Completely dead space in the city

Fenced in.

This photo of a storefront in downtown Toronto shows completely dead space. The chainlink fencing was recently installed making it newly dead space. I’m sure there’s an urban planning term for this type of situation.

Since the coincidence of Covid-19 and a huge run up in local housing costs, Toronto’s city centre has entered a whole new era of “houselessness” and street life. Basically, Toronto now has an “underclass” in the style of a USA city. This fact is obscured somewhat by a policy of hoteling the houseless.

It’s safe to assume that this fencing is a response to the new social situation. This “Subway” location happens to be across the street from one of the hotels functioning as temporary housing for a bunch of people on the wrong end of things.

Presumably the property owner is entitled to fence in his or her property even if it’s effectively been part of the sidewalk over the long term and even if there are no entrances (or anything else) to enclose.

This particular example of dead space really draws the eye as it’s well lit, in a high trafficked area and features a window into a busy retail location. It’s like a glowing cube.

TRBOT’s “Meeting in the Middle” – report summary

I’ve summarized this report recommending “missing middle” friendly housing reforms for Ontario. Link:

-residential neighbourhoods are currently “protected” from “missing middle” development like triplexes or small apartment buildings

-this contributes to a shortage of housing with negative economic and environmental consequences (the high cost of housing impedes the attraction of “talent” for ex.)

-political leadership in the form of “courage” at the provincial level (ie. Doug Ford) is required to push through reforms that will increase density

-TRBOT proposes a “provincial framework” to permit missing middle options “as-of-right”

-missing middle density would allow for greater use of existing infrastructure and provide a wider variety of housing options outside of the typical “single detached” home

-the Ontario govt. should enable “as-of-right permissions” to build “at least four units in a building” in residential areas, reduce development charges for missing middle developments and reform laws governing ownership to allow for more co-ownership and shared ownership

-municipalities should implement a “housing elimination charge” to discourage multi-unit to single-unit building conversions