Malvern, in the far northeastern corner of the City of Toronto, was first planned and built when it was at the rural fringe of the metropolitan region. It was a master-planned community built under the auspices of the provincial government and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Farmland was expropriated in the late 1950s by the CMHC, which hoped to build a model affordable community. The area was not built out until much later -- 39% of dwellings were built in the 1970s and 44% in the 1980s. About 70% of the housing stock is ground-related, about half of it single-detached. High-rise apartments account for 27% of dwelling units.
Malvern is divided into a series of neighbourhood units surrounding a central shopping centre and community centre. The neighbourhood units have self-contained street systems featuring loops and cul-de-sacs. The study area is bisected by a rail line and the northwest quadrant contains an industrial park. Malvern has become an immigrant reception area. Over half of all households have four or more members. For this reason, Malvern has a higher population density than its dwelling unit density would suggest.