In a column published in the Globe and Mail, Marcy Burchfield, Executive Director of the Neptis Foundation argues against disingenuous suggestions that Ontario's Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe is responsible for a shortage of land and rising house prices. Burchfield writes that the argument deflects from the real policy solutions needed to address the pressing problem of housing affordability. It also has the potential to further weaken a provincial policy that is at best a modest attempt to bring a more co-ordinated approach to planning across the Toronto region and address the problems associated with low-density urban sprawl.
New analysis shows that since 2006 (the year the Growth Plan was established), only a small portion of the GTHA's land supply for greenfield development has been built on. Neptis researchers have estimated that only about 10,800 of the 56,200 hectares was developed between 2006 and 2016; less than 20% of the total supply. That leaves 80% of the designated land supply to accommodate another 15 years' worth of growth to 2031 and possibly beyond.
The proposed amendments to the 2016 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe represent an important revision of the original 2006 Plan. But to succeed, loopholes must be filled and the province must step up to its role as regional planner.
Unlike the Greenbelt Plan, which is about where development will not occur, the Growth Plan is about where and how growth will occur across the Toronto region. In that sense, getting the Growth Plan right is critical, as the Greenbelt alone will not stop sprawl.
The proposed amendments - which are open for discussion and comment until 30 September 2016 - include language to manage growth and address issues that were not on the horizon in 2006. These include the Metrolinx Big Move regional transportation plan and the anticipated Climate Action Plan.
The Neptis Foundation was cited recently as an example of How hilanthropy Funds Sustainability by Sustainable City Network (SCN) as a leading funder in scholarly reserach in public policy issues on land use, transportation and environmental issues.
A Neptis Foundation report Planning for Prosperity which documents the current and evolving economic geography of the Toronto region was the subject of a recent panel discussion on TVO’s flagship show The Agenda. On hand to discuss the report with host Steve Paikin was author Pamela Blais, Marcy Burchfield, executive director of the Neptis Foundation and Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
The Neptis Foundation is pleased to release a new report by Pamela Blais on the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the transforming regional economic geography of the region.
This report maps and analyzes the dynamics of long-term structural changes – not merely cyclical market fluctuations – brought about by globalization and rapidly evolving technology in the economy of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The report concludes that the Growth Plan for the GGH is not grounded in the reality of the region’s economic geography.
On November 12, 2015, Marcy Burchfield appeared on The Agenda with host Steve Paikin as part of a panel that also included Keith Currie of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Joe Vaccaro of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association.
This report maps and analyzes the dynamics of long-term structural changes – not merely cyclical market fluctuations – brought about by globalization and rapidly evolving technology in the GGH economy. The study reveals a regional economic landscape characterized by concentrations of employment in Downtown Toronto, three large suburban employment megazones, and five Suburban Knowledge-Intensive Districts (SKIDs). Like Downtown Toronto, these megazones and SKIDs, contain a high proportion of “core” jobs, that is, jobs in the “tradeable” sectors that draw income into the region and are key to innovation and competition.
The author notes that the megazones and SKIDs are not recognized in The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe or in The Big Move, which focus instead on potential growth nodes called Urban Growth Centres (UGCs). The report contains suggestions for ways in which planning in the GGH could be better oriented towards ensuring a competitive, prosperous region that attracts businesses and investment.
In August 2014, newspaper headlines trumpeted the "Manhattanization" of Toronto. City Council, in the span of two days, approved 18 new high-rise apartment and office buildings in downtown Toronto, on top of 70,000 residential units already approved for construction. But what happens in downtown Toronto is only a small part of a much larger story of growth across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
This report compares the growth patterns of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) between 2001 and 2011 with that of Metro Vancouver. Both city-regions have growth management plans in place – the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in Ontario and a regional growth strategy called Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future in British Columbia. Although the Toronto region has reduced its rate of land consumption since the 1990s, 86% of the population increase between 2001 and 2011 was housed in new subdivisions built on greenfield sites, while in Metro Vancouver, 70% of the population increase went to intensification areas.
In both cities, the number of new dwellings outpaced population growth, most likely because of the Canada-wide trend towards smaller households. As intensification has not kept pace with growth in the GTHA, many established urban areas lost population between 2001 and 2011, whereas population loss was rare in Metro Vancouver. Metro Vancouver also offers a broader range of housing options than the GTHA, where new housing mainly takes the form either of single detached houses or of condominium apartments. The report concludes that Metro Vancouver’s growth strategy is more effective than Ontario’s Growth Plan in directing growth to areas that are already well served by transit and other infrastructure.