A vital component in the growth of established communities
By Erica Marie
The appeal of mature neighbourhoods is their character and location. There is a lot of history and memories made in these communities that often get left behind. Infill development is a natural progression for older neighbourhoods and is essential in keeping these communities alive.
“Infill is the process of developing vacant or under-used land within existing urban areas that are already developed. An Infill can consist of demolishing a building and replacing it with something new. It also includes the development of residential, commercial, mixed-use or institutional vacant lots in existing neighbourhoods.” – Infill Development in Edmonton Association (IDEA)
With Edmonton’s population growing to almost two million people, the City recognizes infill developments are an integral part of the solution. In 2018, the Infill Roadmap was created to support the City’s infill development. They outlined 25 actions with the objective of welcoming more people and homes into Edmonton’s mature neighbourhoods. A few of the outcomes they hope to achieve with this project are reducing the cost of infill developments, expanding laneway housing opportunities, and offering a diverse mix of housing options that support social and community inclusion.
A 2021 update of this initiative saw 16 of 25 actions completed. Some of these accomplishments include providing information to the public through a map indicating potential sites for infill construction and exploring creative housing options such as the Missing Middle Infill Design.
Infill development goes hand-in-hand with the Edmonton Community Development Company’s (ECDC) vision of revitalizing a community by anchoring capital through residential investments. Though they aim to serve Edmonton as a whole, they are currently involved in the core neighbourhoods of Alberta Avenue, Eastwood, and McCauley. When you explore these areas, you will notice many for-sale signs and new home builds. These are positive indications that redevelopment is occurring in the community and is ready to welcome new families into the neighbourhood.
Tree-lined streets, walkability, and proximity to Downtown are significant advantages of these neighbourhoods. Preserving these elements is a key motivation in the city’s efforts to renew these communities. A benefit to infill development is the reuse of established infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer lines, saving taxpayer dollars. As new homes surround the neighbourhood, nearby residents can gain from increased property values.
With mature neighbourhoods facing a population decline, it is crucial now more than ever to bring people back to the community. Restoring vibrancy to an area involves responding to the city’s changing demographics and market preferences. Infill housing offers options for a single-family or multi-family dwelling which can attract more people into the community. These diverse residents will populate schools and businesses, catering to the evolving population’s lifestyle. As a result, new jobs, services, and amenities will be brought into the neighbourhood.
However, these changes can sometimes cause resistance from residents as they are concerned with the construction process. Good infill builders understand that it is necessary to communicate and keep themselves accountable for the safety of the neighbours. There should always be a development permit sign on the fence to indicate the site address, permit number, and contact information of the contractor, development permit applicant and/or landowner. This information is what you can use to address any questions or concerns about the project.
Through infill development, the Edmonton CDC understands that revitalizing core neighbourhoods depends on continually changing and adapting to meet the needs of its citizens. Their Project 10 initiative is demolishing derelict properties and building affordably priced new homes. Michael Quiambao, the Project Coordinator of the Edmonton CDC, accredits the organization’s progress to the people who believe in the cause and are working towards improving these communities.
“As a non-profit organization, to be proactive and productive includes involving local businesses and residents to complete these complex and sensitive projects. With these resources and evolving partnerships, I am confident that together, we have the necessary qualities to excel and achieve a more vibrant Capital.”
Partnering with Euro Design Master Builder and Skil-Tec, the Edmonton CDC is nearing the end of building two of the eight properties in Project 10. Located in McCauley and Alberta Avenue, these former derelict properties will be welcoming families into a new front-to-back duplex for sale this summer of 2022.
Photo of Property #6 (11244/11246 92 Street): Condition upon purchase – During Construction – 3D rendering of the design plan
To find out more about the Edmonton CDC’s funders and partners, click below