- Sep 22, 2015
- Reaction score
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Edmonton is losing money on every suburb it builds and won’t solve the housing affordability problem for its residents either until it embraces a different style of neighbourhood, housing expert Avi Friedman says.
“We’re repeating the same prototype for half a century,” said Friedman, a popular speaker and McGill University professor who is speaking at the St. Albert Housing Society’s annual fundraising breakfast Tuesday.
Edmonton currently counts on increasing its industrial base to offset residential taxes because each new suburb adds more expense that it yields in taxes. That only changes when you build neighbourhoods at a higher density, Friedman said. A city needs at least the density that comes from predominantly townhouses, low apartment buildings and narrow roads to make it pay.
Those neighbourhoods can also be easy to walk and support efficient, well-used transit.
But most North American cities are resistant to major change. “When I talk to officials in Canada they say, ‘Hmm, how will the fire truck arrive? How will the ambulance arrive?'” Friedman said. “I don’t think in Finland or Denmark they place citizens at risk at all (when they design differently). They simply figure it out. … In my opinion, we need to start to think outside the box.”