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Citizens Guide to Density

This is a good example of:

how to present the details of new density by presenting design options, images, photographs and case studies


As the greater Toronto area seeks ways to add density, many concepts of adding a variety of housing units have been difficult to conceptualize and communicate.  In response, the planning firm Urban Strategies developed a Citizen’s Guide to Density specific to the Greater Toronto Region.


Image showing reallocation of uses and space for efficient site design and use of public infrastructure.

Image showing reallocation of uses and space for efficient site design and use of public infrastructure.

In 2008, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Regions adopted a Growth Plan to better accommodate high rates of growth and development in the region. The Growth Plan includes targets for residential intensification in areas with infrastructure, transportation, economic activity and amenities to support new housing.  The Guide is an effective reference tool for understanding the practical implications of density targets and aims to inform and educate citizens about the range of built form typologies that can reach the Provincially identified density targets for their city or town.

The 111 page Guide is structured to include:

  1. The imperative to better plan for growth and density
  2. The Guide’s approach to presenting information on density.  The Guide sought the highest quality examples of built projects for low, medium and high level densities.  Quality factors (page 8) include seven attributes such as how well the project fits in the surrounding context and use of quality materials.
  3. Case Studies – Thirty examples of built projects.
  4. Findings (Page 75)
  5. Glossary
  6. Site Plans
  7. Resources

Citizens guide density

Key Quote:

"How can municipalities help communicate notions of density to their citizens?"

URL link to Main Resource:

Project Location :

Toronto, Canada

Development Context:





Urban Strategies, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

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