As a follow up to the findings of Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty, the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R) and United Way Toronto are pleased to release a new report entitled Strong Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities: A New Approach to Zoning for Apartment Neighbourhoods.

The aim of this report is to identify existing policy barriers and consider policy alternatives to enable Toronto’s hundreds of apartment neighbourhoods to reach their potential as healthy, vibrant, and more complete communities.

Through an extensive review of existing policies and zoning by-laws that govern apartment properties, this report catalogues specific policy and process barriers that prevent neighbourhood investment, local economic development, and community initiatives. It then moves on to present an initial framework for a new approach to zoning in apartment neighbourhoods, one that will enable positive neighbourhood change moving forward.



Selected findings of this study were presented at the May 2012 Planning and Growth Management Committee at the City of Toronto. Following this presentation, the committee directed the Planning Division of the City of Toronto to work with the United Way Toronto and CUG+R, to develop a city-wide zoning strategy for apartment neighbourhoods to address the opportunities and challenges outlined in this report. The first phase of this ongoing work is to be completed in early 2013 and will be informed by the research presented in the report described above.

For more information on United Way Toronto, Vertical Poverty, and related initiatives, including United Way Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhood Renewal and Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy, visit

For more information and research related to Tower Neighbourhood Renewal issues, stay posted on this site, or visit the Tower Renewal Blog.


Authors, Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal:
Graeme Stewart, MARCH, MRAIC
Bryan Bowen, MCIP, RPP
George Martin, BURPl MSc(Conservation)
Jason Thorne, MCIP, RPP
Michael McClelland, OAA FRAIC CAHP

Project Team, United Way Toronto:
Michelynn Lafleche
Jamie Robinson
Pedro Barata
Anthony Fernando

External Technical Reference Group:
_ Paul Bedford, Adjunct Professor, Urban and Regional Planning,
University of Toronto, Ryerson University
_ Paul Hess, Associate Professor; Associate Chair and Director,
Graduate Programs in Planning, University of Toronto
_ Eric Miller, Bahen-Tanenbaum Professor Department of Civil Engineering,
Director Emeritus, Cities Centre, University of Toronto

We thank City Planning and Tower Renewal Office of the City of Toronto, staff from which provided support, advice and assistance with the preparation of this report.

All images and maps by the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, including international photographs by Brendan Stewart or Graeme Stewart, unless otherwise noted. Date in image caption is the year the photo was taken. Special thanks to the following photographers, artists and organizations for contributing their work:

_ at The National Film Board of Canada
_ Jane Farrow
_ William MacIvor
_ Recipe for Community – St James Town
_ Tower Renewal Office (TRO) City of Toronto
_ City of Toronto Archives
_ City of Toronto

Copy Editor:
Sharon Singleton