• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

NU development in Toronto

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
930
Points
23
Developer wants to build as dense as possible in suburban Toronto.

City has no problem with the density as the development is near transit and will help urbanize the area.

The stacked townhomes then hit the market and the public snatch up all 400 units before a shovel hits the ground. Main selling features are location, proximity to transit.

Developer wants to make more money, plans are constantly revised for more residential units. City stamps approval, the public continues to buy. Retail and commercial companies show interest in becoming part of this new urban community.

This has always been the attitude in Toronto and it seems to work well. Yet some are against NU developments simply because they are NU. I believe people should have the freedom to live where and how they like.

Now for the pics of the ever growing Avondale Community in suburban Toronto.


Stacked townhomes fronting newly constructed grid of streets.



No backyards, just the back enterance. Private garden and amenity space is located on the roof, also shown in the first pic.



Public Square



Future site of new public park.



Offices centered around transit hub in the distance, within 10 minute walk.



Same area, diffrent developer.


An aerial of a diffrent development site just up the road from Avondale. Notice the tenis court is located on the roof of a local supermarket.
 
Last edited:

DA Monkey

Cyburbian
Messages
84
Points
4
Interesting comment that:

People should be allowed to live how and where they want!!

It strikes me that much of town planning is concerned with telling people what they can and cannot do with their bit of turf. NU in particular is very restricitive in what it allows people to do and not to do with their own lifestyle/living arrangements.

From a personal suburban context - hate the images of the units/residential developments - people dont live like that do they?

We have a NU development nearby called Seaside ( a ripoff from some other joint in the US), its very exclusive and a very packaged american export. It has weatherboard, two storey houses, white picket fences, pastel colours - very much a story book ideal of neighborhoods.

I find the biggest supporters of NU are the advertising developers/builders who tell us what a great lifestyle it is. From the people I have spoken to who are unfortunate enough to have been conned the experience is very different to that of the advertising blurb.

Just like the terrible hollywood sponsered american lifestyle shows on television, this is another trashy US export.
 

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
930
Points
23
NU in particular is very restricitive in what it allows people to do and not to do with their own lifestyle/living arrangements.
No one is forced to live in NU developments. They have a choice to live in a suburban home or a higher density development, as shown in the aerial. It's when a city or town only offers the one "suburban lifestyle", then you no longer have a choice. Is that not restricitive?

I find the biggest supporters of NU are the advertising developers/builders who tell us what a great lifestyle it is.
Of course developers are the biggest supporters, as they generate more revenue for the same plot of land. If the lifestyle is not what a purchasher was expecting, sell then get something that does appeal. Usally these NU developments are in high demand and sell at a premium over the builders price. I don't know about other places but in Toronto, the turn-over rate is no diffrent then in single family subdivisions.

Just like the terrible hollywood sponsered american lifestyle shows on television, this is another trashy US export.
No, This NU development has nothing to do with American lifestyles. The single family home developments are the "American Dream" thats being exported.

We have a NU development nearby called Seaside ( a ripoff from some other joint in the US), its very exclusive and a very packaged american export. It has weatherboard, two storey houses, white picket fences, pastel colours - very much a story book ideal of neighborhoods.
Sounds hoirrible! I prefer having a little variety. To me, what you described is a typical suburban subdivision.


Anyway, hope this thread doesn't open a too big can of worms.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Plan Man said:
Where are these developments exactly?
Hopefully you're familiar with T.O. They are just north of the 401 and east of Yonge Street.

Strangely though - they are not marketed as "New Urban" developments. Developments in the Toronto area that are marketed as "New Urbanist" are always the ones waaaaaaaaaay out in the middle of nowhere, where no matter how compact and walkable the community is built, everyone still has to drive in order to get anywhere worth going to.

Toronto is going through a condo boom which may or may not end this year, depending on who you listen too. Right now, condo townhouses are gold for developers.
 

Plan Man

Cyburbian
Messages
125
Points
6
Very interesting. I was on a design tour recently of the development on the Woodbine track lands. Definitely a unique look of housing.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Plan Man said:
Very interesting. I was on a design tour recently of the development on the Woodbine track lands. Definitely a unique look of housing.
I think you mean Greenwood racetrack right? Woodbine is out by the airport...

Okay, yeah - that one was marketed as "New Urbanist". But in reality, it is just an extension of an existing neighbourhood.
 

Plan Man

Cyburbian
Messages
125
Points
6
Thanks for the correction: we had been calling it Woodbine ( I guess reading the history of it's considered "old" Woodbine after the track moved out to its current site).
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Yes, it's confusing - it was Woodbine racetrack originally. For some reason when the "original" racetrack relocated, they took the name with them, and called this one "Greenwood".
 

DA Monkey

Cyburbian
Messages
84
Points
4
OfficialPlanner said:

No one is forced to live in NU developments. They have a choice to live in a suburban home or a higher density development, as shown in the aerial. It's when a city or town only offers the one "suburban lifestyle", then you no longer have a choice. Is that not restricitive?

No one is forced to live in NU, and of course no one listens to the marketing blurb or TV either - afterall our choices are our own at least thats what the marketing blurb says.

NU is not all about higher density developments they also offer the "neighborhood" context of home with sizes ranging from town houses to larger family homes.

Yes they are still restricitive because whilst they offer the veneer of choice in housing styles in reality NU offers prepackaged "community" with rules for behaviour, activities and sterilised living.

QUOTE]Originally posted by OfficialPlanner

Of course developers are the biggest supporters.....
[/QUOTE]

NU development are in high demand and do sell very well - they are usually supported through huge marketing budgets and slick advertising campaigns however the advertising does not meet the reality.

Its easy to say "sell - go somewhere else" but most people have hocked their family fortunes and dreams to purchase the "lifestyle" and actually cannot leave without taking a loss. Planners are great at statements like that one but have little sense of the hardship undertaken in exercising "choice".

All in all, my aim is not to pick a fight - it is to point out that NU is not all wine and song, it can be, and very often is, the latest in fad movements that create more problems than they solve.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Here is my biggest problem with these developments, and maybe someone can clue me in here...

Why are these call "NU" like they are a new concept. Those pictures look like every neighborhood in Philly, NYC, etc. If we put half the effort into revitalizing our cities as we do pushing these towns featured in planning magazines we wouldn't have all the problems we do, i.e. sprawl, traffic, etc.

I'm a big proponent for city living as you may be able to tell :) I just think the concept of trying to bring the city to the suburbs is destined for failure.
 

Quail64

Cyburbian
Messages
55
Points
4
Mike DeVuono said:

I'm a big proponent for city living as you may be able to tell :) I just think the concept of trying to bring the city to the suburbs is destined for failure.
From where I sit, those large buildings near the new developments are hardly reminecient of the suburbs. But what do I know? I'm from the west. Anything over two stories here is considered the city ;-)
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I was referring to when these developments are pushed in the suburbs...

When built in a city, such as Toronto, they are row homes. Hardly a new concept.
 

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
930
Points
23
Mike,

You make some interesting points. I guess culture and region might also be a factor in built form.

powerplan described a NU development going up in his area but to me, it sounds more like your typical suburban subdivision.

Then the tall buildings, which are rarely found in American suburbs, are very common in all parts of the Greater Toronto Area.

I just think the concept of trying to bring the city to the suburbs is destined for failure.
I agree in part, some people like Suburbia and reject the urban built form. If these suburbs where ever to become too urbanized these people will probably move further out to escape the big city feel. But, Let's compare an American suburb with a Toronto suburb.

In an American suburb, a 80-100ft lot is about the norm for a single family home. In Toronto's it's usally around 40ft, rarely ever going above 60. That's already double the density. Then add the condo developments which are anywhere between 6 to 20-storeys. Even our most sprawlly suburbs achieve densities found in inner city neighboorhoods. I believe higher densities is a good thing if it can be achieved but thats a whole other debate.

You can't bring the city to the suburbs but prehaps New Urbanism and Suburbia can find common ground.
 

freshcutgrass

Member
Messages
8
Points
0
I don't see anything NU about the Avondale project at all.

The old Maclean Hunter headquarters is being developed by three developers (Menkes, Tridel, Bagai). This is just standard Toronto condo developing. It's located right on the subway and beside the 401...it's also in the hot "uptown" location....selling out the 2000+ units in this project is a no-brainer.

Given the developers, stunning architecture isn't going to be the highlite of this development, but it is high-density, and a good addition to this fast densifying nodal cluster in Toronto's post-war areas.

Here's an aerial from about a year ago...Avondale is the site at the bottom of the pic. There are at least 8 highrise buildings u/c now, plus a lot of 4-storey townhouses.

looking north..




looking south...




here's more recent shot I took from the CN Tower..."uptown" is the cluster at the top of the pic.

 
Top