Understanding the Toronto Neighbourhoods Most Impacted By Developers: An Analysis of Urban Development

Urban development plays a crucial role in shaping our cities, but it can also have a significant impact on existing communities. In this blog post, we explore which neighbourhoods are most impacted by developers and the factors that contribute to these disparities. From gentrification and displacement to environmental impact and infrastructure disparities, it's important to consider the impact of development on existing communities. By understanding these issues, we can work towards creating more equitable and sustainable urban development patterns.

Toronto is one of the fastest-growing cities in North America. 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?

Toronto has been going through the biggest construction boom in the last ten years. According to Rider Levett Bucknall, there are more than 221 cranes across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as of Q1 2024. Toronto is still steady in the crane counts, in line with Honolulu, Phoenix and Seattle. You can download the RLB Crane Index full report here. Crane counts across major cities are good indicators to forecast the boom and bust cycles.

To put everything into perspective, the Land Use Map above pinpoints the inner neighbourhoods targeted for rejuvenation or redevelopment. Toronto Land Use Plan shows an inverted T-zone where growth is targeted. Most of these are either designated mixed-use communities or post-industrial underutilized land needing regeneration.

Many of these construction sites are residential condominium developments and mixed-use buildings. The GTA is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas attracting global talent and immigration. According to Census Canada, GTA has over 199,000 new immigrants arriving in 2023, leading the population growth in the U.S. and Canada. This demographic continues to shift the housing supply and demand needs. It is estimated that 50,000 housing units are needed to meet the demand. We are currently 15,000 units short. Due to the shortage of housing inventory, more residential units need to be built with condominiums being the popular choice. By 2041, the GTA population is expected to grow by 40%. Many of these newcomers prefer to live in neighbourhoods close to the city core. The demand in more housing is causing a supply crunch.

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 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.


  • Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB)

  • City of Toronto

  • Census Canada

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Image Source: City of Toronto Land Use Map 18