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  • Writer's picturedowntownjason

You complete my street

Spreading the infill love with Valentine's Day cards

Share the love for infill development this Valentine’s Day! As a voluntary side project, Jennifer Becker and I, both planning staff from the City of Edmonton's Development and Zoning Services branch, created these custom Valentine’s Day cards for you, your loved ones, or the impassioned ㅡ and maybe nerdy ㅡ city builders in your life to enjoy and gush over.

We designed these cards as an alternative and fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We’re inspired by the ideas that people have for their city and thought we could enshrine this passion through playful, colourful imagery. We thought Valentine’s Day cards would be a positive way to shine a light on housing and its importance.

Communication and awareness initiatives have proven to be quite successful in advancing a robust and meaningful conversation around the need for infill in the city. From pop-up engagement sessions at local farmers’ markets to interactive presentations with youth through City Hall School, the City of Edmonton’s planning staff have and continue to engage with residents, public institutions, businesses, and the community-at-large around the topic of infill.

It’s because in Edmonton, infill has become a large priority and focus for Council, administration, and residents. It represents an opportunity to drive and nurture healthy, complete communities ㅡ by supporting continued population growth, providing a diversity of housing choice, reducing our ecological footprint, and maximizing existing infrastructure investments and capacity. When we welcome more homes and more people, we are also welcoming neighbourhood vibrancy, local economic growth, and inclusion.

A national issue, infill is being addressed by many municipalities, with an assortment and variety of approaches. In 2014, infill was greatly enabled by the City of Edmonton’s inaugural Infill Roadmap (2014-2016), which responded to the Municipal Development Plan’s policy direction of supporting 25% of new housing starts in the core and mature neighbourhoods of the city.

More recently, through a transparent, iterative, and collaborative community and stakeholder engagement process, the City of Edmonton developed its Infill Roadmap 2018. Along with complementary technical reports, the Infill Roadmap 2018 sets out 25 ambitious actions to address infill challenges. Some of these actions cover challenging topics, like:

  • Identifying the infrastructure investments needed in older neighbourhoods to support infill, taking into consideration the capacity and levels of service for stormwater, sewer, water, electrical and transportation infrastructure

  • Identifying and sharing the optimal medium and high scale infill development locations, based on evidence and neighbourhood level indicators

  • Improving opportunities for residents to participate more effectively in the planning and development process

  • Reducing barriers to infill, such as parking requirements and other zoning barriers

  • Improving housing affordability in older neighbourhoods

  • Developing an equitable, transparent, and predictable system to share the costs of required infrastructure upgrades and renewal for infill projects

Earlier this year, City Council approved regulatory changes, allowing semi-detached and duplex housing to develop as-of-right in RF1 (Single Detached Residential Zone) and RF2 (Low Density Infill Zone) zones, thereby achieving Action 21 in the Infill Roadmap 2018.

As many cities in Canadian and North American cities begin to contemplate how to support infill, Edmonton’s experience in advancing its Infill Roadmaps and respective actions are serving as critical precedents for other municipalities and public-sector leadership.

On this Valentine’s Day, share these cards with your neighbours and with your loved ones ㅡ to show support for the positive and meaningful work being done to support vibrant, inclusive communities that welcome more homes and more people to the city.

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