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A new temporary landscape has emerged in Toronto — a direct consequence of the transformational condo boom that is making this city decidedly more vertical.

Condo narrows occur when two condo-construction projects flank both sides of the same street. Protective construction sheds envelop the side walk and spill over into the street, narrowing a thoroughfare’s width. The effect is a tightening of space. Funnelled into a condo-narrows, flows of pedestrian and auto traffic slow as they are constricted through narrow and cordoned off sidewalks and streets.

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The example I’ve photographed is a condo-narrows in its early stages on Charles Street west of Jarvis. The condo construction has yet to emerge from the foundation and rise above the construction sheds, but when it does it will further canyonize the space. As sun light is blocked and shafted, the feeling of passing through will feel more constricting, like entering a deep desert chasm.

A condo-narrows then, is effectively a sign of things to come. When the sidewalks and roads are narrowed by construction sheds flanking both sides, this is a preview of new building forms that will emerge, leaving a  mark of city space that is permanently constricted.

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