Heritage Intervention Projects and Intensification in the City of Toronto

Published: 14 June 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/zhzvg48dr4.1
Ben Daub


[Forthcoming article abstract] As municipalities strive to meet urban intensification targets, developable and redevelopable land has become increasingly scarce. As a result, inter-urban space is consistently under pressure to accommodate new uses. Consequently, properties of built heritage significance can become targeted for such accommodations, commonly via three intervention types: adaptive reuse, façadism, and demolition. Increasing the complexity of typological applications is that heritage valuation is fluid and differs between all actors, adding a social component to decision-making processes. Using the City of Toronto as the case and employing a mixed-methods study design, I sought to address three main inquiries. First, the commonality of how often adaptive reuse, façadism, and demolition are employed, and how their uses correlate with urban intensification. Second, I examined how heritage professionals value heritage conservation, how their valuation has changed over time, and their observations towards how other heritage professionals’ valuations have changed over time. Third, I sought to determine how heritage valuation translates into the selection of different intervention options. Preliminary, archival analysis showed that the number of heritage intervention projects has increased alongside intensification and that façadism has emerged as the most used intervention type. Subsequent social analysis revealed that all heritage professionals value conservation and that many professionals have experienced some level of valuation modification over their career. Additionally, data revealed that level of experience and professional affiliation within the heritage planning domain plays the greatest role in determining intervention type preference. The dataset shows changes in Toronto's population density measured for each of the city's 140 neighbourhoods and the presence of heritage intervention projects. After enumerating the number of projects and ensuring project-over-project comparability, the dataset converges the population density data with the heritage intervention project data to assess the influence between the two variables.



City Planning, Heritage Conservation