A report by two recent Ryerson urban planning graduates, Cheryll Case and Tetyana Bailey, found that the majority of 140 Toronto’s neighbourhoods have had a stagnant or declining population for the past 30 years. The study has important implications for Toronto residents seeking affordable housing. The study was undertaken as part of a fourth year undergraduate course for Ryerson’s Urban and Regional Planning program and the findings garnered media coverage in the Toronto Star and Seeking Alpha.
While some parts of Toronto–such as downtown–have exploded in population, other areas are dwindling as the average household size has shrunk from from 3.83 people in 1961 to 2.52 in 2016. Stagnant growth and population decline in neighbourhoods leads to decreasing city services, such as school closures and transit reductions that threaten the fabric of local communities. The researchers hope their report encourages Torontonians and urban planners to consider ways to provide affordable housing and create a city where the quality of transit and education is not dictated by postal code.
“Toronto needs more housing for families,” says Case. “Most of our residential land is taken up by one unit in a one-storey detached house when they could be two storeys. This land could also house more families if we allowed multiple-unit properties.”