I didn't find any thread on this subject that keeps cropping up in the Environment forumn, and we don't have an urbanism/town planning etc board. Quoting a bit of a conversation on glass condos here:
Thread drift begins (my fault) on the "comfort food" thread, because comfort food leads to talk of what we are doing:
lagatta: I'm listening to CBC news about the "glass high-rises" that are shodilly built and have no serious insulation and how they will become slummy in 10 or 15 years. Fortunately not too many of those here; people wouldn't want to live in a building that isn't masonry.
sparqui: Are those glass high rises the ones with self-contained ventilation (no windows that open)? There are a couple of downtown high rises that have been upgraded to all glass facades being rented as luxury units.
antonia: Those glass highrises are all they seem to be building nowadays here. No wonder the windows go flying out. The building I bought into is a solid stolid slab of concrete and brick. No wonder architecturally but that's okay by me.
The radio show was probably referring to all the towers being build in the King-Bathurst-Spadina area. 30+ stories, 400 sf "lofts," great for first time singles. But it really is A Clockwork Orange slum in the making.
I (lagatta) continue: I'd like to find more about these things, beyond the CBC radio report. spacing.ca and its progeny (such as spacingmontreal, spacingottawa, spacingatlantic etc - I think there is also a spacingvancouver now, but will have to check - dunno about Prairie cities and communities, or Northern ones) often have good visual reports on urban planning, design and community issues.
A guy I know in Toronto who has worked in the building trades says a lot of those condo projects, despite the hefty price tags, are very shoddily built, cutting all kinds of corners. The very design (so much glass which is little protection against either heat or cold) does seem problematic as well.
Very tall residential buildings are problematic as well, from an environmental as well as a safety standpoint. While sprawl is an environmental disaster not only because of car dependency but also due to the high cost of public infrastructure (electricity, sewers, roads etc) and the waste of valuable farmland (Canada is huge, but the good farmland is scarce, and of course that is where most cities have grown up) extremely tall buildings are also very energy intensive due to the need to get water up to the top levels and evacuate waste water, the fact that practically everyone will use the lifts all the time and many other factors. They also seem problematic in terms of evacuation during fires and other disasters, especially when people are sleeping.
Here in Mtl we have height limits so as not to obscure the view of our so-called Mountain, and most arrondissements also have more severe height limits for harmony, and while there has been a condo boomlet in recent years, most have been fairly lowrise blocks or even buildings not higher or larger overall than past rows of triplexes, the generic Montréal housing form.
Ottawa has similar limits in respect to the Parliament buildings.
In Toronto along the lakeshore, the very high condos extend as far west as Etobicoke at least, eliminating almost all of the old motels (of dodgy repute in recent decades)...