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Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: An Analysis of High-Rise Apartment Tower Neighbourhoods Developed in the Post-War Boom (1945-1984)

The Greater Golden Horseshoe is unique globally for its pattern of urbanization due to the proliferation of post-war apartment towers throughout the region.

In 2009 ERA Architects and planningAlliance (the founding partners of CUG+R) as well as the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto, were commissioned by the Ontario Growth Secretariat, in the Ministry of Infrastructure, to analyze this housing resource and examine its future role in our growing region.

The study examined and catalogued the 1,925 Apartment Towers developed in the post war boom (between 1945 and 1984) as well as an additional 1,155 lower rise apartment (5-7 storeys) of the same time period. Together, these post-war apartments contain 496,591 units and make up 17% of all housing in the region, 20% of all housing in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and nearly a third of all housing in the City of Toronto. The study examines the current condition of this housing resource, and the neighbourhoods they form, throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The study then explored the potential for reengaging these Towers through a process of neighbourhood renewal to support the realization of provincial priorities including the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, creating a network of regional rapid transit, conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas production, reducing poverty, providing affordable housing, and building a green economy.

Findings of this research initiative have been published as the report Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: An Analysis of High-Rise Apartment Tower Neighbourhoods Developed in the Post-War Boom (1945-1984), was published in late 2010, available here for download.