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Sustainability of Condo Living

urbandreamer

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^You assume today's suburban sprawl will continue forever. I am talking about a return to the SFH model of a century ago. You could call it new urbanism but I'd call it new suburbanism :D Think of the Annex as a suburb--it was in its day. That is the model for density I am proposing that is sustainable in the GTA. A mix of 4 storey walkups, a tight grid of streets and walkable commercial districts mixed with a variety of SFH styles--mostly semis and townhomes. If construction practises returned to those of a century ago using robotic construction techniques, 3D printing etc (a real possibility in the near future), hydrogen-powered vehicles (Toyota is launching a hydrogen-powered car next year) than yes, lowrise would be more sustainable.
 

Ex-Montreal Girl

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^You assume today's suburban sprawl will continue forever. I am talking about a return to the SFH model of a century ago. You could call it new urbanism but I'd call it new suburbanism :D Think of the Annex as a suburb--it was in its day. That is the model for density I am proposing that is sustainable in the GTA. A mix of 4 storey walkups, a tight grid of streets and walkable commercial districts mixed with a variety of SFH styles--mostly semis and townhomes. If construction practises returned to those of a century ago using robotic construction techniques, 3D printing etc (a real possibility in the near future), hydrogen-powered vehicles (Toyota is launching a hydrogen-powered car next year) than yes, lowrise would be more sustainable.
If that were to happen, I could agree with you. I am from Montreal, as you can see, where people in the "older" parts of the city live in duplexes and triplexes and lowrises. We co-owned a 2000 SF duplex (we had the main floor and basement) with another couple above us who had 1000 sf, and we were attached to another duplex. We shared a small back garden and deck. It's the way it is in Montreal but, as the city expanded off the island, that became the single family house with pool-sized lot. (It is not so clear cut, but I am stating this for simplification.) Now, there is a move back to lowrises (condos) and attached towns, even in inner suburbs like Ville St-Laurent. St-Henri, below downtown Montreal, is also redeveloping that way, on old port and industrial lands with duplexes and triplexes that blend in with the older buildings.

But, for some reason, and I have seen this repeatedly on this forum, there is a rejection of this concept in Toronto.
 

AKS

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^You assume today's suburban sprawl will continue forever. I am talking about a return to the SFH model of a century ago. You could call it new urbanism but I'd call it new suburbanism :D Think of the Annex as a suburb--it was in its day. That is the model for density I am proposing that is sustainable in the GTA. A mix of 4 storey walkups, a tight grid of streets and walkable commercial districts mixed with a variety of SFH styles--mostly semis and townhomes. If construction practises returned to those of a century ago using robotic construction techniques, 3D printing etc (a real possibility in the near future), hydrogen-powered vehicles (Toyota is launching a hydrogen-powered car next year) than yes, lowrise would be more sustainable.
There are townhouses being built. Just not many nor downtown. You can't build all duplex and triplex everywhere. It's also not enough to sustain future growth. Also there are people who already own land in Toronto. They would have to be willing to sell their house to builders to build triplex or higher. Not many are willing to sell their SFH. And let's face it, population from a century ago was way less than it is today and in the future, there will be more population than now. We have to think about the future as well. I'm not saying every building built should be 30+ stories. But land is also getting expensive. I doubt builders will buy expensive land and only build a triplex or something low without attaching a tall tower onto it. There are many factors involved that prohibits low rise building. And even if Toyota makes hydrogen powered vehicles, so what? That doesn't relieve congestion if everyone drives a car. What about the by-products of making that car? And when it ages, the scrap that follows?
There's also road maintenance and travel time. The further you move out, the longer it takes to travel. If you want to encourage people to take public transit, you will need to spend huge amounts of money to build longer rails to reach them. Or the bus would have to cover longer distances, which are costly. The only way SFH viable is to stop population growth. What model used a century ago, doesn't mean it will work now. There are a lot of costs involved.
 

ksun

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It will take much longer to get to places, cost more to build transit. Heck we might not need so much public transit if everyone is so sprawled because everyone would be driving a car.
Yep It is ridiculous that those people live in houses in Richmond Hill and Vaughan who need to come to downtown everyday think they deserve a subway stop nearby. Low rise living and public transit go against each other because it is very expensive to serve a relatively small number of people when cost is the same. Transit, especially rapid transit should only go where the density is, and where it makes financial sense, not where people complain the loudest or where there is a blank area on the map. I am frustrated that the city needs to please SFH owners in low density area by extending the Spadina line, and possibly Yonge line in the future, while the much denser areas such as King/Queen west don't have any subways.

I don't know why people are still arguing about it - yeah, not all condos are super efficient and they may be expensive to build and maintain, but the cost is spread among a large number of people, who will rely a lot less on driving and will consume a lot less energy during their life time. As I said, those who argue SFH life is more sustainable are those who don't want to give up such lifestyle and try to find ways to justify it (to them it is the default lifestyle for families, how can it be wrong?). Using energy efficient materials, improve insolation, you can be as green as possible but it is all marginal and you still leave a much large emission than an average condo dweller who doesn't care anything about going "green".
 

AKS

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I am frustrated that the city needs to please SFH owners in low density area by extending the Spadina line, and possibly Yonge line in the future, while the much denser areas such as King/Queen west don't have any subways.
Actually, the spadina line to York U is important. It might help cut down the need for frequent buses so it will save on the need for so many drivers. They have to run so many buses there daily because it gets so full during the school term. It might make pioneer village more accessible so it can attract tourists hopefully? As for extension up to Vaughn, I think it's paid for my Vaughn? I don't really see the need to go up that far. But if the area wants to attract visitors to their mall, it's a marketing scheme.
 

DarnDirtyApe

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Yep It is ridiculous that those people live in houses in Richmond Hill and Vaughan who need to come to downtown everyday think they deserve a subway stop nearby. Low rise living and public transit go against each other because it is very expensive to serve a relatively small number of people when cost is the same. Transit, especially rapid transit should only go where the density is, and where it makes financial sense, not where people complain the loudest or where there is a blank area on the map. I am frustrated that the city needs to please SFH owners in low density area by extending the Spadina line, and possibly Yonge line in the future, while the much denser areas such as King/Queen west don't have any subways.

I don't know why people are still arguing about it - yeah, not all condos are super efficient and they may be expensive to build and maintain, but the cost is spread among a large number of people, who will rely a lot less on driving and will consume a lot less energy during their life time. As I said, those who argue SFH life is more sustainable are those who don't want to give up such lifestyle and try to find ways to justify it (to them it is the default lifestyle for families, how can it be wrong?). Using energy efficient materials, improve insolation, you can be as green as possible but it is all marginal and you still leave a much large emission than an average condo dweller who doesn't care anything about going "green".
You keep saying these things, but look at the research - it's really not that simple. It sounds to be like you're trying to find ways to justify your particular preference for high rise condos.
 

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