School of Cities / Event

City Visions | Condoland: The Planning, Development, and Design of Toronto’s CityPlace

Join us for the release of the new book Condoland: The Planning, Design, and Development of Toronto’s CityPlace, with a discussion by co-author James White and student discussant Kathia Johnson! This talk was made possible through a partnership with Spacing magazine.


About the book

Condoland: The Planning, Design, and Development of Toronto’s CityPlace

Condoland casts CityPlace—a massive residential development of more than thirty condominium towers just outside Toronto’s downtown core—as a microcosm of twenty-first-century urban intensification that has transformed the city skyline beyond all recognition.

Built almost entirely by a single private developer, this immense neighbourhood took decades to plan, design, and develop, but the result lacks a sense of place and is not widely accessible to those who need homes: only a small number of its 13,000 units constitute affordable housing, and public amenities are limited. James T. White and John Punter journey through the forty-year development of Toronto’s largest residential megaproject, focusing on its urban design and architectural evolution. They also delve into the background, summarizing the tools used to shape Toronto’s built environment, and critically explore the underlying political economy of planning and real estate development in the city.

Using detailed field studies, interviews, archival research, and nearly two hundred illustrations, they reveal an alarmingly flexible approach to planning and design that is acquiescent to the demands of a rapacious development industry. Condoland raises key questions about the sustainability and long-term resilience of city planning.

Purchase the book here


About the Speakers

James White is Professor of Planning and Urban Design in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. He studied at Cardiff University before completing his doctoral studies in Planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. James joined the University of Glasgow in 2012. James teaches urban design and planning to post-graduate students of City Planning, Real Estate Development and Housing. He is Deputy Director of the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence where he heads up the Place theme. James is interested in the theory and application of design governance in the context of sustainable urban development. His research focuses is on the tools and mechanisms that planners use to shape the built environment and enhance the design quality of housing and neighbourhoods. He is especially interested in urban design and high-rise residential development in both the UK and Canada. James is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Chartered Town Planner and a Member of the Urban Design Group. “Condoland” is his first book.

Kathia Johnson is passionate about the built environment and its ability to support sustainable cities. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Planning at the University of Toronto and focusing her research on the intersection of Critical Disability and the Black experience in navigating cities under systems of ableism. As a professional working in the Design and Architecture industry, she has worked on multiple real estate developments shaping the physical landscape of Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe. This degree is supporting her pivot into social purpose real estate as she works to address the need for more accessible spaces that foster inclusion.



6:30-6:35 pm – Introductions

6:35 – 7:15 pm – Presentation

7:15-7:30 pm – Discussion and Q&A


About Spacing

Spacing is one of the most unique magazines on Canadian newsstands. The magazine uncovers the joys, obstacles and politics of Canada’s big cities by cutting through the cynicism that often pervades any discussion about urban issues. Spacing pushes readers to think critically about how they can shape the public spaces that surround their everyday lives.

Spacing was launched in the fall of 2003 by a group of young journalists and public space advocates who felt that Toronto needed a publication that would bring together a number of key urban issues that were not being discussed by the local media. Topics like public transit, urban design, public art, community planning, and sustainable development were brought together under one umbrella to create a forum for residents and the urban curious to discuss these pressing topics.

Spacing is published four times a year and can be bought on newsstands or delivered directly to your home. Four Toronto-centric issues are published each year. The magazine has been named Canadian Small Magazine of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2015. In 2010, the editors received the prestigious Jane Jacobs Prize from the Maytree Foundation and Ideas That Matter. Spacing is also the publisher of 10 books.


About The School of Cities

School of Cities leverages urban data and lived experience to improve policy and decision-making, and collaborates with communities to make cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just.



*In-person event only


The School of Cities is committed to making its programs accessible to persons with disabilities. If you need an accommodation to participate in this event, please write to ‘schoolofcities (at)’ at least 48 hours prior to the program with information regarding the requested accommodation.