Friday, May 26, 2017
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Untapped Potential in Toronto’s Laneways

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Trying to break into Toronto’s housing market can be tricky for a first time buyer. A lack of affordable detached home presents the biggest hurdle for people looking to upgrade from condo living. It is estimated that “Toronto has 250 acres of what are considered ‘untapped public space.'” You probably haven’t paid much attention to Toronto’s 2,400 laneways but lots of people are starting to take notice.

CTV News has reported on the trend of Vancouver laneway housing. “The city has issued over 1,000 permits for laneway homes since 2009. In Calgary, city officials are launching a pilot project that will allow laneway homes to be developed along one of the city’s streets.”

More recently, Toronto area Councillor Joe Cressy explained to the Toronto Star that “laneways are a great untapped resource in this city” and “studies have shown there are over 2,500 laneways just in the city with the potential for 6,000 to 7,000 housing units. I think the number is even larger than that if you start looking outside the downtown area.”

The Laneway Project  aims to fundamentally change Toronto’s relationship with its laneways. As they outline on their website, the group believes that by changing perceptions about laneways improvements can include:

  1. Increased walkability and connectivity
  2. New venues for community events and entertainment
  3. Increased space for informal physical activity
  4. New public and green spaces close to home
  5. A canvas for public art and interventions
  6. Unique destinations
  7. Patios
  8. Pop-up shops and micro-business opportunities

What improvements to Toronto’s laneways would you like to see? Are you concerned about the city permitting new housing developments in laneways or do you welcome the change? Tell me in the comments!