Messy Urbanism Part 2 of 3: Toronto 'hoods with condo towers need surrounding, vibrant mess

From Toronto Star writer Shawn Micallef: "People will see a new development and mutter 'another condo' in a voice they’d otherwise reserve for petty villains.  It’s an odd form of self-hate.  With so many of us living in condos — the only form of property ownership many of us will ever be able to achieve in this inflated market — they will dominate our domestic landscape for a long time to come. "The problem with so many buildings on our main streets, even ones that look nice high up in the air, is they get the first few floors wrong.  They feel like the mall: overly controlled by one owner.

"Yet in North York there is an ideal situation.  When you walk along Yonge here you almost forget about the towers because of a narrow strip of 1-to-3 storey commercial buildings between them and the street.  The upper stories are sometimes most interesting, with hidden cafes and more quotidian outfits like insurance brokers, muscle clinics and E.S.L. schools.

"These humble buildings contain everything a city needs, layered vertically the way cities do best, so there’s always something to discover.  It’s the kind of 'messy urbanism' that makes so many Toronto streets good to walk along.  Messy is a hard concept for developers to mimic, but some are trying."  Full article here.