Of course we're not going to agree - I don't think anyone here is suggesting we will.
That said, there's the objective reality that there are places where we can absolutley
clear cut single family homes for larger, multi-unit buildings. @condovo
is parroting the old Diamond / Meyers line about how bad St. Jamestown was / is, and there is some truth to that, but there's also truth to the fact that there are *thousands* of homes there now where previously there were fewer than 200. We also shouldn't judge things like St. Jamestown without focusing on what was truly problematic - it wasn't the loss of homes, it's not the architecture it's the urbanism - we know now that removing streets and creating anonymous superblocks isn't the right way to do things, so we don't really do it anymore.
In fairness, if you were to substitute St. Jamestown with City Place, many people would argue that much more contemporary build hasn't worked either; many would, however, argue for the St. Lawrence neighbourhood (I would be one of those).
It's possible to densify, and to preserve the character people appreciate.I would argue that the interior of Cabbagetown isn't suited to strong intensification, that you would have to take out the mature trees, widen the roads, rebuild the sewers etc etc.
I'm far more open, however, to higher density on Parliament or Gerrard, right at the edge.
But I would still suggest retaining the best parts of the character, while adding that density. (facade retention for some buildings, full preservation for some others, and generally setting any towers back a few metres from the road, allowing traditional roof lines in the 3-5s range to dominate from the perspective of someone walking by....
But at any rate, the point is simply that if you were to ask people where they would prefer intensification, and which buildings they would prefer to save, this building would come out the loser to a near-certainty vs anything Victorian in Cabbagetown.
That doesn't mean we ought to freeze them in Amber, nor recklessly tear this down w/o some consideration. As I said, I don't see why there can't be a happy medium, except when people disagree in near-absolutes, then there's no compromise to be had.
I'm not a big Parkin fan, modernism is my least favourite style after brutalism. Like many here, I prefer brick, timber, stone, etc. I'm open to modern glazing choices, but I don't want them everywhere, and I do want them done well, no spandrel, no mullions, nice colour/tint etc etc. But that said, I recognize some of what you and some others value here; and I appreciate architectural diversity, and I'm happy enough, then to advocate for substantially retaining what you value here, with such tweaks as may be necessary (accessibility) or could, by consensus, better animate the at-grade experience w/o harming the building's best features.
For me, the soffit is the most interesting bit; but I also like the window-style/pattern simply for being different than much of what exists now and most of what is being built.
There's much to fix in St. Jamestown, yes, but the classic, classist, Toronto-armchair-urbanist opinion, that we were right to encase the rest of the city in amber while saying "but look over there" in blood-curdling tones is just as myopic as some of the 2020, nouveau-YIMBY, nonsense about it being perfectly fine.
I think you're over-selling a bit here.
We need to start from the premise that Condovo, is a long-time poster who has been a consistent proponent of many proposals and intensification in general. He simply conditionalizes that, as do I,
by saying not everywhere, not all the time, not at any scale/style.
Then we can move on to ask whether your diagnosis of St. Jamestown is fulsome.
I agree, as far as you've gone, that the closure of streets through the community was a crucial planning/design mistake.
But if we could reopen one or two would that suddenly make the area desirable? I would argue otherwise.
St. Jamestown was built to be middle-income rental housing, catering to singles and new/small families who were expected, at the time, to transition to SFH as their families grew.
Despite initially attracting tenants in line w/that plan.......things deteriorated with remarkable haste, and I think that's difficult to place on street configuration alone.
Clearly, several private landlords, in addition to TCHC have not been stellar at maintaining the housing stock. We've had at least two large-scale fires in buildings here, that required mass evacuations. Why?
Without getting into the weeds, as the demographics of tenants shifted to lower income, landlords's sped the trendline up cutting services (closing the large outdoor pool); by allowing large retail to go vacant, by reducing routine maintenance, etc.
But that begs the question, why did the ball start rolling? One could look at the area income split, but St. Lawrence is very much a mixed income community and didn't see the same issues emerge, if anything St. Lawrence has picked up steam over the years.
I would suggest the difference isn't just street grid. It's scale, it's co-ops vs TCHC, it's also perceived architectural desirability by people with choice. White-brick monoliths are not all the rage, nor are towers-in-the park and people love that in much of St. Lawrence preserved history is mixed in with the new, and often the new blends relatively seamlessly with the old.
No one speaks that way of St.Jamestown.
The argument is not one of density vs tabula rasa; nor preserving modernism vs victorians.
It's one of preserving the best of everything and preserving the character people appreciate while achieving the density we need.