Promoting the longevity of these communities

By Erica Marie

Communities are not static. They go through a life cycle with new families moving in during their formative years, bringing in kids to fill schools and adults contributing to nearby businesses.

 

As neighbourhoods age, properties lose their appeal, and demographics change, causing retailers and commercial businesses to either close or move away. Therefore, redevelopment should be an ongoing and necessary endeavour to ensure communities remain vibrant. 

Edmonton needs to be a rebuildable city if it wants to adapt to the lifestyle and housing demands of the evolving population. This is what the City Plan hopes to achieve within the next forty years as it prepares the city from one to two million residents.

 

Redeveloping mature neighbourhoods contributes to the city’s vision of creating resilient communities. The city anticipates adding 50% of new housing through infill city-wide and welcoming 600k additional residents into the redeveloping areas.

 

Ritchie is a prime example of a neighbourhood overturning its declining life cycle. In 2017, the area’s revitalization caused an increase in younger demographics like millennials to move into the community. Its proximity to Downtown offers an easy commute to a variety of great dining and shopping options. Dog owners, local runners, and bike riders have a beautiful trail to explore with Mill Creek Ravine running in its borders. Ritchie Market, a thriving community hub of local businesses, is also a popular attraction adding to the neighbourhood’s vibrancy.

 

As the city strives to accommodate the growing population within its boundaries, several neighbourhoods established in the mid-1900s are currently undergoing extensive revitalization, such as McCauley, Alberta Avenue, Jasper Place, Belvedere, Central McDougall, and Inglewood. The Edmonton Community Development Company (ECDC) is looking to serve these areas by demolishing problem properties and building new homes for families to purchase.

 

The ECDC has recently announced their plans to take down twenty-two more problem properties in the city as part of its community redevelopment initiative. To date, most of their projects have been in the neighbourhoods of McCauley and Alberta Avenue.

 

Infill development is an innovative approach to a financially and environmentally sustainable city. Big lots and single-family-only zoning are no longer in demand, with smaller family sizes and multi-generational living becoming the norm. This calls for more housing options to be made available such as duplexes, townhomes, row housing, and basement suites.

 

Redevelopment is an opportunity to rediscover the history and character of mature neighbourhoods. These areas are a great market for affordable new homes developed by acclaimed builders. Within the charming tree-canopied houses and streets are neighbours who have fostered years of community connections and relationships.

 

Alberta Avenue Community League, one of the city’s first and largest community leagues, has recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. An integral part of their mandate is to welcome newcomers to the community and work with neighbours from all walks of life. They are not just a rental space but a gathering spot for residents to come together through the many programs they offer. Some of the successful programs of the league include their blooming garden show, weekly senior drop-in, and neighbours-connect block parties.

 

With infill development in mature neighbourhoods, you get the best of both worlds – a fusion of culture and modern living. Community revitalization aspires to provide the city’s growing population with a safer neighbourhood where seniors can age in their communities and where there is a wide range of housing options for multi-generational families and young urban professionals to live.

As part of their Project 10 initiative, ECDC has one duplex for sale on Alberta Avenue, with three more on the way and will be ready for market in 2023.

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