Inclusive, sustainable infill imagined in City of Edmonton infill plan

Posted on June 22nd, 2018

When you hear the word ‘infill,’ what comes to mind?

In North Glenora, it may look like a series of stacked townhouses, built next door to the Westmount Presbyterian Church. When sixteen families from countries like Syria and Somalia moved in to this net-zero development and made Edmonton their new home, the Coronation School across the street, once considered for closure, welcomed additional students.

In Ritchie, it may look like a combined brewery, café, butcher and cycling shop. With these additional amenities and services centralized in a mixed-use development, Ritchie’s walkability and attractiveness to younger families have arguably increased, bringing with it more homes and new neighbours.

In the City’s north side, it may look like a bit of anything and everything, as the former site of the Coliseum building and the Expo Centre is set to take shape as a new urban infill development. The opportunities are seemingly endless, and the public has been invited to share their thoughts about what they would like to see in terms of residential and commercial alternatives.

The truth is, when we hear the word ‘infill’ it draws to mind a variety of things: the present and the future, what we see now and what we would like to see in thirty years; the familiar, and the ever-changing.

This was especially true when the City of Edmonton facilitated numerous conversations with citizens, public institutions, businesses, and community organizations over the past 20 months as part of its Evolving Infill project. Evolving Infill was an opportunity to take stock of what outcomes were achieved when infill development was prioritized from 2014 to 2016, and to think towards the future about what could be done to welcome more people and new homes into our older neighbourhoods. These conversations have helped envision various scenarios for how infill can be supported and welcomed by communities; and realistic actions that could make implementation possible.

Despite Alberta’s boom-and-bust periods, Edmonton is undergoing a transition from a big-small city to a metropolitan center with a need to accommodate a million people now, and hundreds of thousands more over the coming decades. People noted, throughout the Evolving Infill consultations, that diverse housing options for current and future residents is an important priority, and that this influx of people should also be managed in a way that balances fiscal and economic realities.

Actions that seek to address housing affordability, engagement with residents, process and timelines, and infrastructure cost sharing are examples of some of the “big moves” in the plan ㄧ actions that will have the most significant impacts on the urban shift that our city is experiencing. The proposed Infill Roadmap 2018 can be viewed here, and will be presented to City Council’s Urban Planning Committee on July 3.

Following this presentation, City administration will begin to implement the Infill Roadmap 2018 with an ongoing commitment to connect back with residents, civil society, businesses and public institutions.

As the Infill Roadmap advances throughout 2018 and over the course of the next two years, we encourage you to keep thinking about what ‘infill’ looks like ㄧ the changes you see will hopefully make space for greater housing choice and ensure everyone thrives. It’s an image that we all should look forward to, and that will position Edmonton as a city that is inclusive, open and sustainable.