Mid-Rise: The Future Of Urban Development


As Ontario’s population continues to balloon, the province – along with developers – need to address the increased demand for housing, while also developing strategies to protect our greenbelt and farmland. The key is to work towards increasing population density in urban areas, with a creative blend of mixed use residential. This is something I’ve written about in the past. This need to intensify along major transit routes, and in pivotal areas of the city, is beginning to inevitably make way for an increase in the development of mid-rise buildings.

Mid-rise buildings offer an amazing number of benefits. For starters, they bring a neighbourhood to life by offering new retail and culinary options/opportunities on the street level. Offering shops and necessary amenities allows residents to become much less dependent upon vehicles, as does door-front access to transit. In contrast to many high-rises in the city, mid-rise buildings have family-sized living spaces, which make them attractive to families who may not be able to afford a detached, multi-room home in the city. Then there’s the sheer benefit of human scaled buildings that allow the sun to shine on the sidewalk – and the height of the buildings to comfortably complement the width of the street; however, the widespread embrace of mid-rise by builders in the GTA is not without challenges.

Key obstacles include: the cost of land, the lengthy – and expensive – development approval that closely mirrors that of high rises, and concerns from single-family residential homeowners. Some homeowners feel that the future of small local shops will be jeopardized, and that there may be a potential loss of privacy and sunlight as mid-rise buildings spring up next to their homes.

It is clear though, something needs to be done in order for the GTA to meet the goals set-out in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which sets intensification targets for urban growth centres and requires a minimum density to be achieved by 2031. Mid-rise buildings offer a viable solution to the population growth, while adding economic benefits and maintaining the charm of Toronto’s urban aesthetic.

Creating Effective Ads

I was asked to speak at the advertising seminar for the OHBA Annual Conference in Collingwood. Posted here is an excerpt of my presentation on creating effective ads.

Advertising That Works

Five Principles of Building an Effective Ad

Whether you’re promoting the hottest new housing development or a revolutionary toothpaste, you need to know what you’re doing and take the time to think through your creative. To achieve effective results, any marketing communications effort should follow these five fundamental principles:

1. Attract Attention

Your ad is competing for your customers’ attention – not only with other ads but with the many distractions of a busy life. Every ad you create should make your customers want to stop and pay attention. This can be accomplished with a clever headline and a unique image.

The headline may be the most important part of the ad. If it’s catchy and appealing, you’ll hook your customers and draw them further into your message. A striking or unusual image is equally important, and works to capture your customers’ interest.

2. Appeal to Your Audience

You need to clearly identify the audience for your ad then make sure your message appeals to them. This message should address the audience’s interests or announce relevant news. Most importantly, it should explain how they will benefit from your product or service, for example, how ABC Product will make your skin look years younger. This creates self-interest, or a personal advantage for the customer as a result of product use. Note that the benefits, not the features, appeal most directly to your audience.

3. Communicate Your Advantage

According to adman Morris Hite, “really great advertising comes right out of the product and says something about the product that no one else can say.” Your ad should communicate your company’s unique advantage over the competition, detailing why customers should favour your product or service. Your goal here is to differentiate yourself by demonstrating distinct characteristics, such as increased quality of life, better location or superior craftsmanship.

4. Prove Your Advantage

Once you’ve identified your advantage, your ad should prove it. The most convincing way to demonstrate your point is through testimonials, statistics and other concrete measurables. This assures potential customers that they will receive the promised benefit as a result of their relationship with your company.

5. Motivate Your Audience to Action

Finally, your ad should motivate your audience to take action. This is usually accomplished by making a special offer such as a discount, bonus, free trial or exceptional event. For example, you might invite them to an exclusive pre-opening engagement or offer an irresistible limited-time offer. This “call to action” is the essential conclusion to any ad and should never be overlooked.

Every marketing communication you produce needs to pull your customers through each of these five stages to the inevitable conclusion of engaging with your product or service. You can create results-driven advertisements that make the most of your marketing opportunities by following these steps.

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