A fundamental characteristic of Toronto-region suburban development has been the creation of a distinctive and robust model of planning for greenfield land development, at relatively high densities, with a mix of housing types, and significant continuity of built form. A plan-led system was created with subdivision control as the primary instrument, and zoning used only to lock in the detailed development patterns negotiated between municipalities and developers, the reverse of most US practice. The system became highly path-dependent because it created a stable institutional setting, reduced risks, and generated a powerful new actor, the oligopoly of large housing developers.
Sorensen, Andre & Hess, Paul. (2015). Building suburbs, Toronto-style: Land development regimes, institutions, critical junctures and path dependence. Town Planning Review. 86. 411-436. 10.3828/tpr.2015.26.