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2006 02 17
Part Time Urbanites
Some new condo buildings are not just selling apartments, but pied-a-terres. They're the smaller units—less than 600 s.f. Read the full-page ads about Stinson’s new tower and you’ll see, it’s being billed as a place to stay when you come to town. Maybe condo marketers are using the French phrase since it sounds better than teeny jr. one bedroom. But if these small flats are actually being used as city crash pads by people whose main residence is elsewhere, that indicates a significant shift.

Instead of living in town full time (minus summer jaunts to the cottage), these new part time residents presumably come to town for meetings, socializing and recreation. I know several people who have moved their main residence to the country and keep a city apartment which is associated with earning a living. Now that one can work remotely, workers don’t have to wait until retirement to move out of town. Spatially, it’s often a bargain, you get a better bigger house outside the city limits and keep a small office/apartment in the city.

There have always been commuters, of course, and they’ve made their impact--by lowering the tax base of the cities and creating traffic jams among others. But what impact will these new pied-a-terre dwellers make? How will they affect the life and shape of the city? Unlike commuters, they will pay property tax to enjoy Toronto, but will they be vested in decisions about the City? Will they feel like resident-citizens or like expats who feel their vote really matters more in the town where they keep the bigger house? How might this affect the city?
[email this story] Posted by Amy Cross on 02/17 at 06:42 PM

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