Key Living



Key Living ( is creating a totally new form of home ownership. For as little as a $25,000 investment, owner-residents will have access to high quality units in new buildings in Toronto. Key Living aims increase accessibility to home ownership for millennials, new Canadians and others by having institutional investors participate in ownership alongside owner-residents. The firm has agreements in place to take control of 3300 newly built units valued at over $2.8 billion over the next 6 years.

Unlike traditional condo developments, Key Living's strategy is to take a long-term interest in the properties in order to optimize construction decisions and enable the deployment of sustainable technologies. In addition, a significant part of the business model is to utilize technology to increase the community experience for owner-residents to make tower living feel like home. By combining these features, it is believed that the shared value created by Key Living and owner-residents will significantly increase the desirability of Key Living communities.

Project Description

Our project idea is the design of a community ecosystem that includes a mixture of technology, physical events, activities and partnerships. This ecosystem would ideally enhance the residential experience so residents feel more connected to their neighbours and the surrounding community. Through this multi-disciplinary project, students would:

  • Engage in primary and secondary research to better understand what community means in the context of multi-unit residential buildings.
  • Develop a multi-faceted measure of community vitality that can be implemented at the Key project/building level.
  • Explore how technology can assist in melding the horizontal community or neighbourhood streetscape feel with the tower living experience.
  • Develop design concepts and prototypes of working community ecosystems.
worm's-eye view of skyscraper


In this project, the client expects the students to design the following: 

In this multi-disciplinary urban design project, the client expects the team to:

Identify important metrics for success in developing a sense of community among potential owner-residents. How might these metrics be measured and evaluated? We are most interested in creating a measure of community vitality that includes demographic indicators (like those developed for through the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force); measures of community engagement through events or community interactions; and short owner-resident surveys.

  • Determine the key considerations in designing a successful community ecosystem. These may range from know your neighbour activities (BBQs, interest groups, etc.) to facility interactions (maintenance activities, amenities, public area design, etc.) to service and merchant interactions (local discounts, pet walking, cleaning, etc.) to the development of a sharing economy (tool sharing, music/language lessons, etc.). Ensure that the role and impact of privacy and privacy choices are incorporated in community ecosystem design considerations.
  •  Engage existing and potential stakeholders (Key Living personnel, Potential owner-residents, local business and community organizations to identify components of a sustainable community ecosystem.
  • Develop a schematic outline of an owner-resident app and other technological aids that will enable stakeholders (owner-residents, Key Living, service providers, merchants) to interact successfully within the community. How would the app work? What features should it include? How would other technologies be used to communicate and coordinate the ecosystem?