cucs home page u of t link
"" "" ""

International Research
research associates
research projects
community research partnerships
Greater Toronto Urban Observatory
housing conference
research bulletins
cucs press/publications
urban affairs e-library
collaborative program
degree programs
Canadain urban policy archive
urban research links
housing conference
housing and the built environment rc33
newsletter archive
cucs home page

Centre for Urban and
Community Studies
University of Toronto
455 Spadina Ave.
Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 2G8

(416) 978-2072
(416) 978-7162

Policy Archives

Planning, Zoning and Urban Affairs

Town Planning, Housing and Public Health, 1916
Thomas Adams, Town Planning Adviser, Commission of Conservation
View the PDF of the entire document
At the seventh annual meeting of the Commission of Conservation in Ottawa, Thomas Adams reports on progress in town planning. He notes that the war has curtailed work on civic improvement, but that planning will benefit postwar readjustment when the time comes. He describes the existing system of land development as “defective” and identi-fies a “crying need” for agricultural policy to ensure stability and permanent settlement in rural areas. Province by province, he outlines the progress made towards enacting town planning legislation and the application of town planning principles in cities throughout Canada. He concludes with a recommendation for a housing survey that would contrib-ute to housing legislation in the provinces, describes progress in raising public aware-ness of town planning, and urges the provinces to create departments of municipal affairs to deal with land valuation, taxation, and assessment.

Present Scope for Practical Work in
Improving Civic Conditions, 1916

Thomas Adams, Town Planning Adviser, Commission of Conservation
View the PDF of the entire document
In a speech to the Civic Improvement League conference in Ottawa, Thomas Adams identifies what he considers the most urgent tasks for the league and for planners in Canada. He recommends the creation of a department of municipal affairs in each province, and outlines the terms of a model Town Planning Act that each province could adopt. He considers these two initiatives to be “the most effective steps to secure safe-guards for civic development after the war.” He also expresses concern about the plan-ning of roads and transportation and the creation of rural industries to ensure the successful settlement of land throughout the country.

Civic Efficiency and Social Welfare in
Planning of Land, 1917

W. F. Burditt, Chairman, St. John, N.B., Town Planning Commission
View the PDF of the entire document
Burditt deplores the existing system of subdividing and developing land, considering it inefficient and wasteful, and the lack of overall control and planning in creating new communities. Individuals develop land without regard to the needs of the community as a whole, and thereby create problems of congestion, obsolence and land use conflicts. In particular, since land is generally bought and sold in rectangular parcels, cities develop in a grid pattern, which contributes to congestion – Burditt advocates diagonal streets radiating out from the city centre to correct this problem. He also describes the problem of rear alleys, where property owners often construct cheap housing that leads to overcrowding and the creation of slum areas. Burditt concludes by describing town planning efforts in Saint John, New Brunswick.

What It Means to Zone, 1926
John M. Kitchen, Assistant Engineer on Zoning, Town Planning Commission of Ottawa
View the PDF of the entire document
In the 1920s, zoning was quite a new idea and had not been adopted in all municipalities. Kitchen stresses that one of the most important reasons for zoning is to ensure that all houses receive sufficient sunlight and air and thereby ensure the health of their occu-pants. He also mentions the importance of protecting property values by making land development more predictable. He explains the classification of land by Home Districts and Work Districts, and their further subclassification by density of housing or intensity of use. Kitchen discusses how zoning can control the siting of noxious land uses, and how height restrictions and minimum yard requirements fit into the classification system. He describes how a municipality can go about creating a zoning ordinance and ends with a list of the benefits of zoning to individuals and to municipalities as a whole.

Community Planning in Canada, 1946
C.D. Howe, Minister of Reconstruction and Supply
View the PDF of the entire document
In an article originally published in the Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Can-ada, C.D. Howe speaks of the development of “unplanned urban fringe areas” during and after the war, and the problem of extending services to these areas. A 1943 survey of cities and towns had discovered that very few communities were carrying out planning or had adopted master plans. In 1945, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation had convened a conference in Ottawa on community planning; as a result of this conference, the Community Planning Association of Canada was formed to distribute non-technical information about community planning to Canadians in all areas. Howe stressed that community planning required public support as well as professional competence to suc-ceed and reminded architects of their potential role in community planning.

Towards Better Communities, 1950
W. Harold Clark, President, Community Planning Association
View the PDF of the entire document
The address of the president of the Community Planning Association to the 1950 annual conference sets planning in the postwar context, when the country’s priorities were still on military defence. Clark deplores the “identical strawberry boxes” (modest bungalows) being built in the suburbs and calls for more attention to be paid to the quality of life in new developments. He discusses the recently amended national housing legislation and the opportunities it offers for good planning, and advocates government subsidies for housing for low-income families, which he recognizes cannot be built at a profit by pri-vate developers. He also describes his experiences at the Twentieth International Con-gress for Housing, held in Amsterdam in September 1950, and his impressions of postwar reconstruction in the Netherlands.

Toronto to Absorb Suburbs on April 15, 1953
New York Times, March 24, 1953
View the PDF of the entire document
This document consists of two newspaper articles from the New York Times. The first describes the creation of Metropolitan Toronto from the City of Toronto, which at the time was made up of nine wards, and twelve surrounding suburban municipalities—Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch, Swansea, Scarborough, York, North York, East York, Etobi-coke, Leaside, Forest Hill, and Weston. The new city had a population of 1.9 million. The reason for the merger, which was dictated by the Ontario government, was to ensure ef-ficiency in transportation and other services, following the failure of agreements between the various municipalities to lead to effective coordination. The second article, which dates from 1956, predicts a boom in Toronto’s population, which was expected to be 2.8 million in 1980, largely because of high levels of immigration.

The Old City and the Angry Young Woman, 1962
Hans Blumenfeld, Consultant, Metro Toronto Planning Board
View the PDF of the entire document
This review of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities was first pub-lished in the journal Continuous Learning. Blumenfeld points out a number of inaccura-cies, invalid arguments, and unrealistic prescriptions in Ms. Jacobs’s approach to safety, zoning, urban density, and housing for the poor, while agreeing with her about the value of mixing land uses, ensuring the liveliness of sidewalk activity, and avoiding the whole-sale destruction of city neighbourhoods in the name of slum clearance. He praises her analysis of the complexity of the urban fabric, but finds many of her recommendations simplistic. He notes that the neighbourhood with which she is most familiar, New York City’s Greenwich Village, is not a model that can be applied readily to other areas, and that she views the inner city and suburbs as separate worlds rather than as parts of a whole. Nonetheless, Blumenfeld considers the book thought-provoking and worthy of consideration by all those concerned about the future of cities.

The Urgent Challenge of Urbanization, 1967
Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada
View the PDF of the entire document
The opening speech by the prime minister at the Federal-Provincial Conference on Housing and Urban Development in Ottawa states that “urbanization with all its problems has become the dominant social and economic condition of Canadian life.” Pearson notes that three-quarters of the Canadian population lives in cities and identifies the most urgent problems: lack of adequate housing for all, overcrowding, traffic congestion, pollution, conflicting land uses, decaying neighbourhoods and monotonous suburbs, and urban poverty. He suggests that limited municipal tax resources and the overlapping ju-risdictions of different municipal organizations are to blame for many of these problems. Pearson suggests that only the provincial and municipal governments have the authority to reform the taxation system, introduce regional planning, and bring about civic im-provements. He concludes with a more detailed review of urban problems, from housing to transportation and suggests some potential solutions.

Urban Development, Ontario and Quebec:
Outline and Overview, 1968

L. S. Bourne and A. M. Baker
View the PDF of the entire document
This report, the first research paper (Research Report #1) published by the Centre for Urban and Community Studies, briefly describes urban development trends in Ontario and Quebec up to 1968, using available census data and growth estimates carried out by the authors. The processes of urbanization, immigration, and natural increase are described in terms of their effects on Ontario and Quebec. The report also examines the shortcomings inherent in the available statistical data and in the definitions used by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics (now Statistics Canada). Tables show the population of major centres in Ontario and Quebec, and how those population figures changed be-tween 1941 and 1968, as well as comparisons between the regional growth complexes of Ontario and Quebec in 1968.

The Politics of Urban Innovation, 1969
Lloyd Axworthy, Director, Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg
View the PDF of the entire document
Axworthy analyses the reasons for lack of change in the way cities are planned, built, and managed. He attributes lack of progress to the lack of coordination among govern-ments and government departments, a thicket of rules and regulations that stifle creativ-ity, the irrelevance of much academic work on urban issues, institutional inertia, and a financial sector that fosters slums and discourages entrepreneurship. He advocates a coordinated national policy on housing, a secretariat attached to the Minister for Housing to allow for the creation of new programs, and federal government encouragement for innovation and experimentation in housing initiatives. He calls on the federal government to clarify its objectives for housing, renewal, transportation, and economic development and adjust its policies on investment, taxation, public works, land disposal research, and capital assistance to meet those objectives. He also recommends that the federal gov-ernment set priorities and sponsor projects by private enterprise, universities, non-profit groups, and others to encourage innovation.

Speech on Housing and Urban Affairs, 1972
Ron Basford, Minister of State for Urban Affairs
View the PDF of the entire document
In an excerpt from Hansard, the Minister of State for Urban Affairs describes the minis-try’s mandate: “to co-ordinate the activities of the government of Canada in estab-lishing co-operative relationships with the provinces and their municipalities for the enhancement of the human environment.” He makes a plea for greater cooperation among all levels of government in solving urban problems and describes the achievements of his ministry to date, including consultations with the provinces and many municipal governments and with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation on new approaches to housing. Basford describes the Liberal government’s “colossal” housing programs—in 1971 alone, 233,000 new units were started and 200,000 completed—and attributes the activity to the National Housing Act of 1964, which spurred the creation of public housing.

HABITAT: The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Vancouver, 1976
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
View the PDF of the entire document
In welcoming delegates to the conference, Trudeau acknowledges the urgency of the need to make human settlements more humane and prevent further deterioration of the natural environment. Although the problems — social stress, the loss of farmlands, envi-ronmental degradation, the disorganization of transportation systems, the overconsump-tion of energy — run so deep that solutions to them can be only partial, technological developments hold out the promise of some new solutions. The biggest and most urgent problem of all is the growth of the earth’s human population, which Trudeau expected to be six and a half billion by 2006. He suggests that the only route to survival is increased socialization. In other words, we need to love one another enough to change the way we live and make use of the world’s resources.

Planning, Zoning and
Urban Affairs

Housing, Poverty, Homelessness