Brent Toderian has lead and actively engaged in numerous initiatives related to housing, homelessness, social policy, urban agriculture, community capacity-building, social inclusion and community-based economic development, in Vancouver, Calgary and various municipalities across Ontario.
In Vancouver, Brent led numerous planning strategies and initiatives in the Downtown East-side, one of Canada’s most troubled and challenging communities. He created the city-wide Laneway Housing Initiative which has already yielded over 500 approved rental houses (including the laneway house pictured above); re-tooled the secondary suite and basement rules to achieve many more legal secondary suites and allow lock-off suites in new apartments; co-created incentive programs for new rental buildings and protection policies for existing affordable rental stock; dramatically expanded opportunities for community gardens + farmers markets while broadening policies on food security and access; and co-negotiated community leadership and participation by low-income and marginalized populations in complex planning exercises. He conducted detailed negotiations with private developers on the provision of affordable housing, child-care, community and social facilities and amenities, and heritage retention in all rezoning applications and master plans.
In Calgary, Brent initiated the first social policy for the Centre City, through the “Caring Centre City” theme in the award-winning Centre City Plan. This ultimately led to the creation of the Centre City Social Plan, which he actively participated in the conceptualization and development of.
In Brent’s many downtown revitalization plans in Ontario and the NWT, social issues of First Nations culture and community; housing diversity and affordability; food access; community capacity and training; poverty; homelessness; mental health and drug addiction, SRO’s and gentrification were often key issues.