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Toronto to revitalize postwar highrises

A group of Canadian architects and not-profits have teamed up to tackle the issue of the city's aging postwar highrises. "The effort dubbed Tower Renewal that is taking root in Toronto proposes fixes on many fronts, from energy efficiency to economic development. If that renewal works, much of our biggest city, and the lives of more than a million Canadians, will be transformed for the better," an article in the Globe and Mail reports.
This fall, the City of Toronto launches "a new program to finance green renovations and repairs in these buildings," which coincides with a recent symposium hosted by he Toronto and Dutch consulate called "Enabling Cities to Grow Green." The symposium looked at new zoning changes designed to improve neighbourhoods, "many of them needy."
But there are a number of challenges. For one, says Graeme Stewart of ERA Architects in Toronto, Canadians need to realize the significance of our towers. Toronto has the second largest number of apartment towers in North America housing some one million people. They're not beautiful, modeled after European-style regional planning.
Today, these buildings are 50 years old and in need of maintenance. The maintenance isn't the problem, the locations are. "The issue is how they were placed in the city and in the landscape. Modernist planning deliberately kept them away from sources of employment, retail hubs and decent transit, and they were surrounded by vaguely defined spaces which created an unpleasant no-man’s-land condition," the article reports.
Tower Renewal will look to how European cities have rebuilt and renovated their apartment towers.
"To renew a neighbourhood of towers… it is important to activate the street with pedestrian-friendly retail and community uses – to make these car-oriented neighbourhoods more walkable and mixed." A similar sentiment was echoed in this week's Vital Signs report
Read the full story here
Original source: The Globe and Mail
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