Edmonton is a place that is not typically known for its groundbreaking architecture. When people think of our city, they often associate it with hockey, oil, or even just the cold weather. But a popular modern building trend has begun to change that reputation, and many residents and visitors are starting to take notice of our interesting and environmentally friendly homes.
Residents of the city and local builders have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of residential infill housing, which is the development of new housing in established neighbourhoods. This may include secondary suites, garage suites, duplexes, semi-detached and detached houses, row houses and apartments.
Infill homes have revitalized the downtown core neighbourhoods, and helped create a walkable, livable city centre. More and more, neighbourhoods across the country are using infill as a strategy to draw people and businesses back into the heart of the community. Infill can improve transportation systems, preserve the environment, and rejuvenate communities.
Finally, infill has the distinctive potential to improve overall public health. With proper planning and foresight, builders and developers can use infill to help make communities healthier.
Here are some of the critical ways in which infill is improving our city:
Access to Transportation
Infill development is a preferred urban growth strategy primarily because it reduces the amount and distance that people travel in their cars. It can also provide better access to public transit, thereby encouraging walking, biking, and the use of buses and trains. Reducing how far and how often people need to drive also reduces vehicle emissions, so less driving means less air pollution; in turn, it helps everyone breathe easier.
Better Air Quality
Infill projects that promote active transportation and public transit use can help improve regional air quality, but new infill developments can also result in residents locating near existing sources of pollution, exposing them to poor air quality. To address these negative health risks, public agencies can pursue policies that require site-specific analyses of pollution patterns and impose context-sensitive mitigation measures.
Proximity to Crucial Services
One of the potential health benefits of infill development is that it can increase access to health-promoting services and daily needs. Increasing the mix and density of uses within walking distance of homes and workplaces are both important strategies for creating complete neighbourhoods. Dense, mixed-use neighbourhoods should include development that allows people to meet their everyday needs.
Affordable High Quality Housing
Many researchers consider quality housing one of the fundamental building blocks for individual and community health. Lack of access to affordable housing means less household income for things that maintain and support health, like health care, food, and transportation, so it’s critical that communities plan for infill in a way that strategically incorporates quality, affordable housing.
What are your thoughts on the benefits of infill homes?
Would you rather live locally within central Edmonton?
Tell us why.