TORONTO — The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is applauding the Ontario government for introducing new legislation to reverse its earlier decision to remove protected land from the Greenbelt for residential development.
The association is stating the restoration of lands to the Greenbelt demonstrates housing need not be achieved at the expense of the environment.
According to the OAA, a strategic approach that privileges a diverse range of housing types can address issues of affordability and climate action.
The OAA said opening up the Greenbelt was by no means “required” in order to provide more housing.
In 2019, the OAA commissioned SvN Architects + Planners to better understand the design and regulatory opportunities that address housing affordability in communities across Ontario. The report, Housing Affordability in Growing Urban Areas, found Ontario’s housing supply could be increased through:
- infill development and intensification in existing neighbourhoods;
- expansion of permissions for gentle density development, such as duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, and secondary suites;
- low- to mid-rise intensification along corridors; and
- mid- to highrise intensification in centres.
The OAA states rather than removal of land from the Greenbelt, solutions include building on already-zoned spaces, rethinking density, and giving smart consideration to the “missing middle,” with respect to the design of low to midrise multi-unit residential buildings, multiplexes, and accessory dwelling units such as laneway housing and garden suites.
“Gently intensifying the density of existing urban and suburban areas, especially those near transit infrastructure, should be given greater consideration,” said Settimo Vilardi, a Windsor architect and the president of the OAA’s governing council, in a statement. “There are so many opportunities to create housing in already-vibrant neighbourhoods that optimize land use, leverage existing infrastructure and amenities, and promote vibrant and inclusive complete communities.”