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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 7:03 PM
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Limiting Calgary's expansion

How politically deadly would drawing a line in the sand as far as permanent city limits be, along with maybe a 100 km green belt around it so development doesn't just go on outside the city limits?

I would support it being set where the city borders would abut the limits of Lake Chestermere, Airdrie, Cochrane, and Okotoks. This way those cities wouldn't be swallowed by Calgary, and the build out wouldn't be for many many years, allowing the city to deal with this eventuality in an orderly fashion without worrying that property values will skyrocket upon the news.
As well, they are already part of the Calgary region so it only makes sense.

I would also politically not announce it as 'we want to limit the city limits', and more 'we are creating a farming reserve around the city' or something of that nature, ie focus on the WHY, rather than the WHAT.

Is there no alternative than infinite growth?

What about something similar, but no greenbelt to the north (so a U shaped green belt) so that any exurban expansion occurs in the Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton transportation corridor?

Now even a 100 km greenbelt might still cause town outside of it to start growing as they otherwise would not. However I would assume that
a) more people would choose to live in Calgary (ie densify it) than live 100km outside of the city b) even if it did cause growth to far away towns, Calgary itself would still densify faster than if it had been allowed infinite sprawl, achieving one of the two goals (densification and sprawl abatement)


Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 7:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DizzyEdge View Post
How politically deadly would drawing a line in the sand as far as permanent city limits be, along with maybe a 100 km green belt around it so development doesn't just go on outside the city limits?

I would support it being set where the city borders would abut the limits of Lake Chestermere, Airdrie, Cochrane, and Okotoks. This way those cities wouldn't be swallowed by Calgary, and the build out wouldn't be for many many years, allowing the city to deal with this eventuality in an orderly fashion without worrying that property values will skyrocket upon the news.
As well, they are already part of the Calgary region so it only makes sense.

I would also politically not announce it as 'we want to limit the city limits', and more 'we are creating a farming reserve around the city' or something of that nature, ie focus on the WHY, rather than the WHAT.

Is there no alternative than infinite growth?

What about something similar, but no greenbelt to the north (so a U shaped green belt) so that any exurban expansion occurs in the Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton transportation corridor?

Now even a 100 km greenbelt might still cause town outside of it to start growing as they otherwise would not. However I would assume that
a) more people would choose to live in Calgary (ie densify it) than live 100km outside of the city b) even if it did cause growth to far away towns, Calgary itself would still densify faster than if it had been allowed infinite sprawl, achieving one of the two goals (densification and sprawl abatement)


Thoughts?
Yes, no question. Many other cities have done this based on the fact that most cities are located on some of the most prime arable land. Im sure we will get the usual responses about "this is canada, we have excellent farmland everywhere" but that is false. The best land is always in the valleys and near rivers, lowlands etc......right where cities are built.

Yes, they have to be extremely careful not to upset the disneyland vision of todays city as so many people see it when they announce the greenbelt.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 7:17 PM
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Well also, my idea of a 100 km green belt isn't based on science.
What should be done take a map grading the quality of extant farmland, and then use that to create your belt in a more logical manner.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:10 PM
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Freedom! Democracy! No social engineering! Forefathers.... Rights.... Blah blahblah...
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:15 PM
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Freedom! Democracy! No social engineering! Forefathers.... Rights.... Blah blahblah...
It's funny, because this is also against my normal stance, which is let everything have a true cost and charge it.

But one flaw to that is it doesn't guarantee that people won't pay a premium to end up ruining things.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:18 PM
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Total waste of time. It is nearly impossible to develop land without connecting to City of Calgary water and sewer, so there is already a limit to geographic expansion. Increasing the cost of new connections could impose an additional limit.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:20 PM
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Total waste of time. It is nearly impossible to develop land without connecting to City of Calgary water and sewer, so there is already a limit to geographic expansion. Increasing the cost of new connections could impose an additional limit.
Good point, and related to my point above.

I suppose that if new development is charged it's actual cost, as new communities get further and further away, eventually the business case for building them might evaporate.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizzyEdge View Post
How politically deadly would drawing a line in the sand as far as permanent city limits be, along with maybe a 100 km green belt around it so development doesn't just go on outside the city limits?

I would support it being set where the city borders would abut the limits of Lake Chestermere, Airdrie, Cochrane, and Okotoks. This way those cities wouldn't be swallowed by Calgary, and the build out wouldn't be for many many years, allowing the city to deal with this eventuality in an orderly fashion without worrying that property values will skyrocket upon the news.
As well, they are already part of the Calgary region so it only makes sense.

I would also politically not announce it as 'we want to limit the city limits', and more 'we are creating a farming reserve around the city' or something of that nature, ie focus on the WHY, rather than the WHAT.

Is there no alternative than infinite growth?

What about something similar, but no greenbelt to the north (so a U shaped green belt) so that any exurban expansion occurs in the Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton transportation corridor?

Now even a 100 km greenbelt might still cause town outside of it to start growing as they otherwise would not. However I would assume that
a) more people would choose to live in Calgary (ie densify it) than live 100km outside of the city b) even if it did cause growth to far away towns, Calgary itself would still densify faster than if it had been allowed infinite sprawl, achieving one of the two goals (densification and sprawl abatement)


Thoughts?
I think by drawing those boundaries would cause an explosion in growth for Airdrie, Okotoks et al. I think the goal should be such that suburban development would occur in a more intelligent and sustainable form with more mixed use areas, higher street connectivity, with access to TOD, and greater densities near TOD. The City of Calgary has the option to stop approving the kinds of development that are not sustainable. For example, the City of Calgary recently put the brakes on the Winsport development for not having residential or office uses within the project. First off, I think it's important that the City communicates it's intentions about the kinds of development it wants, second I think it's important that it is discerning about the kinds of developments that gets approved. I think this is a better strategy than have an urban growth boundary.

I don't like the idea of precluding that new suburbs could not be built to a higher level of sustainability than older communities.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DizzyEdge View Post
It's funny, because this is also against my normal stance, which is let everything have a true cost and charge it.

But one flaw to that is it doesn't guarantee that people won't pay a premium to end up ruining things.
Obviously I was being sarcastic. The thing I find funniest about people who oppose density is that they claim to not want to live in a "concrete jungle", but at the expense of replacing natural areas around the city with uglier, more conrete-e development.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:46 PM
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Originally Posted by O-tacular View Post
Obviously I was being sarcastic. The thing I find funniest about people who oppose density is that they claim to not want to live in a "concrete jungle", but at the expense of replacing natural areas around the city with uglier, more conrete-e development.
Oh I know you were, but the reason I like the 'true cost' method is then it's all just laid out and those who want less sustainable things will have to pay a premium, vs being "told" what is "right", and hopefully reduces the social engineering cries.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 8:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Radley77 View Post
I think by drawing those boundaries would cause an explosion in growth for Airdrie, Okotoks et al. I think the goal should be such that suburban development would occur in a more intelligent and sustainable form with more mixed use areas, higher street connectivity, with access to TOD, and greater densities near TOD. The City of Calgary has the option to stop approving the kinds of development that are not sustainable. For example, the City of Calgary recently put the brakes on the Winsport development for not having residential or office uses within the project. First off, I think it's important that the City communicates it's intentions about the kinds of development it wants, second I think it's important that it is discerning about the kinds of developments that gets approved. I think this is a better strategy than have an urban growth boundary.

I don't like the idea of precluding that new suburbs could not be built to a higher level of sustainability than older communities.
Except, they have done this in other cities with success and it did not result in the outlying cities stealing all of the growth. People are acting like the world is ending in 10 years and that we dont have to worry about farmland......or anything for that matter.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 9:08 PM
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I think by drawing those boundaries would cause an explosion in growth for Airdrie, Okotoks et al.
Where would they get their water? Not kidding. Calgary controls the water licenses in the region. Rockyview County is currently turning down, or significantly delaying any applications for residential projects, unless they have a ground water source, because they can't afford a municipal system. Waste water is its own bag of cats as well. Try getting anything approved in Rockyview that isn't septic fields or without a connection to the Rockyview Sewer line. Foothills County, Okotoks, et al are all facing the same problems.

Those who say residential development will simply move to Airdrie or Rockyview County have no idea what development constraints those jurisdictions are facing.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 9:16 PM
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Where would they get their water? Not kidding. Calgary controls the water licenses in the region. Rockyview County is currently turning down, or significantly delaying any applications for residential projects, unless they have a ground water source, because they can't afford a municipal system. Waste water is its own bag of cats as well. Try getting anything approved in Rockyview that isn't septic fields or without a connection to the Rockyview Sewer line. Foothills County, Okotoks, et al are all facing the same problems.

Those who say residential development will simply move to Airdrie or Rockyview County have no idea what development constraints those jurisdictions are facing.
My assumption has been that those city of calgary regional towns/cities would eventually need to buy water or licenses from Calgary, making the 3M city of calgary water licence more of a 3M region of calgary water licence.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 9:28 PM
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My assumption has been that those city of calgary regional towns/cities would eventually need to buy water or licenses from Calgary, making the 3M city of calgary water licence more of a 3M region of calgary water licence.
Not eventually. Now. IIRC, Airdrie, Strathmore, Cochrane already buy water from Calgary. Calgary won't sell to Rocky View because they really don't like each other.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 9:31 PM
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IIRC, greenbelts rarely work. See: Ottawa.

Eventually, when the city gets close to it's "permanent" borders, seeing as how the city would likely not have learned to grow sustainably, it would either have suburbia grow on the other side of the greenbelt if it isn't far out or the borders would end up being extended.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 9:43 PM
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This may sound silly, but given that economic viability for a province the size of Alberta likely requires 10M people, it might be worthwhile to consider how that could happen at a provincial level. It my turn out that focused development in Red Deer is the way to go. You'd need to have a thoughtful plan that considers all the subtleties, including finding ways to direct folks heading this way to specific locations where there are jobs and opportunities. If you simply put an arbitrary jail fence around Calgary, the knock on effects could be not so nice.

The idea is, instead of a police state, create policies and an enabling environment that gets new people to where you'd like them to be. Police states (and it isn't the best word, but the best I can think of now) don't work in the long run.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 9:49 PM
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One idea is to do what BC has done with their Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Basically any land classified as agriculturally productive land is protected, and any application for subdivision on ALR land has to go through the provincial agency, who will most likely turn the application down. If Alberta were to do something similar, I could see it having some political clout.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 10:42 PM
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Except, they have done this in other cities with success and it did not result in the outlying cities stealing all of the growth.
Go to Portland. A disproportionate amount of new development occurs on the Vancouver site, where the urban growth boundary does not apply.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 10:47 PM
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One idea is to do what BC has done with their Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Basically any land classified as agriculturally productive land is protected, and any application for subdivision on ALR land has to go through the provincial agency, who will most likely turn the application down. If Alberta were to do something similar, I could see it having some political clout.
BC's ALRs worked better in theory than in practice:

1) They encourage stop-start development. Look at Richmond, the Fraser Valley or Kelowna from the air. They look like checker boards. This actually contributes more to sprawl.

2) Whether or not one's land is included or exempted from the ALR is political. It is highly lucrative to donate to a politician's campaign if you happen to own farmland adjacent to an urban area.
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2011, 10:49 PM
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^^ might also be more politically palatable in BC where something like less than 5% of the provinces land is arable.
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