The Neighbourhood Design Guidelines Template and accompanying “How To” Manual allows Toronto residents and community groups to participate in and shape their neighbourhoods. The City of Toronto and its neighbourhoods are continually evolving. This evolution is characterized by change across larger sites in the City, such as the development of high-rise apartment towers and mixed-use buildings in and along the City’s Centres and Avenues. It also comes in the form of incremental growth and infill redevelopment within its neighbourhoods. While Toronto’s neighbourhoods are “stable” they “are not static”. They will continue to evolve and change as the City grows, and they are hubs that need to be interconnected with the balance of the city.
The Template will help communities ensure that changes in the Neighbourhoods are appropriate, It will set up clear expectations that may be relied upon not only by City staff, but also by small builders, landowners and developers. The “How To” Manual outlines the process that residents and community groups should follow in order to produce effective Urban Design Guidelines. Each neighbourhood is unique and residents will therefore need to be provided with the process and tools to prepare Neighbourhood Urban Design Guidelines tailored to their area using the “How-To” Manual.
Two Pilot Project areas were selected in order to “test” the Neighbourhood Urban Design Guidelines Template. The two Pilot Areas for this process are Long Branch (Etobicoke) and Willowdale (North York). Through an engagement process, residents were provided with the process and tools to prepare their own Neighbourhood Urban Design Guidelines.