Tower Renewal is a program to drive broad environmental, social, economic, and cultural change by improving Toronto's concrete apartment towers and the neighbourhoods that surround them. The Toronto region contains North America's second highest concentration of these buildings, but only in Toronto will you find them integrated with both urban and suburban neighbourhoods. They are some of the city's most inefficient buildings, yet they present an incredible opportunity.
This website outlines the vision and principles of Tower Renewal and shows how energy efficiency can be a means to community revitalization. It will track our progress, and share what we have learned to motivate further improvements.
United Way Building Strong Neighbourhoods Report
This report outlines the major milestones of the United Way's Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy, including a focus on the high-rise rental towers that house more than half a million Torontonians.
Green Building Directory, Second Edition
The second edition of the Toronto Directory of Green Building Products and Services is now available online as a PDF. A joint project between the Tower Renewal Office and Economic Development & Culture, this directory of Toronto-area firms provides a foundation of information that can be used when designing and undertaking building renewal projects. Please click here to view the directory.
Affordable Housing Repair Funding
The City of Toronto will soon issue two proposal calls soliciting applications for federal/provincial funding to repair and renovate apartment buildings and rooming houses. For more information please click here.
Case Study Report: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment
Click here to read a case study by GRG Building Consultants on the climate change vulnerability of a residential high-rise apartment tower in Moss Park at 285 Shuter Street, owned by Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).
Tower Renewal Office moving to SDFA
In February 2013, Tower Renewal is moving from the City Manager's Office to the Social Development, Finance & Administration (SDFA) Division. Our new contact information is now on our website. For more information about SDFA, click here.
Video: Recipe for Community in Weston-Mount Dennis
Residents of Weston-Mount Dennis are improving their neighbourhood through the highly successful Recipe for Community program, a partnership between the City of Toronto and the Toronto Community Foundation, along with partners UrbanArts, LiveGreen Toronto and ING Direct. Their efforts were highlighted on the Rogers TV show City Insider. See the video here.
Climate Change Adaptation Workshop
In October 2011, Clean Air Partnership (CAP) presented an expert- led, technical workshop Climate Change Adaptation in High-rise Residential Buildings. Eleanor McAteer, Project Director for the Tower Renewal Program at the City of Toronto, presented on the adaptation options available for high-rise residential buildings. Click here for the workshop proceedings, including presentation outlines, discussion and next steps.
Article in Ontario Planning Journal
Tower Renewal staff collaborated with Graeme Stewart of ERA Architects and Jason Thorne of planningAlliance for an article in the January/February 2013 edition of the Ontario Planning Journal. The article addresses some of the zoning challenges associated with planning legacies and the new RAC zone at the City. To read the article, click here.
Tower Renewal Updates event
On December 11, 2012 the Tower Renewal Office co-hosted a public event with the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, based at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Cities Centre at the University of Toronto. At the event, Tower Renewal shared updates on its recent work, Dr. Emily Paradis filled in the audience on new research in the field, and keynote speaker Dr. Rebecca Leshinsky discussed apartment retrofits in Melbourne. An expert panel also provided insight into financing, regulatory, environmental and social elements of Tower Renewal. Click here to see photos from the event.
Report Back - Tower Renewal Research: Taking Stock
On November 27, 2012, the Tower Renewal Office met with a group of researchers to discuss their recent & upcoming projects. To learn more about the issues discussed and action items moving forward, click here. Presentations from the event are available at the links below:
- Alexis Wood, TRCA
- Bob Murdie, York University & U of T
- Eleanor McAteer, Tower Renewal Office
- Elise Hug, Tower Renewal Office
- Josh Neubauer, Toronto Public Health
- Kat Cizek, National Film Board
- Paul Dowsett and Zahra Ebrahim, sustanable.TO & archiTEXT
- Philip Jeung, TCHC
- Vera Straka, Ryerson University
Toronto Public Health Study
Toward Healthier Apartment Neighbourhoods (pdf) is a new report by Toronto Public Health, part of its Healthy Toronto by Design Series. The report examines several ways in which Toronto's apartment neighbourhoods can affect the health of their residents. It offers strategies for improvement by identifying the roles of the City's current Official Plan and Zoning By-laws.
Renewal in Action
Interested in how the principles of Tower Renewal are being applied? This case study is the first in a series of profiles examining how some Toronto buildings are taking action on building and community renewal.
Apartment Infill Study: A Ten Year Review
Between 1999 and 2009, over 10,000 new residential units were approved as infill development on privately-owned rental apartment sites in Toronto. This study summarizes some of the research findings which will inform future policy recommendations and municipal approaches to strategically encourage appropriate infill development in Toronto's post-war high-rise apartment building communities.
STEP Program Checklists and Toolkits now available
The STEP Program Checklists and Toolkits will help to support you in identifying, assessing and taking action on improvements to apartment buildings and communities through the STEP program.
Initial Findings from the Waste Diversion Field Test
This interim report discusses findings from the Tower Renewal waste diversion field test, a project conducted at 10 apartment buildings to test strategies for maximizing waste diversion rates. Detailed audits of waste generated at each building demonstrate how diversion rates can be improved. The report can help you in considering opportunities to enhance waste diversion at other apartment buildings.
Tower Renewal- Implementation Book - Final version
This resource will help you learn more about the dramatic positive impacts of Tower Renewal. Water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions can be drastically reduced generating financial savings; a sense of safety and community can be considerably strengthened; and significant economic growth through job and local business creation can be realized.
Toronto Directory of Green Building Products and Services
The Tower Renewal program takes an integrated approach to achieve improvements in Toronto's older apartment buildings and their neighbourhoods with initiatives that include building retrofits, community programming and enhanced employment opportunities. To help maximize local benefits, the City of Toronto has prepared this directory of Toronto area product and service providers that can be used when designing and undertaking renewal projects.
The Tower Renewal Symposium
In May 2011, the University of Toronto Cities Centre hosted the second Tower Renewal Symposium. The event presentations and findings provide useful information about initiatives supporting Tower Renewal efforts in Toronto and worldwide.
Tower Renewal Financing Options Report
This report examines the issue of financing, a critical obstacle to completing the major retrofit projects envisioned by Tower Renewal. These projects are comprehensive, large scale and likely to cost several million dollars per building. Since most of the buildings in question are privately-owned, renewal projects must be demonstrated to be advantageous to building owners if they are to be undertaken voluntarily.
Tower Renewal Community Energy Planning - ARUP Consulting
The findings and recommendations described in the Community Energy Plan (CEP) will serve to provide information about the energy efficiency and transportation enhancement opportunities that exist for Tower Renewal projects, as well as the funding requirements, funding mechanisms, regulatory changes, and other issues which will likely need to be addressed before Tower Renewal can attract the interest, and ultimately the participation of Toronto's residential tower owners.
Maximizing Residential Waste Diversion in Connection with the Tower Renewal Pilot Feasibility Study
This report represents the main findings and recommendations of the project team, including options for pilot implementation. While potential solutions for improved waste diversion are found in a number of broad areas including technology, building operations, outreach, education, incentives, and compliance, it became clear to the project team that the buildings most successful in diverting waste and reducing disposal costs did so through simple, operational adjustments.
United Way Releases Report: Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty
Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty presents new data on the growing concentration of poverty in the City of Toronto and the role that high-rise housing is playing in this trend. The report tracks the continued growth in the spatial concentration of poverty in Toronto neighbourhoods, and in high-rise buildings within neighbourhoods. It then examines the quality of life that high-rise buildings are providing to tenants today. Its primary focus is on privately owned building stock in Toronto's inner suburbs. This research is part of United Way's Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy. Watch Youtube video.
The Three Cities Within Toronto
If current trends continue, the City of Toronto will eventually be sharply divided into a city of wealthy neighbourhoods and poor neighbourhoods with very few middleincome neighbourhoods. This is the conclusion of a new report released by the Cities Centre, written by J. David Hulchanski with the support of a research team from the University of Toronto and St. Christopher House.
Province Releases Report
Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. An analysis of high-rise apartment tower neighbourhoods developed in the Post-War boom (1945-1984).
Tower Renewal Workforce Challenges & Opportunities- Dr Ted Kesik P.Eng
The key objectives of this study are to identify tower renewal employment opportunities and to forecast future challenges to the recruitment, training and education of the tower renewal workforce. This report also looks ahead to the longer term implications of building infrastructure revitalization on the Toronto construction industry.