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.
The paper explains key features of the Plan, highlights questions surrounding its implementation, and presents Neptis research on the rate of urbanization over 20 years in fast-growing urban regions across Canada. The research shows that although the rate of urban expansion - i.e., land consumption at the edge - has slowed down in recent years even before the establishment of the Growth Plan, much greater effort can be made, in the GTHA in particular, to create a more diversified and affordable housing stock in newly developed suburban areas.
Under the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area set aside 56,200 hectares for development to 2031. Between 2006 and 2011, only 9% of this area was actually developed. This finding suggests that the current land supply for the region may last well beyond 2031.
The Toronto Star recently published an article about the Growth Plan review in which Marcy Burchfield and Philipa Campsie of the Neptis Foundaiton are are quoted about research that can inform the Provincial review of various land use plans.
Executive Director Marcy Burchfield was invited to speak at the City Institute Seminar Series where she discussed the latest Neptis Brief Rethinking Suburban Sprawl: Is planning policy leading or following the market? Preliminary findings show that in the past 20 years, while the populations of the Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto city-regions continue to expand, the rate at which new land is being urbanized at the edge has decreased over time – sometimes quite dramatically.
The beta version of the Neptis Geoweb, an interactive mapping platform being developed by the Neptis Foundation was the focus of a talk by Executive Director Marcy Burchfield at The Latornell Conservation Symposium held at the Nottawasaga Inn Resort & Convention Centre in Alliston, Ontario. The Latornell Conservation Symposium is one of Ontario’s premier annual environmental events and provides a forum for practitioners, policy makers, nongovernment organizations, academics and businesses to network and discuss the challenges and opportunities in Ontario’s conservation field.
Marcy Burchfield was invited to participate in a discussion about the future of transportation by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at their BizSkule event, The 3rdUrban Revolution: Re-thinking the Future of Transportation.
Ontario’s Places to Grow was of great interest to the delegation, as Ningbo is trying to curb enormous sprawl and integrate TOD into their planning. The delegation was interested in learning more about green infrastructure, sustainable urban development and infrastructure finance; meeting technical experts and government officials to exchange ideas and experiences; and visiting some sites to see the impacts of relevant policies and incentives of infrastructure and urban development.
The challenges which have arisen during the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was the focus of a talk by Executive Director Marcy Burchfield at a Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) conference titled: Cities at the Edge: Urbanizing Suburbia in the Regional City.
Burchfied was part of a panel which included Larry Clay of the Ontario Growth Secretariat, Joe Berridge from Urban Strategies, and Mary-Lou Tanner from Niagara Region. Her talk was based on a Neptis report, the first comprehensive review of the Plan. The report paints a picture of an innovative, award-winning plan under pressure and behind schedule.