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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Postwar towers — apartment buildings over five storeys built before 1985 — are the backbone of the purpose-built rental sector in Canada and home to hundreds of thousands of households of modest and low incomes. The majority of these buildings (over 80%) are privately owned and operated. As these buildings age, this affordable stock is threatened by two key factors: deterioration through neglect and loss of affordability through investments targeted to uplift rents. The preservation and expansion of affordable housing has been identified as a key public policy priority. In parallel, capital improvements to this housing stock toward 21st-century goals related to resilience, housing quality, and climate mitigation have also been identified as a public policy priority. This represents a policy paradox. Innovation is required to develop solutions to maintain the affordability of rents within these buildings, while encouraging capital improvements that meet resilience and housing quality goals.
Tower renewal is a strategy to ensure this affordable apartment tower stock is maintained as a sustainable housing resource, while creating more resilient, secure, and complete communities. Within the context of the National Housing Strategy, climate change, and a cross-Canada housing crisis, this session explores tower renewal as a strategy to renew tower neighbourhoods, maintain affordability, and improve housing quality. From policy to development, planners play a critical role. In this session, we share new research published by the Tower Renewal Partnership (led by the Centre for Urban Growth + Renewal) that makes significant strides in understanding the policy, practice, and market context of implementing wide-scale tower retrofits and community renewal.