Large slab apartment buildings, frequently set in groups on open lawns at major intersections or beside highways represent the housing setting for one in five Canadians. The big slabs are especially suburban, different from their owner-occupied slicker-looking, glass-clad condominium cousins. The slabs could use some gussying up, some attention to their aesthetics and energy efficiency. Many could become less isolated through some cleverness in the use of the property around them.
Slab building boomed between the mid 1950s and late 1970s – then we kind of just left the slabs as is. They house hundreds of thousands in the Toronto area alone and now the slabs are aging. Originally the slab high rise represented a kind of budget approach to suburban living, they still do, but the owners, residents and regulators of these buildings are probably going to have to sort out a more conscious future for these properties. Like them, love them, ignore them some more, either way the big residential suburban high rises represent a substantial investment in housing and are going to be with us for many years. What will they be like and who will live there when they are a hundred years old?
In this piece from the Globe & Mail international affairs writer Doug Saunders looks at some of the numbers and the sociology of suburban high rises.
Saunders: We’re a nation of suburban apartment-dwellers, but afraid to admit it
Will the cities of the future be filled with vertical slums?
Fast Company visits an apartment tower abandoned during construction and now occupied by squatters
image: Flemingdon Park, Toronto by SimonP via Wikimedia Commons