the support of the Ontario Growth Secretariat at the Ministry of Infrastructure as background research during the development of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a rapidly growing urban region ringing western Lake Ontario. 

The Growth Plan identifies 25 existing or emerging downtown areas as important intensification areas, designated as Urban Growth Centres.  Included in the Plan are policies and minimum density targets to encourage their revitalization as a network of vibrant, transit-oriented nodes throughout the Horseshoe.  UGCs are a focus of institutional, commercial, recreational, cultural and entertainment uses and must be planned to accommodate and support major transit infrastructure; serve as high density major employment areas; and accommodate significant population and employment growth.

The above summary includes excerpts taken from the abovementioned reports.

Read the two reports at

For more information on Places to Grow and the Growth Plan, please visit

George Baird is Professor Emeritus and Robert Levit is Associate Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto.
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