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Thread: State of the art in Canadian planning: what is it today?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
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    State of the art in Canadian planning: what is it today?

    When American planners tend to think of planning north of the border, they think of vibrant central cities, dense urban development, outstanding urban containment, decent public transportation, and stable racially and ethnically diverse communities. What they don't think of is this:


    Yikes! Nerudite posted some suburban Edmonton photos in the Worst Case Scenario gallery a while back, and they don't look much different. It looks like all the portable signs that were banned in the US migrated north of the border.

    Toronto apparently has its own problems with illegal billboards.


    This site is updated almost daily, unfortunately.

    I haven't heard much from Canada about their use form-based codes, design and architectural regulations, very strict sign codes (it seems like pylon signs are still the rule), access management, or other planning techniques that are gaining a lot of traction in the US.

    So, planners in Canuckistan: what's going on up there? Tell us what's state-of-the-art north of the border.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Jun 2008
    In case anyone doesn't know, each province has a different planning system, so like the US there can be big differences from province to province

    One of the biggest things in Ontario right now is the new emphasis on high level planning from the province
    • Places to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Growth Plan is for the metropolitan region of Toronto and Hamilton, including many satellite cities like Waterloo and Barrie. The Plan puts minimum density targets for greenfield development and for urban growth centres (downtowns and major suburban nodes). It also requires that at least 40% of new development takes place through intensification. Right now municipalities across the region are implementing this plan, and some are resisting the province's targets.
    • The province also put a Greenbelt in, which prohibits most forms of development in a ring around the city. This is being praised for limiting the expansion of the GTA, but it has also lead to leapfrog development in nearby municipalities (some say because the Greenbelt is too small).

    We have a few new techniques we can use in the site plan process. Municipalities can require elevation drawings as part of the process (to help developments better fit into a neighbourhood).
    • One interesting tool lets municipalities increase the permitted density for a development in exchange for community benefits, like public art or funding a pool for a community centre.
    • Municipalities can now require pre-consultation before an application is submitted, which can help find out potential issues before things go too far (although the private sector sees some of these meetings as a waste of time, especially if both local and regional governments require the meeting)
    • Another new tool is the development permit system. This is a one-stop system replacing the minor variance, re-zoning, and site plan processes. It has been implemented in a couple of places, but I'm not sure about the results. You can have discretionary uses and conditional zoning in the system.

    also, municipalities can refuse expansions of the urban boundary and appeals are no longer permitted.

    ps. Good idea for a thread, I'd be interested in what's happening in other provinces as well!
    Last edited by waterloowarrior; 04 Mar 2009 at 9:44 PM.

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