Growing Up: Planning For Children in New Vertical Communities

2015 to 2017

Toronto, Ontario

2018 Canadian Institute of Planners Award of Merit for Social Planning

In 2015, Urban Strategies was retained by the City of Toronto to develop a series of guidelines to support the growing number of families living in buildings with five or more storeys. In order to determine the needs of families living in vertical communities, USI along with its consultant team undertook a series of consultation and engagement activities. Through meetings with families, developers, architects, designers, and children, the team gleaned a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with the daily experience of living in tall buildings. In parallel with this engagement work, USI examined a number of case studies and policy precedents to understand how other jurisdictions approach planning for children in vertical communities. The information gathered from these activities was translated into a series of guidelines organized into three scales: the neighbourhood, the building, and the unit. In this way, the study, Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities, offers a comprehensive approach to building a child-friendly city.

Urban Strategies was responsible for developing the neighbourhood guidelines, focusing on children’s independent mobility, access to a variety of parks and open spaces, and social infrastructure. The broad ambition of the neighbourhood guidelines is to ensure all new developments contribute to the composite needs of the neighbourhood by looking beyond the block. HPA, in turn, developed the building and unit guidelines, with a focus on amenity spaces, storage, unit sizes, and functionality. If approved by Council, the composite set of guidelines will be applied City-wide to all new multi-residential mid-rise and tall building developments that include 20 units or more.