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Saturday , 25 March 2017

Category Archives: Urban Living

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Features on the downtown scene, events and urban living.

If housing were more commodity, less investment, could we solve the supply problem?

In a well-functioning free market economy, consumers expect to buy the goods they need at a reasonable, stable price, which can be defined as one that comprises the costs of production, distribution, and retailing, and the profit taken by the producer. As long as the price of a loaf of bread remains more or less stable over time, consumers are satisfied to pay it. But when the cost of gas at the pump spikes because of external forces that are invariably beyond the control of any local market, or even national governments, let alone consumers, there is typically an outcry, then grudging acceptance. Housing is different in that it is considered ... Read More »

Education, personal use top reasons Chinese seek Canadian homes: report

Finally, we have hard data about how many Chinese have bought, or thought about buying, Canadian homes, and why. It turns out, as so often happens, that the popular perception is not quite right. Chinese homebuyers in Vancouver and Toronto are not all wealthy investors whose activities in the market have helped drive prices higher; rather, they are mostly families looking for a home in a city where their children can get a good education, and they are prepared to spend, on average, less than local buyers to acquire their homes. These are some of the findings of a new report from a Chinese real estate company,, together with ... Read More »

Gordie Howe Bridge between Detroit and Windsor will have bike lane and pedestrian access

The only party opposed to the building of a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor is the businessman who owns the existing Ambassador Bridge. Manual Moroun has been trying to block the new bridge, named for hockey great Gordie Howe, for years, fearing that it will drain his profits. A huge volume of trade crosses between the two countries every day, and Maroun stands to lose a lot of it. The new bridge will have six lanes of traffic, while the Ambassador has just four. The bridge will be built, though. It has the blessing of no less a trade protectionist than Donald Trump. He and Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned ... Read More »

Urban designers, architects invited to enter 2017 Toronto Urban Design Awards

Although architecture and to a lesser extent design would seem to be the most concrete of disciplines, their raw materials being steel, glass, brick, and yes, concrete, architects and designers are actually much given to abstract thought as well. A well-known practitioner of design, Alexander Holder of Harvard university’s Graduate School of Design and the Los Angeles Design Group is giving a talk in Toronto tomorrow. The announcement for his talk says that perhaps we can think of buildings differently, not as empty containers in which we gather our stuff, but as ways or organising the space between the endless, undifferentiated field of things—“phones, columns, books, knick-knacks, asphalt, clothes, garbage, ... Read More »

Relief for hydro customers as government cuts rates by 25 per cent

Not that it matters a great deal—people don’t care much about other people’s pain—but Ontarians do not pay the highest residential electricity rates in the world. In Canada, yes, but if you lived in New York City or San Francisco or just about anywhere in Europe, you’d pay more: $233.87 in New York compared to $142.40 in Toronto according to estimates, based on 750 kilowatt hours of usage, put together by the Globe and Mail. The high cost of electricity in Ontario bugs people so much that it headed the list of provincial issues of concern, above healthcare, jobs and the economy, taxes, education and the environment, in a survey ... Read More »

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