Planning the Next GGH

Planning the Next GGH analyses and maps the geography of employment and potential disruption across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region.

The report shows that the extended region is in the midst of a dramatic shift where a more balanced pattern of urban and suburban employment growth has given way to the hyper-concentration of knowledge-based activities in and around downtown Toronto. This pattern (which compares change in core employment between 2001-2011 with the 2006-2016 period) is reinforced by the loss or slower growth of employment that historically been more dispersed throughout the region.

Blais writes that this shift in employment in tradable industries raises critical questions about planning for an increasingly dominant single centre which is under intense growth pressure. The report points out that the extended Toronto region, unusually for such an important regional economy, suffers from the lack of regional economic development strategy. She also says an increasingly dominant centre raises the question whether strategic, regional economic development perspective ought to think seriously about planning for a second regional "downtown" that is well-connected by transit, to promote economic resilience, reduce commutes, and achieve other benefits.

The report also:

  • Introduces industry "Archetypes" as an analytical tool designed specifically to better inform land use and any regional jobs strategy. They are groups of tradeable industries that share both similar economic characteristics and locational preferences, helping planners make clear links between economic change on one hand and sub-regional spatial patterns on the other. They differ from clusters which can be a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and institutions at a much broader regional scale.
  • Analyses which places and municipalities are most vulnerable to automation and trade disruptions.

The full report can be downloaded using this link.

This research was supported by a grant from the Government of Ontario. The views expressed in this publication are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Ontario.