Tag Archives: consultation

Part 4: Citizens in a Shifting City

This is the final entry of a four-part blog series chronicling the proposed redevelopment of Mirvish Village.

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Development in Toronto remains a loaded word, encompassing a wide range of perspectives rooted in the social, the economic, and the political: height, density, gentrification, heritage, scale, the competitive city, the OMB. There is a multiplicity of threads to follow and pull, depending on your position in the process. This nuanced narrative is captured in daily newspaper articles, op-eds, blog articles, and discussions in community newsletters. When coupled with the City’s growing mandate to cast wider the net of consultation, developers are increasingly having to build relationships not only with City Council and the Planning Department, but in the communities in which they build as well. What this means is that development is no longer the sole province of boardrooms comfortably buffered from a nebulous community by closed doors, a relic of a bygone Robert Moses model. To be sure, there remains considerable mileage between where we are now, and the democratic, equitable process imagined by the Chief Planner, City staff, community organizations, and academic scholars. But it is a step in the right direction.

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Part 2: Engaging the Community

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This is the second of a four-part blog series chronicling the proposed redevelopment of Mirvish Village.

Often overlooked, community consultation is a critical component of urban development. Perhaps it should not be surprising that Torontonians feel development fatigue at times – the only thing more ubiquitous than cranes are the development placards affixed to buildings, fences, and plywood walls separating pedestrians from construction sites. Moreover, until recently development placards were difficult to understand, or worse yet, contained little information other than the proposed height and use, and a time and location for the city facilitated community consultation – consultations which are held at City Hall at times not convenient for all citizens to attend. Contemporary planning literature has much to say about this model, critiquing its efficacy around democratic participation.

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