Toronto is getting a lot of things right.  The Canary District has unique architecture with a ground plane that is artful, treeful and designed for pedestrians.  It is new and therefore not worked in yet, but it is becoming a neighbourhood which is difficult to achieve from scratch.  W. Queen W continues to groove along with a flow up Ossington that merges nicely into the Annex, but disconnects as it morphs towards King W hood.  The eastern lake edge hoods west of the Don are filling in with great thought given to use, mass, and amenity for a range of people-unlike the western lakeshore that is monolithic in its desired constituency.  So, what’s not to love.  A lot.  Urbanists continuously scream about the spaces in between and rightly so.  Good buildings grouped in discrete environments do nothing to promote contiguous civic life, it typically accents disparities between neighbourhoods.  With the pace of development across the city, and with firms such as Google Sidewalk Labs looking at meaningful technological connections as builders of civic life it becomes more important than ever that we also promote the tangible items that inhabit the ground plane as connectors between the buildings.  Streets, sidewalks, parks, paseos, bike lanes, benches, trees, bioswales, rain gardens, curbs, gutters, and of course people. Cities are more than the sum of their neighbourhoods.


Jeff is a partner and urban designer, planner and principal landscape architect at Terraplan.

Contact Jeff Craft at

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