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CplKlinger

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The issue is that despite attempting to social engineer people living in condos in Sherwood Park that is not what the overall market demands. These developments will meet EMRB's required 40 units per developable hectare - which is quite dense, take a drive through Secord to see how dense it actually is.
What cases of social engineering are you referring to? And why do you say there's no overall market demand?

I know that 40 du/nrha (dwelling units per net residential hectare, just for context) is denser that what we generally see there, but it's not aspirational. Going back to Fort Saskatchewan for example, it has a minimum requirement of achieving 35 du/nrha. However, its MDP gives this goals: "The Downtown Core and 99 Avenue Corridor intensifies to 100+ du/nrha to support the vitality of businesses and enhance the liveliness of downtown. Nodes located within Future Urban Areas [the 952 hectares of land annexed on Jan 1, 2020] shall develop at or above 70 du/nrha to support business, services and amenities. Nodes within established and developing areas should intensify to or above 60 du/nrha to support business, services and amenities"

Those are all far more than the density that Strathcona County is aiming for in its Cambrian Crossing MDP. And unlike Cambrian Crossing, most of these apply to areas which are already developed with homes and businesses, along with a few empty lots. The plan calls for Fort Saskatchewan to evolve as it grows, recognizing that big changes in mature neighbourhoods are a natural part of their lifecycles, and that this should be embraced if mature neighbourhoods are to continue attracting new residents.

Just because the minimum standard seems sufficient, doesn't mean that it's the maximimum that can be striven for. Granted, Cambrian Crossing's area structure plan does show one mixed-use node and some medium-density developments, but density targets for them are not specified.
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ChazYEG

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The issue is that despite attempting to social engineer people living in condos in Sherwood Park that is not what the overall market demands. These developments will meet EMRB's required 40 units per developable hectare - which is quite dense, take a drive through Secord to see how dense it actually is.
Hi there. Welcome to the forum.

I believe you mistake the attempts to address a problem, namely the unstoppable and unsustainable sprawl, by social engineering.

I would also like to see you data regarding the demand for condos in Sherwoord Park (or anywhere in the Edmonton Area, for that matter), as there is nothing but anecdotal evidence, so far, and it might lead to some incorrect readings of the current market demands.
 

Oilers99

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Is the overall belief that there should be no single family housing on a go forward basis in Edmonton and its surrounding communities? I am all for density but the uptick nor demand does not seem to be there.

Artificially restricting supply by implementing a greenbelt around the city will not work as that development will then be picked up by places like Leduc and Spruce Grove. Further, restricting the supply would drive up costs to the overall market. This is a good article from about 5 years ago of what happened in Toronto when a greenbelt was introduced:


Somewhat ironically Mattamy is the company that is the article's focus and one of the major players in the Cambrian/Bremner corridor.
 

CplKlinger

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Is the overall belief that there should be no single family housing on a go forward basis in Edmonton and its surrounding communities? I am all for density but the uptick nor demand does not seem to be there.
That's not the argument here; nodes do not encompass entire neighbourhoods. The issue here is that there are are no areas in Cambrian Crossing specifically set aside for more than 40 du/nrha - nobody here is arguing that the entire development should consist of nothing but mixed-use apartments and condos.

Artificially restricting supply by implementing a greenbelt around the city will not work as that development will then be picked up by places like Leduc and Spruce Grove. Further, restricting the supply would drive up costs to the overall market.
Edmonton is already opting against any future annexations actually. Densification is not just an environmental benefit, it is also necessary for municipal finances; suburban neighbourhoods simply cost more in services than cities make back in taxes. Whether Edmonton, Strathcona County, or another municipality spreads out does not change this. Its growth will still include a lot of single family homes going forward, but they will be developed within its existing boundaries.

And I need to emphasize this: I did not say that Cambrian Crossing should not go ahead. What I am saying is that Strathcona County is wrong to use greenfield development as its sole method of expansion, and it is wrong to be so unambitious with its plans for that neighbourhood. Sherwood Park will remain largely as-is, - a car orientated community where the vast majority of residents live in single family homes - and Cambrian Crossing will be more of the same but with a few more multi-unit options.
 

ChazYEG

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Is the overall belief that there should be no single family housing on a go forward basis in Edmonton and its surrounding communities? I am all for density but the uptick nor demand does not seem to be there.

Artificially restricting supply by implementing a greenbelt around the city will not work as that development will then be picked up by places like Leduc and Spruce Grove. Further, restricting the supply would drive up costs to the overall market. This is a good article from about 5 years ago of what happened in Toronto when a greenbelt was introduced:


Somewhat ironically Mattamy is the company that is the article's focus and one of the major players in the Cambrian/Bremner corridor.
The overall belief is that we need to be more careful with approving new single housing developments, especially from a long-term financial sustainability. The way it works, today, is essentially a Ponzi Scheme, which will end up driving cost of living and taxes up, if kept unchecked, not to mention a particular proclivity for terrible commuting times and horrible traffic jams (see LA, Phoenix...).

As for the greenfield, at least in this forum, the general consensus is that it wouldn't work, but other policies, positive incentives for densification, might. Also, there is no space for a price overdrive either the the house or condo market (there's a large supply of houses and the condos are already overpriced).
 

EtoV

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Yeah I don't think anyone here would be advocating for no single family homes, but new subdivisions can certainly be built denser, more sustainably, and with better walkability. Streetcar suburbs were mostly single family homes, but I don't think many on this forum would complain too much about those. My biggest issue with this form of development isn't its density, but the separation of uses that continue to force residents to drive for every single trip. It really doesn't take a lot of extra expense or effort to make sure each resident is within 400m of at least some commercial space, and that pedestrian an cycle paths easily connect even the most low density areas of development to commercial spaces.

Now, obviously the retail landscape has changed, and there isn't the same type of demand there used to be when streetcar suburbs were built. I don't think a continuous "main street" type development is feasible to build now in the 21st century unless you're looking at much higher densities. However, with good urban design and planning, you can locate your medium/high density housing within or near commercial areas and help the commercial to thrive and become hubs for the community.

One of the main reasons that people push back on mixed use development and higher density housing in the suburbs is that it will harm the "character" and quiet feel of the area. But these things can be done while still maintaining the feel of a suburb. In fact I would argue that these hubs and commercial spaces offer far more character and a sense of place than continuous roads of suburban homes with some box stores and strip malls at the edge of the development. Some examples from Surrey:

Commercial in the main Floor of Townhomes, along collector road.
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Commercial along a collector road with townhouses behind and residential above:
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Commercial along collector road with apartments, parking behind, and then SF homes:
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Single storey retail with parking behind, in a single family neighbourhood:
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You can even add housing and walkablish streets to your big box stores. This area has a Petsmart, and Jordans, Golftown, London Drugs, and many more, Facilitated by an internal parking lot with the residents and shops on the periphery:
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thommyjo

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I live in a "suburb", but uts very different from the suburb i grew up in. I'm 1 block from the future LRT. I'm 5 minutes to Jasper Place bus terminal. 2 blocks south is my dentist, barber, pharmacy. 5 blocks north is stony plain and the food and other offerings there. Jasper gates and meadowlark are both 4-8 minutes by bike. I walk to my community league 2 blocks for tennis and hockey and in the summer the rink is an off leash dog park.

Our area is mostly single family homes, with a good amount of duplexes and townhouses being developed as well now. Then lots of those 3 story apartments on 149 & 156.

But I grew up in Riverbend where the closest shopping center was 10+ minutes by bike, and on uncomfortably wide and winding roads. And I had to cross over terwillegar. Or the other area was 23rd Ave and rabbit hill, equally busy intersection, with small sidewalks and massive parking lots to traverse.

I make 60% of my trips without a car now. And the majority of car trips are social....seeing friends or family who live outside the henday.

So we don't all need to be in 10+ story condos. But we need smaller develolments with grid patterns, local shops within resident areas, infastructure for walking and biking, and accessible transit for commuting or longer trips.
 

CplKlinger

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What cases of social engineering are you referring to? And why do you say there's no overall market demand?

I know that 40 du/nrha (dwelling units per net residential hectare, just for context) is denser that what we generally see there, but it's not aspirational. Going back to Fort Saskatchewan for example, it has a minimum requirement of achieving 35 du/nrha. However, its MDP gives this goals: "The Downtown Core and 99 Avenue Corridor intensifies to 100+ du/nrha to support the vitality of businesses and enhance the liveliness of downtown. Nodes located within Future Urban Areas [the 952 hectares of land annexed on Jan 1, 2020] shall develop at or above 70 du/nrha to support business, services and amenities. Nodes within established and developing areas should intensify to or above 60 du/nrha to support business, services and amenities"

Those are all far more than the density that Strathcona County is aiming for in its Cambrian Crossing MDP. And unlike Cambrian Crossing, most of these apply to areas which are already developed with homes and businesses, along with a few empty lots. The plan calls for Fort Saskatchewan to evolve as it grows, recognizing that big changes in mature neighbourhoods are a natural part of their lifecycles, and that this should be embraced if mature neighbourhoods are to continue attracting new residents.

Just because the minimum standard seems sufficient, doesn't mean that it's the maximimum that can be striven for. Granted, Cambrian Crossing's area structure plan does show one mixed-use node and some medium-density developments, but density targets for them are not specified.
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To highlight my point, compare this to the area structure plan for Fort Saskatchewan's neighbourhood of Southfort: A young neighbourhood on its south-east end which has a lot of residents, but is still under development. Fort Saskatchewan's MDP (which I mentioned previously) mandates that nodes in established and developing neighbourhoods (even areas that are already "fully developed" and have no multi-unit housing as of now) must achieve a density level of at least 60 du/nrha. I was incorrect previously, there are one or two areas where the Cambrian Crossing ASP calls for a density of 55-75 du/nrha (which still falls below the 100+ du/nrha target for Fort Saskatchewan's downtown/99th ave corridor).

However, Cambrian Crossing is clearly intended to achieve a lower density level than it should be, despite being greenfield. Note that Southfort has three levels of housing: Low, medium, and high density. It also includes two mixed-use areas. The aforementioned nodes are mostly located in the areas where you see high density developments zoned. The exception is the Dow Centennial Centre; council recently changed the zoning for that area because the owners of two hotels next door wish to convert them into housing. And aside from the high density housing, there are numerous medium density housing zones as well. Meanwhile, medium density is the maximum density form set aside in the Cambrian Crossing ASP. So even at the planning level, Strathcona County is restricting potential developments to a larger extent than Fort Saskatchewan. Despite these housing forms, the majority of the land in Southfort is set aside for single family homes.

So, to summarize, I'm not arguing that single family homes don't have a place in municipalities. Instead, I believe that good planning strikes a balance between the different forms, recognizing that each has different pros and cons, and brings something positive and unique to a community. Fort Saskatchewan, and many other communities in the region, are beginning to recognize this. By setting density roofs, using language in their MDP like "recognition of the primarily low density residential character of this area", and restricting the inclusion of higher-density zones to plans for yet-to-be-developed areas, Strathcona County is showing that it still has a mindset from the 20th century; viewing higher-density developments as a necessary evil that "stands out" from the ideal forms of development, instead of just being one of the ingredients for a flourishing and healthy community.
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Our Fort. Our Future. MDP_00_00.png
 
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Oilers99

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one of the problem with going after such high densities in the suburban context, it can leave sites vacant for very long because no one is willing to take the risk on developing such a high density site away from the core so municipalities must balance on densities with actually having the neighborhoods built out.
 

CplKlinger

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one of the problem with going after such high densities in the suburban context, it can leave sites vacant for very long because no one is willing to take the risk on developing such a high density site away from the core so municipalities must balance on densities with actually having the neighborhoods built out.
This development is split into four phases and slated to take many years. This would have allowed them to go the Blatchford route and start with the lower-hanging fruit, and reserve the higher density stuff for when they have some more critical mass. Remember, this is already designed to be a more compact and walkable neighbourhood, and it even has mixed-use development set aside for one of the later phases. They have all of the ingredients for higher-density development, minus the requirement that any of the multi-unit housing be higher density.
 

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