Students in ARC200 were required to study and draw a two-kilometre-square section of Toronto's "Yellowbelt" — a term used by planners and urbanists to describe parts of the city where zoning rules make it difficult to build anything other than single-family detached housing. Sarah was assigned an area in Etobicoke, south of the intersection of Eglinton Avenue and Royal York Road.
"The first thing I noticed when I looked at my assigned site was that there was a ravine that stretches through the neighbourhood diagonally," Sarah says. "I thought that the relationship between the ravine and the urban fabric would be a really interesting thing to research, because the Yellowbelt seemed to have a direct relationship with the ravine."
Sarah's first step was to analyze the neighbourhood. She created maps that show, in detail, the way the ravine relates to neighbouring properties. In this image, the darker properties are located immediately adjacent to the ravine, while the lighter properties lack direct ravine access:
Next, Sarah grouped the ravine-adjacent properties into four different types, according to lot size:
For her final project, Sarah developed a strategy for adding new residential density to ravine properties in her study area. On larger properties with ample vacant space and excellent transit access, she proposed the addition of mid-rise housing structures with multiple dwelling units inside. Meanwhile, on smaller lots, and lots with poorer transit access, she proposed more modest additions, some of them as small as single-family homes:
And here's a drawing of what her proposals would look like if enacted on a neighbourhood scale. In this image, a new laneway runs through the backyards of two rows of existing properties. In each backyard is a new housing structure. The new homes are separated from the old homes by a screen of greenery, which preserves some privacy for the original homeowners:
And here's a rendering of what it would all look like at street level:
Instructor: Roberto Damiani