p h i l o c i t i e s

Welcome to p h i l o c i t i e s.

Exploring the Complex Toronto Ecosystem Through the Lens of Urban Planning, Civic Innovation, Housing Market Dynamics and Sustainable Design to Inspire a Creative Dialogue on Community Development

Recent Articles

Is Our High-Rise Development Model Limiting Our Complete Communities and Depleting Our Social Capital?

Our public realm and community services are critical to developing thriving urban environments. As our high-rises facilitate extreme density in our core, are we diluting the diversity and inclusivity of our communities and therefore, our potential to develop social capital?


Will Self-Driving Cars be a Blessing or a Curse for our Cities?

As our city pace gets faster, and new technologies seem to launch every month, it’s more important than ever to consider how our innovations impact our human experience in cities. Self-driving cars are quickly becoming viable, and while the prospect of this change in lifestyle is exciting, how will they impact congestion, safety, public space, and human interaction in cities?


May 2018 Market Update

Average home prices remain down from 2017, but don’t be fooled, housing affordability remains a serious problem. Read full article for details.


Food For Thought: Has the Time Come for a New Development Model?

As developers face greater challenges in the market place, and urban issues continue to progress, the question arises, should we be considering a new model all together? Read article for full details.


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A Rare Well Rounded Look at Toronto's Real Estate Market: The Post City's Real Estate Round Table

The April 2018 edition of the Post City Magazine features a Real Estate Round Table Discussion with industry experts including CIBC Capital Markets Benjamin Tal, developer Brad Lamb, and Former Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat. Their discussion offers a rare complete view of the real estate market right now and the implications on our future real estate environment.

Read more to see the key points of the discussion highlighted to provide insight on the real estate market, government policy, planning and development, and the economy.


April 2018 Market Update

The Toronto Real Estate Board released the March housing sales data, and as we predicted, home prices are down 13% year-over-year.  Despite the drastic number, many experts are actually saying our real estate market is stable and poised for a potential rebound. Read Article to see why.


Toronto Laneway Housing Update: Draft Design Criteria

After years of consideration and planning, a draft set of design criteria to guide the development and form of Laneway Suites is finally here. On March 29th, City Planners presented the guidelines to a community meeting of over 200 people.

Laneway housing provides our city with the much needed ability to densify our existing neighbourhoods within the core, without building high rises on every corner.

The approval of laneway suites as an "As of Right" opportunity for homeowners provides both more supply in our increasingly expensive real estate environment, as well as supplementary income potential for owners.


February 2018 Market Update

2018 is off to an interesting start - January saw the second lowest sales volume in the past 10 years, but despite the slow sales activity prices are actually steadily increasing. Read article for full details.

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Architectural Feature: An Off-The-Grid Home in Huron County

This design build project by Moffitt Studio elevates simplicity and elegance to new highs. The design itself is a modern take on a classic farmhouse, a design theme we're seeing all over the world. But what makes this project special is it's unique relationship with it's landscape and the design integrity that makes it completely off-the-grid. This project is completely fluid, the interior, the structure, and the landscape all complement each other and ultimately engage the owner with the land. 

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The Passive House: Why It Could be the Next Gen of Homes

With the entire world in "fast-forward", the quality of our engagement with the surrounding environment has never been so crucial. Passive House offers us the opportunity to create impact within our built environment as the world pushes us to create positive change in our real estate and development industries.

Learn what the future of housing looks like and why it's so important.


The January Market Report

Late last week the Toronto Real Estate Board released the latest sales data from December 2017.

The market continues to show sign of stabilization as sales activity increases and prices remain consistent with historical trends. 

See Article for full report.

After a very quiet holiday season, new listings are appearing and will hopefully see continued steady and stable market growth.

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What Really Happened in Toronto’s 2017 Real Estate Market & What’s to Come in 2018

2017 has been a whirlwind year for real estate in Toronto. A record breaking new year followed by government intervention, rising interest rates, and uneven demand has seen the market go up, down and sideways. This article explores the reality behind the rollercoaster year and what to expect come 2018.

A vision of Rail Deck Park (courtesy of PUBLIC WORK)

A vision of Rail Deck Park (courtesy of PUBLIC WORK)

Spotlight: City Council Approves 21 Acre Rail Deck Park Downtown - Now How Does it Become Reality

Last week, after months of review, the City Council approved the proposed plan for a 21 acre Park in the downtown core. The park will span overtop the existing rail corridor between Blue Jays Way and Bathurst. This transformative project while undoubtedly increasing the livability of our city, also comes with a minimum $1.7 Billion price tag. In this post I explore the benefits of the project, but also ask the tougher question of how does this multi billion dollar park become a reality?


The December Market Report

The Toronto Real Estate Board released the most recent market stats Today. Overall Toronto prices are up 1.5% with Condos and Townhouses leading the price growth as detached home prices stay low. Read more to understand why the gap between the condo market and detached home market is so large.



Spotlight: Toronto Laneway Housing Status Update

Laneway suites are one step closer to becoming a reality here in Toronto. At the November 30th community meeting at Toronto City Hall, city planners and councillors provided a status update on the review process of this typology. Read more for full details on where we stand with laneway housing!

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Fall Market Assessment - Where we are 6 Months after the Fair Housing Plan (Part One)

Part one of a three part series to evaluate the state of the Toronto Real Estate market 6 months after the implementation of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. After record breaking growth in early 2017, the Ontario Government implemented 16 new rules to cool the market. In this post I ask, did it work?

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Check Out This Month's Latest Market Statistics

The November real estate statistics show continued signs of a stabilizing market in Toronto. After a turbulent summer following the implementation of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan in April, Housing prices are steadying. Stable and consistent growth month to month demonstrate the community's revitalized certainty in the housing market. Toronto Price growth is led by a persistently hot condo market and entry level low-rise market (town-houses). 

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Could this be the Future of Toronto Laneways?

Laneway housing is an urban typology that could be coming our way to Toronto. Laneway housing is a right of passage for any world-class city. It's a model that takes advantage of existing and under-utilized space to create affordable housing and diverse communities, all the while preserving the charm of existing neighbourhoods! 

HO2 design from Honomobo.ca

Source: Sidewalk Labs

Source: Sidewalk Labs

Spotlight: Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs Announce Tech Focused Neighbourhood – a Transformative Moment for our City

On Tuesday afternoon, all three levels of government along with a representative from Waterfront communities and Sidewalk Labs announced their official plans for a new tech-focused neighbourhood on the eastern waterfront.

The project, which seems like a standard development plan announcement is in fact, a HUGE and transformative step in Toronto and ultimately, the world’s perspective on building standards and urban planning.

The Don Valley Brickworks - A Sustainable Path to Follow

The Don Valley Brickworks is a perfect example of our city's potential to develop innovative urban plans that are simultaneously sustainable but also effective at uniting communities and educating insight on green cities and developing sustainable buildings.