Tower Infill Design in the High Park Neighbourhood
The High Park neighbourhood in Toronto has recently been experiencing an influx of infill development proposals. This project will critically analyze the built form of the neighbourhood along with the existing proposals and the City policies which provide guidelines for them. The specific research question that will be answered will be whether or not the High Park neighbourhood's new tower infill proposals are appropriately designed to integrate the newly built form into the existing urban fabric. The City’s existing and proposed policies are hanging onto the ideal of towers-in-the-park as a means of preserving character, while hindering their options for alternatives to high-rise infill. I have found that these policies limit what can be done in terms of built form, and as such find myself criticizing the provisions for infill development as the root of the problem. While the current proposals are questionable, as they seek approval based on claiming to fit in with the existing high-rise built form, and don’t represent sound planning and urban design as I understand it from urban design literature, I believe instead that the lamentable state of the proposals is due to the City’s policies and regulations—the proposals are a reflection of what is envisioned by the policies. The findings of this analysis have shown that the most appropriate form of high-density infill development for the High Park apartment neighbourhood is mid-rise infill, with low-rise townhomes at-grade. The study area is dominated by existing high-rise towers and presents a drastic lack of transition in scale to the adjacent low-rise neighbourhoods. By utilizing alternatives to high-rise infill it is possible to achieve comparable levels of density while maintaining adequate levels of open space, and further transforming the built environment to enhance the public realm. Low-rise and mid-rise infill will provide the necessary transition in scale that the area is lacking and will present opportunities to help the existing tower-in-the-park sites interact with the public realm.