Punching out: exploring justifications for employment land conversions in the GTA
thesisposted on 25.05.2021, 07:14 by David Cogliano
The current planning framework in the Province of Ontario is based on principles of “smart growth” including transit oriented development, intensification, and a focus on building complete communities. While the advancement of these principles has been positive in certain cases, the literature identifies that industrial lands may face redevelopment pressure as smart growth principles are adopted. This paper provides the opportunity to assess the extent of which this is the case in the context of the City of Markham. A content analysis of twelve employment land conversion applications provides for an on-the-ground case study of how the planning framework in Ontario, informed by smart growth principles, is leveraged by developers to support employment land conversions. Research findings include conflicting interpretations, among stakeholders, of planning policy goals related to employment land. Recommendations include the need for a more consistent articulation of policy goals and a rethink of traditional zoning strategies for industrial lands.