We all want to be part of and live, work and play in communities. And we want those communities to be complete with not only physical buildings but parks, shops, green spaces and places to enjoy.
BILD represents the industry that plans, engineers, designs and builds these communities, and we have worked with the Toronto Star to create a special series called Building Communities. It is running in the Saturday Star GTA section, and the first part explores building communities where people want to live. The next two Saturday stories will look at communities where people work and play.
BILD members, new homeowners, business owners and our government partners share their stories in these pieces and you’ll likely recognize some of the people and places. They speak to what it takes to build communities by master-planning, integrating into existing neighbourhoods, thinking about what businesses are needed, and how to bring parks and recreation centres to new and established areas.
The first instalment looks at the challenge in the GTA of finding low-rise housing, such as a single-family, semi-detached or townhomes due to the low supply of shovel-ready communities that are serviced with pipes and roads.
This is a growing problem because the province forecasts that up to 100,000 additional people will move to GTA every year for the next few decades. Provincial policies encourage intensification–building up not out—and therefore anything low-rise that is for sale, goes fast. It is also becoming more difficult many some families to afford new ground-related homes since the cost to build communities is rising steadily.
We follow a family that has been renting, saving and searching for their first home. Recently, they found a new home to suit their needs in Aurora Trails, a master-planned community being built by four of our builder members in Aurora. They talk why they were drawn to this community and why they chose it as a place to live and raise a family.
Since planning and building a community from scratch is only part of the story, we also look at what living in the heart of a city looks like by featuring The Berczy in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market. This mixed-use mid-rise building had to integrate into an established neighbourhood and complement the heritage aspect of its neighbouring buildings. As well, BILD members, Concert Properties, wanted to put retail space at street level, so we talked to them about bringing in businesses that benefit the community as a whole.
We hope you enjoy the series and learn about the complex and interesting world our industry lives in when they build new communities across the GTA.