Part 3: Policy options

This part of the report considers the successes and failures of attempts to create nodes and corridors and revitalize downtowns in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, to derive lessons for the future planning of such districts. The relevance of these reflections extends beyond southern Ontario and pertains to the creation or strengthening of all downtowns, nodes, and corridors, particularly if the intent is to promote intensification, reduce automobile use, and provide an alternative for people seeking a less automobile-dependent lifestyle within the suburban realm.

Part 3 focuses on the conditions needed to meet the land use and transportation objectives found in Places to Grow and in other documents on downtowns, nodes, and corridors. These conditions include density and modal share targets, along with the creation of a pedestrian-friendly environment and the achievement of inter-functional synergy within such districts.

Successful downtowns, nodes, and corridors can attract retailing, services, and employment, as well as residents and visitors. With successful downtowns or nodes at their core, and with corridors linking their different components and stretching into their zones of influence, UGCs can play the role of the carrot in the Places to Grow intensification strategy, while the regulations needed to enforce urban growth boundaries and ensure that a greater proportion of new residential development occurs within urbanized territories will constitute the stick ensuring compliance with this strategy.

Lessons learned from the preceding analysis and ensuing policy options are grouped into three categories: the need for coordinated multi-scale planning; the importance of adapting interventions to the diversity of circumstances encountered in downtowns, nodes, and corridors; and the need to address the trend towards scattering office employment around low-density suburban locations.