A city planning experience that’s fast, transparent, and easy to follow. Not just for people applying for permits, but for the City of Toronto’s planning staff as well.
Planning takes forever in the City, and it’s not the fault of the planning department. They’re dealing with a fractured system, trying to wrangle a number of departments. Add high-turnover and few resources, and it’s surprising anything can get done at all.
If one planner leaves or switches projects, it becomes difficult to pick up where they left off. The new one has to get up to speed on several projects at once, drawing from largely unstructured data.
The process leaves developers in the dark, unsure of what exactly is happening. Uncertain timelines result in project risk, and unnecessary expenses. Those expenses are transferred to end users, ultimately inflating the cost of housing.
The problem is so bad that some major developers are trying to move away from Toronto. Consequently, the City has reduced competition, and now has a more oligopolistic market. Let’s fix it.
Embracing standardization so planners can be more flexible and creative when needed. We plan to create a digital portal that allows planners to better track phases in a transparent way. The City can see if plans tick all the boxes while, highlighting issues in the proposals. It should be as easy as opening a file and picking up where the last person left off.
At the same time, the portal will also provide phases and bottleneck data to the public. This will help the City determine where the issues are so we can target the solutions they need. The public facing aspect will also help future submissions address common issues. We can’t solve the problem overnight, but we can find out what the most pressing issues are and solve those as quickly as possible.
Best of all? Let’s open source this portal so we can all benefit from the improved process, and learn from each other.