Planning for Tomorrow, Not Today.

St. Catharines Fire Insurance Map 1923

Planning for Tomorrow, Not Today.

When city councils are asked to make decisions about planning and development – it is very easy to only think about today.  It’s easy to listen to the loudest voices – who generally oppose change.  When we think about future planning and development decisions we always have to keep in mind that there are very long term implications that will impact our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren.

This Globe and Mail story outlines how Toronto’s housing crisis of 1922 was rooted in policies that still make homes unaffordable in 2022.

“On May 14, 1912, motivated by moral concerns, the City of Toronto passed By-Law No. 6061, which meant no apartment buildings could be built on the majority of the city’s residential streets.”

That decision 110 years ago has had a major impact on how the city developed and it can be seen today with large parts of the city lacking the crucial middle density housing.

It’s not the only factor that has led to Toronto’s lack of low-rise, affordable rental properties. Many experts say the city is still grappling with the by-law’s effects on its urban fabric and zoning – along with the NIMBYism toward multiunit housing.

City’s are not meant to remain static and never change.  Take a look at an insurance map of the City of St. Catharines from 1923-1935. Across the city you can see industry mixed with residential, commercial mixed with residental and neighbourhoods of residental homes.  Our city has evolved, grown and changed. That’s just what cities do.

What is essential is that when making the decisions we don’t just think about today and how we live – we have to look to the future and think about the impact it will have then.