Illustration by Daniel Rotsztain
As of October 2016, five hundred apartment tower neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto acquired the ability to reconceive the social and economic character of their communities.
A multisectoral group of partners, including United Way Toronto, Toronto Public Health, the City of Toronto, and the Centre for Urban Growth + Renewal, have worked for several years to replace an outdated strict zoning category with a new, more flexible framework. The result, known as the Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) zone, now allows for a range of small-scale businesses and community amenities, from pop-up markets and urban agriculture to health services, grocery stores, and libraries. Across the City of Toronto, apartment neighbourhoods may now begin the process of incremental change toward more integrated, vibrant, and economically-diverse communities.
In October 2016, the Tower Renewal Partnership convened a RAC Implementation Roundtable. This roundtable assembled key stakeholders, including social service agencies and community organizations, to set out recommendations on how the RAC zone might most successfully be taken up across the city. In July 2017, the TRP co-hosted a RAC launch event, accompanied by the launch of a user-friendly website. The launch activities provide tower residents and landlords with clear information on how to take advantage of this new opportunity.
Increasing community resilience is a core objective of Tower Renewal — and removing barriers to local investment, supporting community initiatives, and strategic investments in community social infrastructure are all important steps toward achieving this goal. The RAC Zone is one step in this complex process.
Visit the RAC Zone website here and check out our blog posts on this initiative: