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2005 06 23
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In an article that appeared in the Toronto Star’s “Ideas” section last March, Laurie Monsebraaten quoted retired provincial financial expert, and expert on urban planning issues, John Stillich, as saying: “People don’t want to raise their families in condos. And they are right”. The Star quotes an often heard truism, but fails to examine its validity, and so helps perpetuate an unfortunate strain in Toronto’s urban culture – “condophobia”, and more specifically the idea that only the poor raise their children in apartments.

First, it is patently untrue that people don’t want to raise their families in condos. A growing number of purchasers of condos have children. Condo market statisticians cite the following anecdotal evidence: families who have very young children and are seeking a condo focus on the downtown condos, whereas condo-seeking families with walking-age children tend to head out to the outlying parts of the city e.g. North York City Centre, Scarborough City Centre, and Etobicoke waterfront, because they believe that good schools and other child-friendly social infrastructure are lacking downtown. Perceptions about social Infrastructure, not about housing type, are the issue to these families.

Second, even if people did uniformly feel that they didn’t want to raise their families in condos, one would have to ask why they would be right in doing so. Is condo living bad for a child’s health? Are children who grow up in condos somehow deprived of key life experiences that children who grow up in houses enjoy? Of course not; growing up in a condo may be different from growing up in a house, but each has its advantages and disadvantages, none of which are central to the development of a healthy person.
[email this story] Posted by Lewis Poplak on 06/23 at 04:08 PM

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