Article review: Shifting gears: TOCore and Midtown in Focus – Novae Res Urbis, June 14, 2019

In the mid-1970s, I learned how to write film reviews in my capacity as a freelance writer. As a subscriber to the Toronto version of Novae Res Urbis, it has occurred to me that articles in the NRU newsletter would be fun to review from time to time. There isn’t much difference between a short film and a typical newsletter article.

NRU (Toronto version) serves a niche market; its business model is based upon provision of information and viewpoints related to land use planning in Toronto. From what I can gather from the articles, the subscription base includes (among others) landowners, developers, lawyers, planners, government and elected officials, and residents. The subscription base in effect sponsors the articles.

The conceptual framework, within which data and viewpoints are made available, has to be in accord with a broad range of subscribers; otherwise, the subscribers will not sustain the business model.

The lead article in the June 14, 2019 issue is entitled: “Shifting gears: TOCore and Midtown in Focus.”

The lead paragraph refers to the provincial amendments to TOCore and Midtown in Focus, and notes that “… experts say the way in which the city handled the passing of the official plan amendments warranted robust provincial interference.”

As a reviewer, I note that “experts say” is a pretty broad statement. The text that follows notes that there are indeed some commentators who are convinced the province’s provincial amendments make good sense. Toward the end of the article, a more nuanced view regarding the pros and cons of the amendments are underlined.

The “experts say” terminology is not a consistent theme in NRU articles. More broadly, we can say that individuals who can be categorized as in possession of expertise in expression of a range of developer viewpoints are at times foregrounded, whereas at other times a range of expressions of viewpoints of everyday Toronto residents are also given a spotlight. In that way, a broad range of subscribers are sustained in a state of relative contentment.

You can learn more about NRU by accessing its website:


A related June 6, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “Taller towers, more density, less sunlight: What the province’s housing changes mean for Toronto: Housing minister’s decision makes sweeping changes to city plans for midtown, downtown.”

An except reads:

“Already, some say a few things are clear. Increased development is the common thread throughout Clark’s decisions, and it’s achieved by removing a cap on tower heights and ditching the city’s push to mandate wraparound supports for growing communities — changes many warn may spark growth, but stymie livability.”

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