Understanding the Neighbourhoods Most Impacted by Developers: An Analysis of Urban Development Patterns.

If you live in or near the Central Toronto core, chances are it’s become a fact of life to be stuck in traffic due to road or development construction. So why is there so much development happening all at once? Is Toronto overbuilding?

As cities grow and expand, developers play a crucial role in shaping the urban landscape. While new developments can bring economic growth and increased property values, they can also have a significant impact on existing communities. In this blog post, we will explore which neighbourhoods are most impacted by developers and the factors that contribute to these disparities.

Gentrification and Displacement:

One of the most significant impacts of developers is gentrification, which refers to the process of urban renewal that often leads to the displacement of low-income residents. This phenomenon has been observed in many major cities worldwide, with neighbourhoods such as Harlem in New York City and the Mission District in San Francisco experiencing significant changes in demographics due to gentrification.

Environmental Impact:

Developers also have a significant impact on the environment, and this impact is often felt most acutely in low-income neighbourhoods. For example, neighbourhoods with high minority populations are more likely to have factories, power plants, and other industrial facilities, which can result in pollution and health risks for residents.

Infrastructure and Amenities:

Developers often prioritize building projects in neighbourhoods with existing infrastructure and amenities, such as public transportation, parks, and shopping centers. This means that neighborhoods without these amenities are often left behind, leading to a lack of investment and development.

Zoning and Planning:

Zoning and planning policies can also contribute to disparities in development impacts. For example, zoning policies that allow for high-density development in affluent areas while limiting it in low-income areas can perpetuate existing inequalities.

Having lived in both East and West Downtown Toronto for 25 years, I have noticed significant changes in some inner city neighbourhoods in the last 15-20 years being part of the Toronto’s growth plan. Intensification in some communities will be expected, while some areas may experience low to mid-rise modest scale development to respond to the area character and integrity of the neighbourhood.
The Land Use Map below pinpoints the inner neighbourhoods being targeted for rejuvenation or redevelopment. Toronto Land Use Plan shows an inverted T-zone where growth is targeted. Most of these are either desginated mixed-use communities or post-industrial under utilized land in need of regeneration.
City of Toronto Official Plan Land Use Plan (Above)
Where indicated on the Official Plan, the red zones are designated mixed-used areas that will contain residential, office, institutional, service and retail uses to serve the growing communities. These communities will connect to major transit, highway, and pedestrian infrastructure. The yellow zones are low-rise neighbourhoods not affected by development.
Intensification zones:
Church Street Corridor
Yonge Street Corridor
University Ave Corridor
Dundas East Corridor
River Street Corridor
Bloor-Danforth Corridor
Mid-scale Development:
Historic King West -Spadina Corridor
Historic King East – Parliament Corridor
Historic Queen East
Historic Queen West
Gerrard St Corridor
The Junction
Master-planned Communities and Regeneration Projects (Ongoing and Proposed):
East Harbour former Unilever site (60-acres)
Regent Park (69-acres low, mid and high-rise, master-planned)
Canary District (mid-rise, master-planned)
West Don Lands (mid-rise, master-planned)
East Waterfront (mid-rise, master-planned)
Alexander Park (low to mid-rise, master-planned)
Distillery District (adaptive re-use, mid to high-rise mixed-use)
The Well (mix-used, master-planned)
Quayside (smart city)
Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)
The aging population, growing families, immigration, and job market growth will continue to raise the demand for housing in the core areas where new amenities and infrastructure are needed. Condominium still remains the popular choice for new comers. As long as the demand continues for multi-unit dwellings, Toronto will keep building.

Anne Lok is a Toronto Real Estate Broker with over 18 years of experience in all aspect of residential real estate from modern houses, infill development from acquisition to design and construction, condos, lofts, commercial and residential leasing in urban Toronto. You can search modern listings and learn more about Anne at mdrn.realestate.