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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press


The Planning, Design, and Development of Toronto’s CityPlace

Follow the evolution of CityPlace, Toronto’s largest residential megaproject. 

Condoland casts CityPlace—a massive residential development of more than thirty condominium towers just outside Toronto’s downtown core—as a microcosm of twenty-first-century urban intensification that has transformed the city skyline beyond all recognition.

Built almost entirely by a single private developer, this immense neighborhood took decades to plan, design, and develop, but the result lacks a sense of place and is not widely accessible to those who need homes: only a small number of its 13,000 units constitute affordable housing, and public amenities are limited. James T. White and John Punter journey through the forty-year development of Toronto’s largest residential megaproject, focusing on its urban design and architectural evolution. They also delve into the background, summarizing the tools used to shape Toronto’s built environment, and critically explore the underlying political economy of planning and real estate development in the city.

Using detailed field studies, interviews, archival research, and nearly two hundred illustrations, they reveal an alarmingly flexible approach to planning and design that is acquiescent to the demands of a rapacious development industry. Condoland raises key questions about the sustainability and long-term resilience of city planning.

406 pages | 188 figures, 2 diagrams, 14 tables | 7 1/2 x 10

Geography: Urban Geography

History: Urban History

Political Science: Urban Politics


"Large, privately owned downtown railway yards are important redevelopment sites across North American cities, and Condoland is a vital analysis of one such site." 

David Gordon, Queen’s University, coauthor of Planning Canadian Communities

"Condoland sounds a warning bell on a possible future model of urban development with its meticulous chronicle of the development of CityPlace." 

Pierre Filion, professor emeritus, Planning, University of Waterloo

"With its push to ever greater hyper-density and height, Toronto’s social agenda – affordability, social cohesion, sustainability, and equity – is at risk. By contrasting CityPlace with other successful models of neighbourhood development that have been implemented in the same period, the authors remind us that 'Condoland' is not the only answer and that there are other better ways of accommodating the city’s growing population. In spite of its flaws, CityPlace turns out to be a 'learning laboratory,' and through the narrative we learn how the neighbourhood ultimately learns, compensates and, in some ways, course corrects." 

Ken Greenberg, author of Toronto Reborn: Design Successes and Challenges

"New high-rise clusters are springing up in every world city. How does this happen? Condoland is a careful examination of the planning, political, and business forces behind 'vertical urbanism,' focused on Toronto’s CityPlace and skillfully contrasted with the lessons of Vancouverism." 

Joe Berridge, author of Perfect City, partner at Urban Strategies, and adjunct professor at University of Toronto

"With meticulous historical analysis and searing commentary, White and Punter vividly highlight how a balance of public-private power, prowess, collaboration, and investment is essential to deliver the intense, vertical but sustainable, liveable city that the future demands – and how the imbalances can subvert the dream." 

Larry Beasley, C.M., author of Vancouverism

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