Cities & Infrastructure





Cities & Infrastructure

Green Bank Financing: Accelerate Clean Energy Deployment in Canada through the Canadian Infrastructure Bank

This report was created in partnership with the Coalition for Green Capital and with support from The Ivey Foundation and The Trottier Family Foundation. In it we outline how a Green Bank in Canada can boost both public and private investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other clean energy and green infrastructure by eliminating an institutional gap and market barriers.

The Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB), part of the Government of Canada’s proposed five-year $17.7 billion infrastructure investment plan, is the logical home for a national Green Bank. This model would provide the tools and institutions to address specific market barriers and finance project deployment.

Clean energy infrastructure is ideal for this investment approach. Creating a Green Bank Division, a dedicated component of the CIB for clean energy financing, has the potential to produce wide economic, fiscal and environmental benefits.

Action and Engagement for Green Communities in Ontario

This visual report outlines Evergreen’s work over the past three years under the program Action and Engagement for Green Communities in Ontario. At the outset of this program, we identified a series of urban challenges requiring collective action. Together with a larger constellation of city-building organizations and cross-sectoral programs and initiatives, we have supported and informed development of new policies, investments, strategies, programs, initiatives and networks in support of strong, sustainable and resilient communities for all Ontarians.

The report details our milestones, outcomes and impacts of the five core areas included in this program: Mid-Sized Cities, GTA Housing Action Lab, Mobility Labs, Tower Renewal Partnership and Public Engagement on Intensification.

Leveraging Ontario’s Urban Potential: Mid-Sized Cities Research Series

This research series presents an inter-disciplinary perspective by young and established scholars on themes specific to a mid-sized urban scale.

The discussion pieces released as part of Leveraging Ontario’s Urban Potential: Mid-Sized Cities Research Series provide a look at some of the key issues in mid-sized cities by offering a snapshot of academic research underway across the province. We shape a research agenda that builds on existing research work and reflects the needs, interests and gaps of MSC practitioners.

Realizing Social and Economic Objectives through Infrastructure Planning and Investment

This research explores how Ontario municipalities can use community benefits to maximize social and economic outcomes through better infrastructure planning and investment, in order to deliver better outcomes for people and communities. It addresses how community benefits can be aligned with or incorporated into Ontario’s municipal asset management program and provides preliminary thinking as to how community benefits can be evaluated.

This research is a starting point to enable principled, evidence-based, and strategic long-term infrastructure planning allowing for physical, social, and economic benefits for local communities.

Making Mid-Sized the Right Size

In 2015, Evergreen prepared a discussion paper centered around mid-sized cities (MSC), which has been used to guide the development of the Mid-Sized Cities Program and our work across the province. Building on conversations with local leaders in several Ontario MSCs, the report identifies 12 actions for MSCs to unlock their unique potential. Some of the recommendations include:

  1. Develop policy frameworks to build and preserve local assets
  2. Reduce governance fragmentation and improve planning coordination
  3. Continue to emphasize balanced economies to increase economic resilience
  4. Invest in strategies to support regional economies
  5. Leverage the role and influence of anchor institutions

Crisis & Opportunity: Time for a National Infrastructure Plan for Canada

October 2014

Canadian cities are facing unprecedented challenges. From aging infrastructure to mitigating the effects of climate change and extreme weather events, they need help. This paper argues that the existing economic conditions presents government with an opportune moment to renew investment in Canada’s infrastructure networks and suggests a path forward.


Scaling Up Joint Ventures between Social
Housing Providers and Private Sector Builders

New housing is being built across Canada, and we need to take innovative approaches to meet the needs of our diverse communities. There is a huge opportunity through joint ventures between private and non-profit housing providers to do just that.

This paper explores the kinds of partnerships that currently exist in Canadian cities and offers best practices to scale up joint ventures.

Laneway Suites: A New Housing Typology for Toronto

The final Laneway Suites Report puts forward recommended actions and performance standards to support laneway suites in Toronto.

The report outcomes build on community consultations, online survey responses, as well as technical discussions with City of Toronto staff and councillors in the Toronto and East York District.

Finally, it recommends actions including the establishment of an as-of-right planning framework for laneway suites alongside a set of recommended performance standards that will provide a strong foundation for the future of laneway suites in Toronto.

To learn more about Evergreen's work on laneway suites, visit our webpage. 

Laneway Suites Consultation Report

Consultations done under the Laneway Suites project showed a majority of residents are interested in seeing how laneway suites could be part of Toronto’s future. Community participants identified a number of important ideas that include:

  • Sustainability and maintaining green space
  • Reducing red tape
  • Flexible design guidelines
  • Parking considerations
  • Integration with the public realm

Several questions were raised by residents and we are working hard to address these key issues through conversations with city technical staff and councillors in the Toronto and East York District. The highlights of the conversations can be read in this report.

This report was prepared by Crazy Dames.

Housing Benefit

Designing a Housing Allowance Program by the Caledon Institute

This research paper describes and analyses options for designing a housing allowance in Ontario, as well as other provinces. It pays particular attention to the harmonization of a housing allowance program with social assistance.

Leveraging Assets in Social Housing

This research report examines existing social housing assets in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area with a specific focus on the potential for leveraging the value of those assets towards the goal of creating new affordable housing.

Affordable Home Ownership

Affordable home ownership is a key pillar in a sustainable affordable housing strategy. Affordable home ownership models use a combination of shared equity and creative mortgage structures to enable lower income individuals and families who might not otherwise qualify for a conventional mortgage to access ownership.

Housing Data Bank

The Toronto Regional Housing Data Bank provides a snapshot to help identify needs and opportunities and inform collective action and advocacy to the federal and provincial governments. This is an updated version of the original created in partnership with the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance in 2011.

Purpose-Built Rental Housing

Promoting Rental Housing in the Greater Toronto Area by Ryerson University School of Urban and Regional Planning

The Creating New Affordable Rental Housing project aims to launch new public private partnerships and further engage the private sector in the creation of affordable rental housing across the Greater Toronto Area.

Encouraging Construction and Retention of Purpose-Built Rental Housing in Canada: Analysis of Federal Tax Policy Options by Greg Lampert Economic Consultant in partnership with the Canadian Home Builders Association

This research was conducted to contribute to and expand the public policy discussion of one of Canada’s most pressing issues: how best to increase access to market–rate rental housing by households with adequate incomes and relatively bright long-term employment prospects. It explores a limited number of potential federal tax policy changes to stimulate investment in new purpose built rental housing.

Intensifying our Communities – Laneway and Midrise Housing

The Greater Toronto Area is growing rapidly, and that growth needs to be accommodated while also protecting the region’s greenbelt, farmland and drinking water — not to mention providing homes with reasonable commuting times. To do that, the region must build up within existing neighbourhoods, instead of building out on the suburban fringes. In 2015 the GTA Housing Action Lab commissioned Pembina and the Ontario Home Builders association to create better understanding and recommendations for light intensification. They produced two research papers:

Community Benefits and Tower Renewal

Community benefits are an emerging mechanism to grow local economies, extend employment opportunities to those who face difficulties entering or staying in the workforce, and help enable social and neighbourhood regeneration. This paper explores how community benefits can play a role in the retrofitting of apartment tower communities.

GTHA Government-Owned Public Lands Inventory by Ryerson University's Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR)

The objective of this research is to develop an inventory of government-owned land in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Land ownership is an important precondition for governments to undertake a range of land use policies to generate public facilities that are needed to support growth and development.

Toward a Brighter Future: Opportunities to Reduce Affordable Need and Homelessness in the GTHA

This report outlines the housing and homelessness funding challenges faced by municipalities within the GTHA. It also highlights the positive impact of the 2016 federal and provincial budget allocations for housing and homelessness prevention.

The report, authored by Steve Pomeroy, finds that we are well positioned to deliver new housing and homelessness initiatives, expand innovative program and policy solutions, and expand housing collaboration with the federal and provincial governments.

A New Foundation: A Backgrounder for the Housing Action Lab on the Future of Housing in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area

The cover of A New FoundationJanuary 2014

This paper begins to build a shared understanding of the core elements of the housing system within the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. Its purpose is not to identify solutions, but to provide context and background and to begin to build a shared understanding of the core elements of our housing system, as well as identify our underlying assumptions about our housing system.

Renewable Energy Investments in Social and Affordable Housing

This research evaluates the Renewable Energy Initiative (REI), a federal-provincial economic stimulus program that supported the installation of renewable energy (RE) systems within Ontario’s social and affordable housing sector between 2010 and 2011.

It documents the benefits of REI investments by evaluating their effectiveness in achieving social, economic and environmental outcomes for social and affordable housing providers and the Province of Ontario, while documenting insights on sector capacity, project implementation, program design and provider experience.

The report also looks forward, providing insights on preferred investment strategies and recommended policy interventions to reduce GHG emissions in social and affordable housing and accelerate the transition to net-zero communities.


The cover of Intersection MagazineIntersection

Intersection is a magazine profiling innovation and inspiration within cities. Each volume contains interviews with city-builders from different industries, profiles game changing ideas and exposes some of the newest initiatives occurring within Canadian cities.

Vol. I: The Future of Civic Engagement (PDF, 2.9MB)

Vol. 2: The Cities We Want & How to Get There (PDF, 5.5MB)