“More than half of the planet’s people now live in urban areas,” says David Suzuki and Faisal Moola in the Opinion section of the Toronto Star, May 22, “…[in some regions], growth in the city was confined to existing built-up areas, thereby preventing development from spilling out to farmer’s field.” This trend has become increasingly obvious in Toronto’s downtown core over the course of the condo boom.
The high density of condos in the core of Toronto is in fact saving some of Ontario’s farmland and natural habitat from being destroyed. As the concern of urban sprawl has been an on-going issue for decades (its term was first used in the 1950s), building up has been a productive way of preventing it. Most importantly, building up prevents development in green spaces and farmers fields – areas of land cities rely on more than they recognize.
So how exactly does Toronto’s condo boom allow us to be more conscientious of the environment?
PROVINCIAL LEGISLATION I:
In 2005, the Province of Ontario established the Places to Grow Act to decrease urban sprawl, utilizing existing infrastructure and preserving natural resources and agricultural resources.
PROVINCIAL LEGISLATION II:
In 2006, the province passed another law called the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe to encourage towns and cities to grow upwards rather than outwards, hence, creating more opportunity for vertical growth and the approval of land use proposals for condominiums. Ontario now has 728,000 hectares of protected farmland and green space.
Rising gas prices have significantly affected consumer’s use of the automobile. Moving to Toronto’s downtown core makes walking, transit, and bicycling much more practical than suburban life, which requires hundreds of dollars of car fuel each year.
A number of buyers now prefer to stay closer to their work in the urban core. This is a direct result of their experience with travel from the suburbs to downtown Toronto. Others don’t own a car simply because it harms the environment: diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles produced 1,511 million metric tons of CO2 in 2012.
As more buildings are becoming LEED certified, more stores carry organic food than those in the suburbs, farmers markets are popping up everywhere in the core, and green roofs are encouraged, there’s no better reason than to enjoy urban life and be green!
These contributing factors protect farmland, and give new life to southern Ontario’s agricultural industry. Protecting our agriculture and natural environment is just one way to make our society economically efficient and environmentally sustainable.