Urban design guidelines are used by the City of Toronto to clarify the urban design objectives of the Official Plan and zoning by-laws. They assist in the translation of policies and performance standards into a variety of three-dimensional options, for consideration by the municipality during the development approval process.
The City of Toronto Official Plan states that urban design guidelines will be an important part of its implementation strategy. Several types of guidelines are used including:
(1) District or Area-based Gudielines - Table of Contents
These guidelines include development, context or area plans for large sites, guidelines for sites which will be developed in phases and guidelines for nodes or the development of discrete sections of Avenues or major streets. They are often generated during the consideration of site-specific Official Plan amendments, Zoning By-law amendments, subdivision applications or Site Plan Control applications.
(2) City-wide and Specific Building or Development Guidelines
These are guidelines on urban design matters, which apply throughout the whole city. Some of these guidelines deal with such overall matters as, streetscape design, public safety and accessibility. Others are used in the design of specific building types and environments, such as in-fill townhouses, tall buildings, sites with drive-through facilities, parking lots, the PATH system and big box retail.
The guidelines in these documents articulate and clarify the "public interest" in site design and builtform, to achieve good urban design both locally and throughout the city as a whole.