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Taxes & Mortgages

From Suburban Houses to Downtown Condos

April 1, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

Last Friday the Financial Post published an interesting article talking about Mattamy Homes and the new office that its founder, Peter Gilgan, is in the process of opening up downtown in the Toronto-Dominion Centre (which just so happens to be my favorite office complex in the city).[read more]

Manipulate the Housing Market with this One Neat Trick

March 24, 2015 by David Edmondson
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Regulations often result in unintended consequences. Money flows to find any crack in the system, after all, and often those cracks are in very odd places. Zoning and building codes are no different, and they can manipulate not just how people do business but how we built our cities.[read more]

A Beautiful House Design for Denser Suburbs

March 23, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

A nice three-apartment home

It’s common for many of the houses in central areas of Toronto to be converted into duplexes and triplexes or to flip back into single family homes after being subdivided for rentals. It goes to show how adaptable the single family house can be. But it’s not everyday that you see such a high end triplex being built.[read more]

The Value of Cheap Housing

March 16, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

Housing and Affordability

Urbanists generally don’t like to talk about cities like Houston. It sprawls. It’s car oriented. It’s over air-conditioned. In other words, it’s the antithesis of the dense and walkable cities that urbanists today like to tout as being exemplary. But despite all this, Houston is one of, if not the, fastest growing city in America.[read more]

How the Iconic Vancouver Special Became a Symbol of the City's Lack of Affordable Housing

March 11, 2015 by Jillian Glover

Housing in Vancouver

Vancouver is the 2nd least affordable city in the world. The Vancouver Special was once a symbol of working class immigrants dreaming of a prosperous life in Canada. Now, it represents the ridiculous nature of its over-priced real estate market, populated by foreign investment.[read more]

Architect and Developer Partner to Build Affordable Prefab Housing in Sweden

March 5, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

Prefab Housing in Sweden

In this month’s issue of Monocle magazine they profile an interesting prefabricated and affordable housing project in Knivsta, Sweden. The way it was built is quite simple. The modular housing units were fabricated off-site and then inserted on-site into a prefabricated concrete frame.[read more]

What Will the Condo Market Look Like in 10-20 Years?

March 4, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

The future of condos looks good as cities densify

Over the past week I’ve had two separate people ask me my thoughts on the future of the condo market in Toronto. One of them was working on a University study and one of them was trying to figure out what (condo) property managers would look like in the future.[read more]

Why Our Towns Need a Better Future than Tesco Can Offer

February 19, 2015 by Julian Dobson

Britain and Town Center Planning

Last month local leaders in the UK who had hopes to regenerate landmark sites in partnership with Tesco had to end years of planning: the retailer pulled out of schemes to develop 49 sites, create at least 8,000 jobs, more than 1,100 new homes, and nearly 2.5m square feet of retail space.[read more]

Which is Most Desirable: Affordable Housing or Historic Building Preservation?

February 11, 2015 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Historic Buildings and Housing Developments

A series of old mills in East Brooklyn, Connecticut’s “Quebec Square” neighborhood need redeveloping. But are historical designations and affordable housing stipulations barriers to property rehabilitation and development? Is a small housing project a worthwhile public investment?[read more]

Cities Are Coming Back, but Urban Poverty Remains an Immense Challenge

February 10, 2015 by Kaid Benfield
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Cities and Persistent Poverty

It is hard to think of a phenomenon that has done greater damage to our environment (as well as to our economy and social fabric) than the mass exodus from our older cities and towns that took place in the latter half of the 20th century. But cities are recovering.[read more]

St. Henri: Another Montreal Working Class Neighbourhood Gradually Transforming

February 3, 2015 by Global Site Plans - The Grid

Montreal and Neighborhood Change

Has St. Henri been subject to a renewal or gentrification? The latter has become a sensitive topic in urban planning theory. Notable for its negative implication of wealthy outsiders displacing poorer residents, the shift in demographics leads to subsequent changes to a neighbourhood’s social and economic character.[read more]

An Example of Low-Rise Intensification: Union Street EcoHeritage

January 30, 2015 by Brandon Donnelly

Urban Intensification

In a recent post about the three stages of intensification, I mentioned a project in Vancouver called Union Street EcoHeritage by SHAPE Architecture. I used it as an example for sensitive low-rise intensification. Since it’s a very cool project, I thought I would dedicate today’s post to explaining the project.[read more]