Discussion and Education Tools

The following is a selection of tools we think you may find useful for understanding the Places to Grow initiative and smart growth principles. The tools explain intensification and livable, walkable, complete communities that support transit use.  The resources include presentations, fact sheets, guides, images, and calculators. Links with this icon tool for kids are tools that kids may enjoy. 

Image Bank | Places to Grow Tools | Other Ontario Government Tools | Other Tools

Image Bank

Public Square of a Contemporary Downtown Institutional Building Visit the Places to Grow Image Bank link opens new window for images that illustrate some of the themes addressed in the Places to Grow initiative. Please feel free to download them to use for public outreach and education purposes.

Places to Grow Tools

Tools produced by the Government of Ontario specifically for Places to Grow.

example case study Urban Form Case Studies

Case studies of recently completed projects which illustrate key policies in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006.  We encourage you to download the case studies to inform your work, to use as a platform for discussion and to share with your community, colleagues and decision-makers.

hypothetical downtown Intensification Visualizations

Computer-generated photo montages that show hypothetical communities with different density targets, and before and after images of hypothetical intensification scenarios.  Please feel free to download the visualizations to use them in your own materials to explain these concepts.  


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Other Ontario Government Tools

Planning, development and financial tools created by other ministries and agencies.

Ministry of Transportation

Transit-Supportive Guidelines link opens new window
These guidelines are designed to assist in creating an environment that is supportive of transit use. They include transit-friendly land use planning, urban design and operational practices, and should be used in communities of all sizes.


Mobility Hub Guidelines for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area link opens new window
The Mobility Hub Guidelines provide a framework for the successful planning and development of mobility hubs. They provide detailed strategies, best practices, case studies, and suggested resources for a number of key objectives.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing  Municipal Planning and Development Tools

Municipal Planning and Financial Tools for Economic Development Handbook link opens new window
Descriptions of planning and financial tools that can be used to support municipal goals for economic development, snapshots and case studies on how other jurisdictions are capitalizing on their assets, and a municipal checklist for investment readiness.

Planning by Design:  A Healthy Communities Handbook link opens new window
A guide of ideas for planning and designing for healthy and sustainable communities, prepared in partnership with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute link opens new window.

Planning Act Tools link opens new window
A summary, InfoSheets, and 12 illustrated one-page descriptions (Building Blocks for Sustainable Planning) of the range of planning tools that support intensification and sustainability.

Community Improvement Planning Handbook link opens new window
A guide for municipalities to community improvement planning under section 28 of the Planning Act.

Brownfields Ontario link opens new window
Information on brownfields (former industrial sites), including related legislation, land use planning, environmental protection and financing.

Support Materials for the Development Permit System link opens new window
A handbook for municipal implementation, an InfoSheet, frequently asked questions, and a presentation explaining the development permit system.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing  Municipal Tools and Financial Resources

Municipal Tools for Planning and Development InfoSheets link opens new window
Information sheets on planning for barrier-free municipalities, tax increment-based financing, business improvement areas, affordable housing, wind energy, and planning for railway safety.

Financial Tools and Resources link opens new window
Publications on financing tools and economic development strategies for municipalities.

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Other Tools

A selection of tools produced by other governments and organizations. 

Affordable Housing Design Advisor/ Demystifying Density link opens new window

A U.S. design guide, gallery, and checklists for housing developments and a video lecture series on residential density.

California Energy Commission: The Energy Yardstick - Using PLACE3S to Create More Sustainable Communities link opens new window

A document that describes a process for measuring energy efficiency and sustainability of a range of approaches to community development. 

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation:  Sustainable Community Planning link opens new window

Case studies on intensification; comparison of neighbourhood sustainability; and a sustainable community visioning and assessment exercise.  

Centre for Sustainable Transportation: Child- and Youth- Friendly Land-Use and Transport Planning Guidelines for Ontario link opens new window tool for kids (PDF document, opens a new window PDF 852 KB)
Guidelines to help communities meet the mobility needs of young people by encouraging non-motorized transportation and healthier environments.  

Congress for the New Urbanism Project Database link opens new window

Database and images of international new urbanist/smart growth projects.

ERA Architects:  People per Hectare link opens new window

Photos of 21 neighbourhoods around the world (including Toronto examples) with their densities expressed in people per hectare.

English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation:  Urban Design Compendium link opens new window

Comprehensive urban design principles, policy, and project development processes for the U.K., illustrated using over 100 international case studies.

Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities:  Transportation and Community Making the Connection link opens new window

Facts sheets (using U.S. data) about the relationship of transportation to issues such as biodiversity, energy and climate change, and social equity.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Visualizing Density link opens new window tool for kids

A summary of density concepts and issues (using U.S. examples); a quiz, an image gallery; and an interactive game.

Local Government Commission:  Compact Development Compact Disc link opens new window

A compact disc for sale that includes a PowerPoint presentation, case studies of 60 California projects, an image survey, "Guess the Density" game, and design guidelines.

Local Government Commission:  Creating Great Neighbourhoods - Density in Your Community link opens new window

A booklet featuring design principles, information about the smart growth and density connection, and nine U.S. case studies of smart growth projects.

Ontario Professional Planner's Institute:  Kid's Guide to Building Great Communities - A Manual for Planners and Educators link opens new window tool for kids (PDF document, opens a new window PDF 1.8 MB)
A number of learning exercises for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 that explain basic principles of community planning.  

National Geographic Earthpulse: The New Suburb Virtual World link opens new window tool for kids

A U.S. site for children, youth, and educators, including an interactive animation; lesson plans; and a small image library.   

Natural Resources Defense Council:  Picturing Smart Growth link opens new window

An interactive U.S. map with population and commuting data linked to over 70 photo montages of "before" and simulated "after" views of community improvement and intensification.

Reconnecting America, Center for Transit-Oriented Development: Best Practices Clearinghouse link opens new window

Searchable database of publications on best practices in transit-oriented development.

Region of Waterloo: Reurbanization link opens new window

Illustration of potential development densities for six study areas and documents visualizing existing and potential development densities in the Region of Waterloo. Includes case studies of building forms. 

San Francisco League of Conservation Voters:  Neighbourhood Explorations - This View of Density link opens new window

A calculator that interactively compares a number of neighbourhoods in San Fransisco in terms of 17 measures, including density, water use, air pollution, and automobile costs. 

Sierra Club Healthy Growth Calculator link opens new window

Compares a range of U.S. neighbourhood types and densities (in units per acre) against a hypothetical sprawling neighbourhood.

Smart Growth BC Guides and Toolkits link opens new window)

Guides and toolkits on healthy communities, affordable housing, smart growth, and protecting agricultural land (with a British Columbia focus).

Smart Growth Online Resources link opens new window

Links to a wide selection of (mostly U.S.) resources including PowerPoint presentations; radio, television and film; quotes; guidebooks; and toolkits.

Smart Growth on the Ground Case Studies link opens new window

Three case studies of British Columbia smart growth projects.

Smarter Niagara Smart Growth Showcase Tour link opens new window
Pdf presentations of smart growth development in Hamilton, Port Credit, Oakville, Kitchener/Waterloo, and Cambridge. 

Street Sections Studio link opens new window

An online street section drawing tool (in imperial measurements) and international streetcape photo gallery, and street section data base.

Toronto Centre for Active Transportation: Complete Streets by Design link opens new window (PDF document, opens a new window PDF 4.1 MB)

The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation illustrates how six Toronto streets could look and feel if designed as complete streets.

Transport Canada: Active Transportation in Canada link opens new window
A resource tool for transportation planners and related professionals to accommodate, promote and support active transportation.

Urban Land Institute Higher Density Development:  Myth and Fact - Pdfs and PowerPoint Presentations link opens new window
Two U.S. scripted PowerPoint presentations for a suburban audience and an urban audience on increasing density as a desirable way to combat sprawl.

Walkable Communities:  Roadway Design Posters link opens new window

Using U.S. examples, posters of walking, bicycling, traffic calming, transit access, crossings, and pedestrian links.

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