An Important Conversation Continues
As Edmonton continues to grow and evolve; our citizens, streets, and businesses are ever-changing. We’re becoming more aware of the way our city is built and more excited about the kind of city we want to become. Great cities don’t just grow, they evolve--Edmonton is no exception to this, and infill development is one of the largest driving factors for this evolution.
Within the last four decades, the population in mature neighbourhoods has steadily declined, by more than 70,000 residents. Today 85% of new homebuyers choose to live in the suburbs, rather than mature neighbourhoods. So, how do we attract homebuyers to these communities?
As a City, we need to create and foster vibrant neighbourhoods. To me, great neighbourhoods are made up of the following qualities: multiple forms of transportation, affordable housing options for all residents and lifecycles, a variety of amenities, a pedestrian-friendly environment, and community spaces where people connect as neighbours.
The Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (MNO) plays a significant role in creating vibrant communities and over the past 15 years has been updated to reflect our City’s current needs. At the February 1 Urban Planning Committee, Administration presented Council with the proposed changes to Mature Neighbourhood Overlay.
Mature Neighbourhood Overlay
An important part of Edmonton’s infill and densification discussion is the MNO. The MNO was passed in 2001, with 24 regulations that aim to ensure new development in mature areas is sensitive to existing development. Addressing the built form of redevelopment and includes items, such as the size of front and back yards, window placement, and driveway locations.
Over the last two years, there has been a significant amount of work completed as part of Edmonton’s infill efforts. This work, which has largely dealt with small scale infill and has set the stage for our next iteration of infill efforts. As the discussion shifts to focus on addressing areas where more diverse and affordable housing opportunities should be clustered. To allow more flexibility for multi-family buildings such as, pre-war areas with taller existing homes, areas near transit nodes and corridors, areas with deteriorating housing stock that would benefit from revitalization, and/or areas with existing clustered ground-oriented multi-family zoning.
Administration will return on September 6 to provide Council with a rough draft in anticipation of Infill 2.0. I recently spoke to the Edmonton Journal about this issue (Infill 2.0). Additionally, Mayor Iveson made a motion to focus on higher density infill, aim us toward the parts of the city that in urgent need of renewal.
As we move into this next phase of infill development for Edmonton, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this topic, and how you would like to see infill in Edmonton moving forward. Please feel free to connect with my at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-496-8132.