This is what Toronto homes could look like in the future.


Barely a week goes by in Toronto these days without seeing a new condo plan. The city’s future looks crowded, but an architect has an alternative to the massive towers popping up all over the city.

Main streets could see more densification without condo towers, says Naama Blonder, architect and urban designer at Smart Density, and there is a need for affordable and dense housing on main streets.

Smart Density came up with the conceptual idea for a mid-rise mini-building, which is a six-story building on a single lot with 10 residential units and a commercial or commercial unit on the ground floor.

Typically, condominium developments require six lots, making it prohibitively expensive. Blonder calls the mini mid-size “a new take on the Missing Middle.”

Toronto building regulations mean that a mini mid-rise should be built on a main street such as Yonge, College, Dundas, or Bloor. Smart Density proposed a conceptual design for a real estate property on Dundas Street near Kensington Market and won the Ontario Association of Architects SHIFT2021 Resilience / Architecture Challenge.

The concept is a very narrow building.

“It’s because the property was narrow, very narrow but that’s part of its charm,” says Blonder.

It’s six stories because that’s what’s allowed on many main streets in Toronto. The conceptual design, while narrow, is also deep, allowing for two or three bedroom units at approximately 750 to 1,000 square feet.

The award caught the attention of developers looking to build a mini midrise, Blonder says. But so far, there hasn’t been a solid plan for moving forward.

“We are currently reviewing several properties with several partners to see how we can implement it,” she says.

She pitched the concept to the City of Toronto, who liked the idea, but there are a few challenges to building one.

“Land is very expensive, for example,” she says.

The concept also didn’t include parking as it’s on a main street near public transportation, but some developers may see that as a downside.

And while she thought the idea might appeal to small “mom and pop” businesses, so far about five to 10 developers have reached out to Smart Density.

“You don’t have to be the grown-ups to do this and, and that’s why I mentioned that moms and dads who own a two-story or one-story building on a main street could have develop without that same access to capital, ”she said. said.

Blonder believes that a mini-height will be built in Toronto soon.

“We hope to see one of them come to fruition in the next few years.”


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