Global sustainable development is inextricably tied to the development of cities, as accelerating growth in urban populations becomes a major driver of social, environmental and ecological change. Cities are major consumers of natural resources and producers of pollution and waste. Development solutions that can reduce urban environmental impacts, as well as increase urban quality of life, are urgently needed. How to ensure that rampant growth in urban communities follows a regenerative and sustainable path therefore becomes a critical and increasingly relevant question.

This paper will define a working definition of urban sustainability against which to measure results and provide accountability, to evaluate how local policies can guide development either towards or against urban sustainability, and to evaluate to what extent third party metrics might exist to help guide the growth of cities. An ‘on the ground’ case study of a neighbourhood community redevelopment project in Toronto—as a representative North American project and city—will be used as a platform to test these ideas and to develop recommendations going forward.

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Author notes


Architect, OAA, RAIC, LEED AP (BD+C, ND) is a Principal and Director for Sustainable Strategies at CS&P Architects Inc. Email: