Tower Renewal Blog

New Report from CUG+R and United Way Toronto: Strong Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities: A New Approach to Zoning for Apartment Neighbourhoods

As a follow up to the findings of Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty, the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R) and United Way Toronto are pleased to release a new report entitled Strong Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities: A New Approach to Zoning for Apartment Neighbourhoods.

Download the full report.

The aim of this report is to identify existing policy barriers and consider policy alternatives to enable Toronto’s hundreds of apartment neighbourhoods to reach their potential as healthy, vibrant, and more complete communities.
Through an extensive review of existing policies and zoning by-laws that govern apartment properties, this report catalogues specific policy and process barriers that prevent neighbourhood investment, local economic development, and community initiatives. It then moves on to present an initial framework for a new approach to zoning in apartment neighbourhoods, one that will enable positive neighbourhood change moving forward.

Report Sections include:

Executive Summary

Part 1: Strong Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities: The Emergent Policy Consensus

Part 2: A Progressive Legacy | Legacy Barriers

Part 3: Dynamics, Trends and Emerging Challenges of Apartment Neighbourhoods

Part 4: Understanding Barriers to Investment: Regulatory and Process Barriers in Apartment Neighbourhoods

Part 5: Towards a Synchronized Policy Framework: Contemplating a New Zoning Framework for Apartment Neighbourhoods

Part 6: Conclusion and Recommendations

Appendix A: Mapping Apartment Towers, Poverty and Priority Investment Neighbourhoods

Appendix B: Chart: Process for Building Permit, Zoning By-Law Amendment and Variance, a Comparison

Appendix C: Policy Overview

Selected finding of this study were presented at the May 2012 Planning and Growth Management Committee at the City of Toronto. Following this presentation, the committee directed the Planning Division of the City of Toronto to work with the United Way Toronto and CUG+R, to develop a city-wide zoning strategy for apartment neighbourhoods to address the opportunities and challenges outlined in this report. The first phase of this ongoing work is to be completed in early 2013 and will be informed by the research presented in the report described above.

For more information on United Way Toronto, Vertical Poverty, and related initiatives, including United Way Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhood Renewal and Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy, visit