Tower Renewal Blog

Mayor’s Tower Renewal

opportunities-book-cover-sm.jpgMayor’s Tower Renewal

Over the past year, E.R.A. Architects has been working with the City of Toronto to implement the Tower Renewal Project.

Beginning in Spring 2007, the City began working with E.R.A. and the University of Toronto to adapt the ideas of Tower Renewal into policy. The result is the Mayor’s Tower Renewal Opportunities Book, and the Mayor’s recommendations, which will be presented to the Executive Committee at the City of Toronto on September 2nd. It will be recommending that the City adopt Tower Renewal as a major policy objective, knitting together goals related to environmental sustainability, complete communities, economic development, infrastructure and growth.

The Opportunities Book, edited by E.R.A., compiles research conducted over the past several years by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, (particularly the building science research of Dr. Ted Kesik and Ivan Saleff), and E.R.A., outlining in further detail some of the information that has been released on in the previous months.

Tower Renewal will place new expectations of complete and sustainable communities upon our Apartment Neighbourhoods, and will provide a variety of tools to enable possible change. The programme will provide access to incentives for Tower Renewal projects based on achieving specific targeted objectives. These include:

Environment: Achieving significant reductions to greenhouse gas emissions in the Toronto region through the over-cladding of high-rise concrete residential buildings, adding energy savings and renewable features to their site such as district solar, wind and geothermal power, developing on-site waste management and urban agriculture, along with providing improved access to public transit and other alternatives to car use.

Community: Creating complete communities within Apartment Neighbourhoods with the full range of community services and amenities, opportunities for employment, training, and entrepreneurship, as well as housing types and tenures. These should be specific to the needs of residents, responsive to built and cultural heritage, integrated into the community at large, and enable sustainable lifestyles.

Economy: Developing leading green industries dedicated to high-quality building retrofits, sustainable development, and community design. This includes product design, local manufacturing, and green skills training, as well as job creation within Apartments Neighbourhoods and throughout Toronto.

Mayor’s Tower Renewal is the City of Toronto’s proactive response to the opportunities of the Tower Renewal Project. Beginning with a series of pilot sites, the program will make possible building upgrades, community reinvestment and greening initiatives, which will bring real investment to priority neighbourhoods; foster vibrant communities, and reduce greenhouse gases throughout the City. It will also be recommending that the City establish a Tower Renewal office, in part to co-ordinate the many departments involved in the initiative, and in part to determine the processes and procedures best suited for successful renewal of Toronto‚Äôs concrete high-rise residential buildings. For more information on Mayor’s Tower Renewal, visit

The Opportunities Book will become available for Download.

Concurrent to Mayor’s Tower Renewal, CMHC and the City are funding a technical ‘Best Practices Guidebook’; focusing on building over-cladding for Tower Renewal. Lead by Profs Ted Kesik and Ivan Saleff at the University of Toronto, it is to be released in the winter of 2008.