Author: Neptis - Fri Jan 1, 2010

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2006), the Province of Ontario's growth plan for the Toronto region, requires all municipalities to accommodate growth by first looking inward to their already-urbanized areas before considering greenfield development. This principle is formalized through an intensification policy and target. However, Ontario municipalities had not been tracking residential intensification in a uniform manner before the policy and target were put in place, so there were no records of just how much intensification was already occurring. This paper describes how the Province's intensification target works both in principle and practice through an examination of historical rates of intensification. It takes a closer look at the concept of defining the urbanized boundary for the purposes of implementing and measuring the intensification target. Although the research is primarily directed to Ontario municipalities that are in the process of implementing the intensification target and developing a strategy for intensification, the findings of the research will interest all planners and policy-makers who are striving to achieve more compact and sustainable development.

Author: Neptis - Sat Oct 10, 2009

Today, with advances in technology such as Google Earth and Bing online maps, it is possible to zoom into an intimate view of one's own backyard. But the bigger picture is often overlooked. It is only by zooming out that we can see the region as a whole, with all its interconnections. The Neptis Foundation, in collaboration with As the Crow Flies cARTography and the Cartography Office in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto, created this unique view of the Toronto metropolitan region to help its residents and policymakers visualize those connections and better understand the region. Going forward, the map will be used as a base for layering other information to convey important policy issues.

Author: Neptis - Thu Apr 9, 2009

Although retail and service industries contribute greatly to Canada's economy and the economies of Canadian city-regions, the effects of new forms of retailing on transportation patterns are often overlooked in planning. Most often, transportation planning has focused on the journey to work, rather than travel for other purposes, including shopping. The rise of big-box stores in the outer suburbs and the clustering of big-box stores in power centres and power nodes has affected travel patterns, but these patterns are not yet well understood.

Author: Neptis - Tue Jan 1, 2008

The researchers examined 16 districts in the Greater Toronto Area to assess the relationship between density and (1) era of development; (2) standards for public facilities; (3) housing type mix; (4) street configuration; (5) employment; (6) travel behaviour. They also analysed 24 hypothetical development scenarios to estimate the effects on density of changes in housing mix, house prices, environmental protection standards, public facilities requirements, and employment patterns. The findings have implications for public policy relating to urban growh management.

Author: Neptis - Sat Dec 1, 2007

Dr. Frisken describes the institutions and policies that were put in place at different times to provide region-wide services and assesses the extent to which they achieved the objectives of effective regional governance. She argues that while the provincial government responded sporadically and often reluctantly to regional population growth and expansion, its interventions nevertheless contributed to the region's most noteworthy achievement: a core city that thrived while many other North American cities experienced population, economic, and social decline.

This comprehensive examination of the evolution of a metropolitan region is essential reading for city and regional planners, officials at all levels of government, urban historians, and those teaching and researching in this field. This retrospective view is especially timely, as the Ontario government is once again advancing regional plans, policies, and institutions for the Toronto metropolitan region.

Dr. Frances Frisken is Professor Emerita and Senior Scholar, Division of Social Science (Urban Studies), at York University, Toronto

The research, writing and publication of this book has been supported by The Neptis Foundation. To order the book please contact the publisher directly here:

Author: Neptis - Tue Aug 28, 2007

Author: Neptis - Wed May 2, 2007
  • Closely co-ordinate the planning of UGCs.
  • Attention should be given to the different nature of the areas intended to become the cores of UGCs.
  • Connecting development (landuse) and transit

This report analyses policies in the Ontario government's Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Places to Grow) relating to Urban Growth Centres (UGCs) and transit corridors. These are defined as mixed-use, high-density, and public transit-oriented developments that are to provide a focus for employment and population growth in the region. The report surveys the history of the policy, and examines several existing centres and transit corridors to determine how well they meet the goals of the UGC policy and what barriers prevent their further development. The report concludes with recommendations to support the policies and foster the development of UGCs.

Author: Neptis - Sun Jan 1, 2006

Economist Will Dunning describes the effects of long-term business cycles on population growth and housing demand, and how housing prices and workforce participation rates affect where people settle and the kind of housing they choose. In particular, the higher the employment rate, the higher the rate of net migration to Greater Golden Horseshoe, especially the Inner Ring. Also, the higher the cost of housing in the GTA, the lower the rate of net migration into the Inner Ring, since higher GTA housing costs "deflect" people to the Outer Ring.