Toronto's systematic urban expansion provides a case study that illustrates a structure for urban sprawl. Due the the urban regions highly regulated planning process, the structure of “sprawl” is highly legible. This structure can be understood as a set of rules for a game within which private interests play out their desires at the regional scale. In this context, it is possible to see legislative rules, such as zoning, and unwritten economic rules, such as agglomeration economies, intermix. For example, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) shopping malls have evolved as partly planned centres and infrastructural attractors that ground the urban periphery. Unlike the relatively unregulated retail development in the United States, malls in the GTA were not allowed to overlap their retail catchment areas. So while such redundancy has led to the decline and death of certain malls in the States, in Toronto they are thriving locations around which new regional development occurs. Understanding the rules of sprawl in Toronto provides a basis for parsing the logic of such dispersal in other North American cities.
Citation - By: Emma Dunn, Michael Piper, Zoe Renaud Druin