Smart growth can only be achieved if it can be implemented "on the ground" - if individual projects, particularly those at locations that are of strategic importance to achieving smart growth - are consistent with broader, regional smart growth objectives. Individual development projects that are consistent with this regional vision we refer to herein as "smart development".
In order to achieve smart growth, development is needed in particular at certain key locations of strategic importance. This might include, transit-oriented nodes and corridors, major reurbanisation sites, or other areas identified as being of regional strategic significance. This report focuses primarily on development at these locations, herein generally referred to as "strategic smart growth areas" or locations.
Smart growth ultimately depends upon the decisions made by builders, developers, homebuyers, business people, financiers and others that influence the kinds of buildings that get built in various locations across the Zone. Ultimately it is these decisions, multiplied over the hundreds of thousands of new housing units and the millions of square feet of commercial space that will be built over the next 30 years that will shape the form of the region and determine whether we succeed at achieving smart growth.
What does a "smart growth" approach to managing growth in Central Ontario imply for the kinds of buildings and development projects that are built? Does the move to smart growth suggest a need to develop different types of buildings in key locations throughout the Zone? What does smart development look like? Can these buildings be provided by the market? What are the current obstacles to smart development, and what can be done to overcome them? This is the broad set of issues to be addressed in this report.
A number of key tasks were undertaken in order to address these questions. These included:
- a review of existing research and literature on relevant subjects
- holding a workshop with key Central Ontario Zone commercial and residential developers an builders to explore the economic viability of smart development and to identify the existing obstacles to smart growth, and
- analysis of the economic viability of smart growth development types, undertaken by Royal LePage Advisors Inc.
Section 2 of the report describes some of the key characteristics of smart development, drawing on several examples of existing projects here and elsewhere. It also looks at the kind of development that is currently being provided by the market in the Central Ontario Zone. Section 3 describes the economic viability of smart development in a range of strategic smart growth locations in the Zone. Section 4 identifies obstacles to smart development, along with suggested strategies for overcoming these obstacles. Some concluding remarks are presented in Section 5.