As Canada struggles to close the gap between the number of homes needed and the number built, its communities are faced with two options to increase housing supply: spreading outward, by adding new neighbourhoods at the urban fringe, or becoming more dense, by allowing more homes to be built within existing neighbourhoods—a process called “intensification”.
A majority (54.2%) of the growth in Canada’s housing stock between 2016 and 2021 occurred in existing neighbourhoods, rather than on undeveloped land; intensification is a major driver of growth in Canada’s housing stock.
A little more than half of this intensification (50.9%) occurred in the fastest-growing 5% of urban census tracts, suggesting a highly uneven pattern of growth in the housing stock.

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