Suburbs that don't Suck – Streetcar Suburbs (Riverdale, Toronto)

Published on February 9, 2024

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Car-dependent suburbs suck. But that doesn’t mean that all suburbs suck. It is possible to build suburbs that don’t suck, and the US and Canada used to design great suburbs all the time. But even though these pre-war suburbs are loved by many people, and in huge demand, they’re illegal to build today.

Special thanks to @DaveLikesBikes for most of the Riverdale footage used in this video:

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References and Image Credits

High North Cannabis Testing

Suburban Space and the City of Rome: Liminality Fluidity and Differentiation

Improving Modern Suburbs with lessons learnt from an Old NJ Town
Alan Fisher – The Armchair Urbanist

Pacific Electric Railway cars piled atop one another at junkyard on Terminal Island, Calif., 1956
By Los Angeles Times –, Public Domain,

Riverdale Population Density

Other Population Density Figures from:

Toronto / E01 Region Housing Prices from MLS (not publicly available):

How Wide Should a Neighborhood Street Be? – Part 1

How Wide Should a Neighborhood Street Be? – Part 1

On-street parking: good or bad?
Urban Kchoze

NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
Lane Width

Lane Width

London, Ontario Zoning Map

What If We Rated Schools by Walkability?

Highschool Walkscore

Journal of Environmental Psychology

Do Minimum-Lot-Size Regulations Limit Housing Supply in Texas?

Minimum-Lot-Size Regulations Mean Less Housing

Toronto’s two front doors issue pits neighbourhood character against renters’ dignity, expert says
Toronto Star

Setbacks, Suburbs and the American Front Lawn

Parking demand and zoning requirements for suburban multifamily housing

Scottsdale, AZ Zoning

Tustin, CA Zoning


0:00 Intro
0:05 Car-dependent suburbs suck
1:17 Suburbs are not the problem
2:15 Suburbs that don’t suck are possible
3:20 Introduction to “Streetcar Suburbs”
4:05 About Riverdale
4:24 Why Riverdale is great
5:17 Walkability & schools of Riverdale
6:05 Shopping & Groceries
7:24 Storing your ugly metal boxes
7:47 Population density
8:24 High demand & housing prices
9:46 You can’t build it: streets
11:07 You can’t build it: zoning
11:46 You can’t build it: schools
12:20 You can’t build it: housing
13:00 You can’t build it: lots & setbacks
14:23 You can’t build it: parking
14:40 Conclusion & summary
16:16 Patreon shout-out
16:28 Outro

#suburbs #streetcarsuburbs #urbanplanning #riverdale

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