Creating “Complete Communities” Through Commercial Land Use Policy
thesisposted on 25.05.2021, 07:15 authored by Kelsey Prentice
The Ontario government has provided little guidance for municipalities regarding planning for retail development, despite expecting their land use policies to achieve the goals of sustainable and complete communities mandated through provincial policies. This paper examines the evolution of commercial land use policy over the past twenty years, in order to describe how municipalities have been planning commercial retail development to meet the objectives of the Growth Plan. During this time period, a new form of retail emerged known as “power retail”. This new form of retail has disrupted land use planners’ mandate to maintain the planned function of commercial hierarchies. Case studies of three municipalities in York Region (Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham) reveal that commercial land use policy has moved away from creating a commercial retail hierarchy based on planned function and have instead established an urban structure based on a hierarchy of intensification areas.