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  #61  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:07 PM
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Originally Posted by You Need A Thneed View Post
The only reason why the newest communities only have single family houses yet, is that the multi family construction hasn't started yet.

Really, the mostly developed communties are ones that were approved before the land use changes. The communities that are affected by the new land use changes have really only started developing, and what is started,is really only the single family parts. Mahogany, Skyview Ranch, Sage Hill, Seton etc are planned to have density like has not been seen in a new community in Calgary for quite some time. Once those communties are developed out, then we can judge them.
But why do we need to do this to the new communities and forget about the existing ones in the inner city? We need to up the density of the inner city as well. I see this happening soon to the ones that haven't started.

Kitsilano in vancouver has undergone an amazing transformation in the last 10 years.
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  #62  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:34 PM
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But why do we need to do this to the new communities and forget about the existing ones in the inner city? We need to up the density of the inner city as well. I see this happening soon to the ones that haven't started.

Kitsilano in vancouver has undergone an amazing transformation in the last 10 years.
We don't need to forget about the existing communties. However, new communities will develop too, and with only the early indication that we have, it seems that they are developing better than before, and in fact, aren't really sprawl.

Smart Growth everywhere is where we should be aiming for.
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  #63  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:37 PM
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Originally Posted by kw5150 View Post
Kitsilano in vancouver has undergone an amazing transformation in the last 10 years.
Kits? How so?

I'd say it is one of the least changed neighbourhoods in central Vancouver over the past 10 years.

SE false creek/Mt Pleasant on the other hand...
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  #64  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:45 PM
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^ He must be referring to the Broadway-Arbutus area. It's not technically Kits but I used to refer to it as that when I was alot younger. Anyway the area has changed drastically and become very urban in the last 15 years with little fanfare.
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  #65  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 8:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LeftCoaster View Post
Kits? How so?
There have been many dramatic changes:

-new specialty yoga varieties.
-Gordon Campbell constituency office replaced by Christy Clark constituency office.
-the peasant bread guy moved from Broadway to 4th.
-99 increasingly annoying.
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  #66  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 9:18 PM
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Its a big deal to me and others that care about the sustainability of a city. There is a tipping point to where a city can really go sideways, and it is difficult to revive some cities after that. Density is key.
Oh okay, in that case we agree!
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  #67  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 9:22 PM
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^ He must be referring to the Broadway-Arbutus area. It's not technically Kits but I used to refer to it as that when I was alot younger. Anyway the area has changed drastically and become very urban in the last 15 years with little fanfare.
Yes, wrong area......I love the arbutus area. Very well done. I rented a condo in there for 4 months and loved it.
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  #68  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 9:26 PM
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I find this thread title misleading

The terms "sprawl" and "suburbs" get thrown around here so frivolously they've lost all meaning

Growth in suburbs ≠ sprawl
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  #69  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2012, 9:57 PM
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I'll give a little bit of leeway for the fact that the multifamily in some communities hasn't started yet, but I fail to see how a handful of condos wedged into a single phase make the rest of the community any less deplorable. Yes, the density will go up overall, but the design is still terrible. Even Walden, which I like a lot more than most new communities (it already has more condos and semi-detached homes in its first few phases than many mature communities) has an awful layout.

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Growth in suburbs ≠ sprawl
Suburban growth isn't necessarily sprawly but almost universally is anyways.
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  #70  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2012, 2:11 AM
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It's not really a suburban thing, it's more of a North American attitude problem. I live in a townhouse complex, which is fairly dense with people in much closer proximity to each other than they would be out in Herp Park. After 2 years I know an equal number of people: my neighbour on one side, and a classmate who also lives in the complex. Most people (even students- who make up about 1/3 of the complex's population) live their entire lives inside their units. Reaching out to them is a waste of time because you're usually met with a cold rebuke.

The same thing happened to my old neighbourhood in North York. I noticed that as a lot of the older (usually Jewish) owners moved out, the newer owners made every effort to avoid interaction with others. At first I was tempted to treat it as a cultural issue (they were mostly from Hong Kong), but I think it has more to do with the fact that people don't have established roots in a community and thus don't really care for the place or the existing residents. A friend of mine who lives near Mortimer and Woodbine in East York is beginning to complain about the same thing- as the place gets "yuppified", the newer folks are much less inclined to interact with the people already there.
Good... I'm not the only one who has noticed this.

In the Westboro area of Ottawa, we get infill in the form of massive semi-detached houses (ea 2500+ sq.ft.) replacing tiny old cottages and bungalows on 50' lots. Many of these infill semis 'feature' large garages and "ground floor" entrances a full flight of stairs above the street. It's like a physical manifestation to the same non-neighbourly attitude and helps facilitate such attitudes.
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  #71  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 4:21 AM
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This video embodies much of what this thread is about; so, perfect -






The video is at first glance a somewhat child-like oversimplification, but is produced in such a way that the intended audience will find accessible. It's also not so much just about climate change as about all that's wrong with suburban sprawl. Beyond the cartooned and Sim City-like graphics are many well thought out principles which most forummers here normally embrace as blatantly obvious, but average people aren't aware of or don't care about. If nothing more than a reminder of the indisputable status quo, it's also gratifiably entertaining.

Are there any glaringly obvious complications they have left out?

Last edited by Architype; Mar 26, 2012 at 7:07 AM.
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  #72  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 9:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Boris2k7 View Post
I'll give a little bit of leeway for the fact that the multifamily in some communities hasn't started yet, but I fail to see how a handful of condos wedged into a single phase make the rest of the community any less deplorable. Yes, the density will go up overall, but the design is still terrible. Even Walden, which I like a lot more than most new communities (it already has more condos and semi-detached homes in its first few phases than many mature communities) has an awful layout.

Suburban growth isn't necessarily sprawly but almost universally is anyways.
Some of new suburban growth in Saskatoon has high density than older more establish subdivisions. There is a real move towards a mix of multi-family, and single family. In comparison to what was being built 15 years ago there is even a focus on central squares with mixed use (commercial/residential).

Willowgrove is one example: http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/...s/default.aspx

Evergreen is another example: http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/...Evergreen.aspx

Having the city as the developer of the community may provide a more balanced focus for how the community is laid out. I think they should be doing more around the concept of an urban village but it is an improvement from what was happening in years past.
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  #73  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by casper View Post
Some of new suburban growth in Saskatoon has high density than older more establish subdivisions. There is a real move towards a mix of multi-family, and single family. In comparison to what was being built 15 years ago there is even a focus on central squares with mixed use (commercial/residential).

Willowgrove is one example: http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/...s/default.aspx

Evergreen is another example: http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/...Evergreen.aspx

Having the city as the developer of the community may provide a more balanced focus for how the community is laid out. I think they should be doing more around the concept of an urban village but it is an improvement from what was happening in years past.
Improving neighbourhood design within new greenfield developments is an important step to creating more liveable cities. That being said, if we are accommodating 85% of all new growth in the form of greenfield developments, then we are failing no matter how contemporary these new greenfield developments are (with respect to design). We need a significant shift with respect to where we are focussing growth within our cities. How many of our mayors are going off about infrastructure deficit yet are also major proponents of further municipal expansion. Hello!? You are saying we don't have enough money to maintain the infrastructure capacity that we do have - yet you want to add to that stock?!

Unfortunately I don't see things getting better in our cities until we have a strong mandate or push from the provincial government. I think Ontario and BC are miles ahead than Canada's other provinces. The Places to Grow Act is doing some amazing things is Southern Ontario, why don't we introduce similar policy in other parts of Canada?
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  #74  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 2:50 AM
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How many of our mayors are going off about infrastructure deficit yet are also major proponents of further municipal expansion. Hello!? You are saying we don't have enough money to maintain the infrastructure capacity that we do have - yet you want to add to that stock?!

Unfortunately I don't see things getting better in our cities until we have a strong mandate or push from the provincial government. I think Ontario and BC are miles ahead than Canada's other provinces. The Places to Grow Act is doing some amazing things is Southern Ontario, why don't we introduce similar policy in other parts of Canada?
I grew up in Vancouver where the city was boxed in by the ocean, mountains and the US boarder. A large portion of the land was protected by being in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Much of the neighborhood I grew-up in has been torn-down as 1940-50s bungalows have been replaced by monster homes. Not certain how environmentally responsible carting perfectly good homes to the dump is.

On the prairies the natural boundaries do not exist so what constrains the city is political or land owners. Saskatoon is an odd city, in that a large portion of the land base was endowed to the University and is used as agricultural research land. Having farmland (with research farms) surrounded by the city is a bit odd. There is no questions, having more development in the city centre would be good. That said suburbs are going to be built and I think the ones being built now (in comparison to the ones from 10-20 years ago) are much denser and lower impact. These have a bit more mixed use, smaller lots, some mixed use, back lanes, etc.

Is Saskatoon an exception or is the same trend occurring in other parts of the country?
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  #75  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 4:07 AM
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I grew up in Vancouver where the city was boxed in by the ocean, mountains and the US boarder. A large portion of the land was protected by being in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Much of the neighborhood I grew-up in has been torn-down as 1940-50s bungalows have been replaced by monster homes. Not certain how environmentally responsible carting perfectly good homes to the dump is.

On the prairies the natural boundaries do not exist so what constrains the city is political or land owners. Saskatoon is an odd city, in that a large portion of the land base was endowed to the University and is used as agricultural research land. Having farmland (with research farms) surrounded by the city is a bit odd. There is no questions, having more development in the city centre would be good. That said suburbs are going to be built and I think the ones being built now (in comparison to the ones from 10-20 years ago) are much denser and lower impact. These have a bit more mixed use, smaller lots, some mixed use, back lanes, etc.

Is Saskatoon an exception or is the same trend occurring in other parts of the country?
The natural boundaries existent in Vancouver are an obvious reason as to why intensification has occurred. There's no perfect development scenario where we can act in complete harmony with the environment, no matter how we develop we are impacting the environment in some way, shape or form. As you referenced in your own experiences in Vancouver, seeing perfectly good homes being bulldozed.

That being said, environmentally we are still better off demolishing good standing homes for higher densities. The alternative is to expand the city footprint into further natural areas. The argument for intensification and against peripheral growth expands beyond environment cities. Through higher densities we have the ability for cost savings by utilizing existing infrastructure, we can create exciting and vibrant neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods that are welcoming to people from all walks of life and allow for the provision of effective and efficient transit options.

Saskatoon's growth patterns certainly aren't any different than the majority of our Prairie Cities. You find a similar lack of natural barriers in Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and in cities lower in the urban hierarchy. In the last 5 years, I think there have been some positives steps to neighbourhood design in greenfield developments, but there's still a long ways to go. For the most part commercial nodes are still an absolute failure dominated by big box stores. There has been some attempt to increase densities, but these developments are still struggling to grasp the concept of great urban design. In my opinion that's where these neighbourhoods are still failing. Simple design changes could vastly improve the neighbourhood - but for whatever reason we haven't necessarily embraced these small, yet important concepts relating to design.

I can agree with you that there will always be a demand for new peripheral development in cities that are not constrained by natural barriers. That being said, what I am advocating for, is a better balance between intensification within the urban footprint and peripheral growth. In Regina the balance is hoped to be somewhere around 75-25 (peripheral to urban growth). That's simply not good enough. Our cities are facing financial deficits, increasing environmental concerns, longer commute times and a plethora of other critical issues. We are doing absolutely nothing to address said problems by focusing growth at the periphery of the city. In fact it's only further perpetuating the problem.

Another aspect to consider is that places like Saskatoon and Regina are attempting to promote downtown revitalization. There's only so much growth in these cities. On a relative scale to Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, this actual growth is quite small. If we are serious about improving the standing of our downtowns, then we need to focus on that aforementioned balance. With relatively small growth, you can only achieve so many policy objectives. You can't say, we want 5000 new residents in downtown in the next 10 years, but we also want to accommodate 25,000 new residents through peripheral growth. The numbers don't add up, the growth isn't there to satisfy both objectives. As I said, it's about creating a balance between these two contending forms of development. Right now and for the past 60 years, we've been favouring greenfield development. It has created countless issues for our cities and it's time to change the tide to promote growth that can negate these issues and create more livable and attractive cities.
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  #76  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 4:27 AM
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I'm about to start the process of looking for my first place to live and until someone shows me a condo or townhouse that is affordable and has sound insulation that is good enough to allow me to host a large party or play music really loud, I will only be looking at small single family houses.

Call me greedy, I don't care. I'm paying for it and will continue to pay for it if utility costs rise and I'm not going to be limited by what my neighbors think is acceptable behavior.

Plus with some of the condo fees I've seen out there, an increase of those would probably hurt just as bad.
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  #77  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 5:10 AM
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I'm about to start the process of looking for my first place to live and until someone shows me a condo or townhouse that is affordable and has sound insulation that is good enough to allow me to host a large party or play music really loud, I will only be looking at small single family houses.

Call me greedy, I don't care. I'm paying for it and will continue to pay for it if utility costs rise and I'm not going to be limited by what my neighbors think is acceptable behavior.

Plus with some of the condo fees I've seen out there, an increase of those would probably hurt just as bad.
Well that's thing, people purchasing single family dwellings in new subdivisions aren't really paying for it. Based on the structure of municipal finance in most Canadian cities, these types of developments are being heavily subsidized by those individuals who choose to purchase smaller lots, condos, locations in the inner-city or in general dwellings that demand and utilize less infrastructure and services. It's one thing to want to purchase this type of dwelling, and that's understandable, but purchasers really aren't paying the true cost pertaining to infrastructure costs, costs of providing services to these dwellings, costs of providing utilities to these dwellings and so forth.

This is a long discussion that I can't fully expand on here - but if anyone is truly interested I highly recommend the book "Preverse Cities" by Pamela Blais. It's a real eye opener and just goes to show how much of a failure the structure of our municipal finance system is.
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  #78  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 9:40 PM
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This video embodies much of what this thread is about; so, perfect -






The video is at first glance a somewhat child-like oversimplification, but is produced in such a way that the intended audience will find accessible. It's also not so much just about climate change as about all that's wrong with suburban sprawl. Beyond the cartooned and Sim City-like graphics are many well thought out principles which most forummers here normally embrace as blatantly obvious, but average people aren't aware of or don't care about. If nothing more than a reminder of the indisputable status quo, it's also gratifiably entertaining.
From 0:58 to 1:08 it looks like St. Thomas in cartoon form.

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Originally Posted by patm View Post
I'm about to start the process of looking for my first place to live and until someone shows me a condo or townhouse that is affordable and has sound insulation that is good enough to allow me to host a large party or play music really loud, I will only be looking at small single family houses.

Call me greedy, I don't care. I'm paying for it and will continue to pay for it if utility costs rise and I'm not going to be limited by what my neighbors think is acceptable behavior.

Plus with some of the condo fees I've seen out there, an increase of those would probably hurt just as bad.
The thing is, your right to produce noise is also governed when you own a single-family dwelling. Municipal bylaws generally dictate that if the neighbours can hear your party and/or your dubstep after 12:00 midnight, you are obligated to turn it down to an acceptable level. And believe me, having grown up in a North York suburb, sound carries surprisingly well even when your houses are all completely separated, so you cannot escape that obligation. If you want to take an "I don't care, I do what I want" approach, then a large piece of rural acreage would be more suitable.

I'm also going to re-iterate what CCF said, and that is a lot of detached property owners I are really not paying the full cost of their lifestyle. I'm not going to be some pinko and suggest that we should completely outlaw low-density development, but am going to be an economist and argue that costs need to be internalized through higher property tax rates. In all likelihood, the additional taxes levied against your property to cover the (substantially) more expensive infrastructure would probably outpace any dreaded condo fees.

Last edited by Wharn; Mar 27, 2012 at 9:55 PM.
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  #79  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 10:42 PM
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Its not that hard to bring utilities and infrastructure to single family homes... Not as hard as everyone makes it sound. At least not in Canada. I mean yes the houses are farther from the core of the city, but there really isn't any dead space between those new single family homes, just more well HOMES.

Now google map south eastern Michigan. Now there is a place your argument actually makes sense. Subdivisions built out in the middle of nowhere. Some of them aren't even surrounded by paved roads, just dirt because like you said, its hard to accommodate these areas with the proper infrastructure since its so far away. New home construction in Canada doesn't really work like that
It's not just my argument, it's the argument of planners, academics, politicians (the ones who actually get it) or any other individual who has training in planning.

Whether you are servicing a continuation of growth at the periphery of the city or you are servicing a new suburb that is an island in itself, it's still a complete waste of financial resources. You're right, it's not hard to service these areas, but it's not matter of difficulty we should be looking at it from the perspective of resource management as in this case it is extremely taxing and a general waste.

The rule of thumb is that it's generally more expensive to expand hard infrastructure horizontally rather than vertically. If you have a low density development, you are going to require considerable horizontal infrastructure to connect each home to sewer, water, electricity, cable, sidewalks, roads, parks, postal service, etc, etc etc. Now take into consideration if you had a higher density development, you are instead providing infrastructure like water, electricity, etc vertically rather than horizontally (which is again cheaper) and you also require substantially less roads, sidewalks, etc.

In a low density neighbourhood maybe we can provide 250 houses in 15 km, in higher density maybe we can provide those same 250 units in 5 km (figures aren't accurate but they show the concept of density) - clearly in the lower density neighbourhood we are going to have to allow for a lot more infrastructure.
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  #80  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 1:58 AM
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own a single-family dwelling. Municipal bylaws generally dictate that if the neighbours can hear your party and/or your dubstep after 12:00 midnight, you are obligated to turn it down to an acceptable level. And believe me, having grown up in a North York suburb, sound carries surprisingly well even when your houses are all completely separated, so you cannot escape that obligation. If you want to take an "I don't care, I do what I want" approach, then a large piece of rural acreage would be more suitable.
I'm young and like to have people over. I was able have 30-40 people over for parties at my parents place multiple times a year in suburban Calgary and never once get a noise ticket. As far as I know, that would be impossible to do in a condo that is in a reasonable price range.

I don't disagree with your points. I understand that it's greedy and uneconomical, but frankly if I'm going to spend the next 15-25 years paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a home, it better allow me to at least host a birthday party.

If condo builders could properly insulate units then I would never even consider a house.
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