The Infill Townhouse Design Guidelines articulate and clarify the City’s interest in addressing townhouse development impacts, with a focus on protecting streetscapes and seamlessly integrating new development with existing housing patterns.
Townhouses are low-rise, grade-related, attached residential units constructed in rows or blocks. They share a number of design characteristics with single-family detached and semi-detached houses such as front doors facing the street, natural through-ventilation, and grade related outdoor space. In urban locations, with existing infrastructure and public transportation, townhouses are a “smart growth” alternative to detached dwellings because they are compact, less land consumptive and more energy efficient. Townhouses have become an increasingly popular form of housing in Toronto over the past decade.
Infill townhouse projects are typically low-scale, incremental developments that help to revitalize existing communities by replacing aging and/or dilapidated buildings and empty lots and by adding to the variety of housing types and tenure in the neighborhood. As with any type of infill development, however, it is very important that new townhouses “fit” within the existing context, and minimize impacts on the surrounding neighbourhood.
The Guidelines have City-wide applicability that serve as a framework within which architectural and landscape design excellence can thrive. The guideline document is intended to assist architects, professional planners or developers to make more informed decisions when submitting or reviewing site plan or re-zoning applications. They could also assist residents and ratepayers interested in establishing a context within which to assess infill townhouse development activity within their neighbourhood.